I don’t make a secret about how much I love to travel, what I have to admit is that I haven’t played the credit card rewards points game yet (at least not to its full advantage). Today, that has changed. I applied (and was approved) for a Citi HHonors Reserve card (not an affiliate link). Why did I choose that card? I really enjoy Hilton properties (mostly the Hilton Gardon Inn, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites), and that’s my hotel chain of choice. The reserve card automatically gives me Gold status (free wifi) as long as I hold the card. I also get two free weekend night certificates (and one each year after) for Dad and I to enjoy a weekend away – or take Daughter Person – I plan on using these first ones to take her to Hershey Park this summer (free hotel!).
The most important items to me are: the EMV (Chip-and-PIN) and the no foreign transaction fees. Those alone are worth the $95 annual fee. EMV/Chip and PIN is a technology that is used all over Europe and protects your credit card from a very common type of fraud: Your card never leaves your sight – waiters cannot take it to the back room and swipe it making a copy of the magnetic strip (the strip is active however, and *can* be used – especially since merchants in the states don’t take EMV). Many ticket machines and gas stations in Europe also take chip and pin only (usually those that are unattended at night).
I’d been getting by by having a Travelex chip and pin card pre-loaded with Euros, but I have to remember to reload it before a trip, and it’s a $4 fee/yr I keep it active.
We’re also thinking about when we want to take her to Disney World, and the spring she’s 5 is the likely target (18 months away) – so we’re going to follow Brad’s advice at RichmondSavers and get there almost free!
Other statuses I already have:
- United Gold (from actually flying that much – and likely to hit it again this year. This one I actively try to keep for Star Alliance Gold status)
- Marriott Gold (status match with United).
- I randomly get to Hilton Gold some years, but most often Silver – I just don’t stay that many nights when I travel.