Note: This card has been discontinued. See here.
There are not many credit cards in Australia that have direct links into a Hotel Loyalty program. Indeed, it may well be that the Hilton Honors Macquarie Platinum Card is the only card that has such a link.
While this card does not typically have a significant sign-up bonus, it does offer benefits in that there are Hilton benefits given just for holding the card.
On the earnings front, the card can yield up to four Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at hotels and resorts within the Hilton Honors portfolio worldwide, while giving one point per dollar spent everywhere else.
Hilton Honors Benefits
Perhaps the best perk of this card, is that it gives you a free kick to elite status. For a start, you get gold status in the Hilton Honors program just for holding the card. You retain your status as gold for as long as you hold the card. On top of that, should you charge $40,000 to the card in a single year, your Hilton Honors status will be upgraded to Diamond status.
Hilton Honors Status
Gold is a mid level status within the Hilton Honors program, but even so, does deliver some worthwhile perks. When staying with Hilton (and other Hilton brands such as Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and DoubleTree), these perks include free room upgrades, daily breakfast, free bottled water and Internet access.
If you do spend $40,000 in a year, you will gain an upgrade to Diamond status – the highest status available in the Hilton Honors program. This level gets extra perks, such as access to the Executive Lounge, and guaranteed room availability.
Free Night Voucher
Upon opening the card, if you spend $2,000 in the first three months, you will be entitled to a free night voucher. Ongoing, if you spend $12,000 in a year, you will get a voucher for an award night at a Hilton property.
These free night certificates are valid across Hilton properties worldwide, which gives plenty of options in which to use the certificate. The vouchers are also valid for twelve months from the date of issue, so there is plenty of flexibility available.
Depending on your chosen hotel, this itself could cover the cost of the card.
If you stay often enough, just these benefits could make the annual fee ($295) worthwhile.
The card offers a direct sweep of points earned each month into your Hilton Honors account. At Hilton Honors properties, your spend will get you 4 points for each dollar that you charge to the card. Anywhere else, and you will receive 1 point per dollar. Participating Hilton brands included in this include Hilton, Conrad and DoubleTree by Hilton.
While a Honors point itself, has a lot of value, they can be used for free room nights. As an example, in Melbourne a free award night at Hilton South Wharf can be had for 70,000 points. Using the card alone outside Hilton properties would require some $70,000 spend to achieve a free night here. By spending in Hilton properties this can reduce to $17,500. A lot of money for a free night, but the points may be useful to help top up your account.
Fees and Charges
As mentioned, The Hilton Honors Macquarie Platinum card comes with a $295 annual fee. While high, this may be offset by the advantages that the card brings. An extra cardholder can be added to the account for $49/year. As all the advantages of the account belong to the primary cardholder, it would only be worthwhile doing this if the value of the extra points earn covers the annual fee.
Up to 55 interest free days are available on purchases, which puts it among the more generous in this regard. Interest charges of 20.7% will apply if the closing balance isn’t paid in full, with cash advances being even higher, at the 21.95% rate. These are on the higher end of interest charges, so you are far better off ensuring that you pay this card off on time every month.
Overseas spend pulls in a fairly standard 3% foreign exchange fee. This 3% fee may not be worth the points earning that this card offers, as there are better options for overseas expenditure around.
Overall, this may be a good card, if you stay at Hilton Hotels, and can gain value from the various perks that the card brings.
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