I'm pretty sure I've decided on Hilton backed card as part of my next app spree. The two choices I'm considering are the Amex surpass card or Citi Hilton Honors reserved. What are y'all's thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of these two respective cards?
I am assuming you want this card, because you are staying at Hiltons. If that is the case then the Citi card is the way I would go for the gold status. The Amex used to have some good features for discounted pricing but Hilton killed that.
I'm going to be staying at either Marriott or Hilton for about 70 days this upcoming year. I'm leaning towards hilton and I don't want to app for any other chase card until after I've gotten my CSP.
70 nights is a significant number. If its to the same area over and over I would base it on which property you like best. Do you have status with either chain right now?
As a summary between the 2 cards:
10x at Hilton, 5x on airfare and car rentals, 3x on general spending. Gold status as long as you hold the card, Diamond after 40k. Annual Free weekend night at any property (no category restriction) after 10k spend. No FTF and EMV Chip.
12x Hilton, 6x groceries, 6x gas, 6x dining, 3x general spending. Gold status for first year only, retain for 20k annual spend. Diamond after 40k annual spend. 500 points per online Hilton booking. 2.7% forex fee. Lounge Club standard membership included ($27 per visit, per person).
As a general rule, most people are better off with the Citi card unless you have tons of Hilton stays so the 12x on the Surpass starts to eclipse the 10x on the Reserve. This is doubly true once you count the 500 points per booking. You get the most value out of this if you have lots of short stays, so 70x 1-night stays will get you an extra 35k points for example.
However if you have international stays, or if you have fewer but longer stays, the edge starts to go to the Reserve card. Status is clearly easier to maintain with the Reserve as well.
You'll have to do the math here, but I have a feeling with 70 nights it'll be close to break-even. The Amex online booking bonuses plus the extra 2x per dollar (12 vs 10) will be roughly offset by the annual free night (which could be worth 50-95k points by itself).
As for Marriott vs. Hilton:
Marriott has nicer FS properties IMO, while Hilton has nicer SS properties than Marriott (HGI > CY).