With the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, everyday purchases can help you make the most of your time on the road. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser)
Offering 50,000 Hilton Honors bonus points as a signup bonus (after spending $1,000 in the first three months), plus the chance to earn 25,000 more bonus points after spending an additional $1,000 in the first six months (offer expires Oct. 4, 2017), and seven points for every dollar spent at participating Hilton Portfolio hotels, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express is a practical option for those frequently on the go.
Additionally, cardholders earn five points for every dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, and three points per dollar on all other qualifying purchases, which makes this a solid choice for your everyday purchases and allows you to quickly rack up points to be redeemed for travel upgrades, free hotel rooms and other travel-related expenses.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express best features:
The fact that this no annual fee credit card allows you to receive a ton of points and be eligible for great upgrades with ease is perhaps the biggest perk of the card, particularly for those loyal to the Hilton brand.
Though you must spend $1,000 on the card within your first three months of membership in order to receive the introductory 50,000 Hilton Honors bonus points, we actually consider this a benefit as that spending threshold is below what many other hotel perk credit cards require (comparison below). Plus, those extra 25,000 points you can earn with another $1,000 spent in the first six months brings your potential signup bonus to 75,000 points (offer expires Oct. 4, 2017). Those 75,000 points alone can earn you 10 free nights at more than 4,600 hotels and resorts in 100 countries and territories, depending on your travel dates and the hotel category.
Furthermore, you earn 500 Hilton Honors bonus points for each qualifying stay when you use your Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express to both book your reservation online for a Hilton Portfolio resort or hotel and pay for your stay using the same card. That is, of course, in addition to the seven points per dollar you earn when you use your card at a Hilton property.
In the case of the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, the more you use your card to book hotels the easier it is to redeem points for free upgrades and hotel stays, which is something we find to be convenient for frequent business travels or those looking to plan their next leisurely getaway.
Even if you don't travel frequently, however, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express could still be worth considering given that you earn five points per dollar spent on everyday purchases at U.S. supermarkets, restaurants and gas stations. Before you know it, those everyday, run-around-town purchases will accumulate into a chunk of rewards points that will help you pay for your next vacation.
And, as you'd hope to find with any travel-related credit card, we like that this card includes a number of protection perks such as the baggage, travel and car rental loss and damage insurance plans as well as roadside and global assistance hotlines.
With the insurance plans, when using the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express to pay for your travel expenses, the card can help you to cover the cost of any eligible lost, damaged or stolen baggage, as well as help you cover any expenses you may incur if your car rental is damaged or stolen.
Additionally, the card also gains you access to the Global Assist® and roadside assistance hotlines, which are there to help you resolve issues such as a broken down car or a lost or stolen passport. Since travel sometimes comes with some unexpected bumps in the road, our team agrees that these features are valuable incentives for Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express cardholders.
Lastly, Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express cardholders enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status, which gives you a 15 percent bonus on Hilton Honors base points earned from Hilton Honors stays and eligibility to upgrade to Gold status when $20,000 in eligible purchases has been made in a single calendar year. With Gold status, you can enjoy a 25 percent bonus on Hilton Honors base points; premium room upgrades; and in-room, high-speed Wi-Fi at select hotel properties.
While the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express is great for anyone who loves the Hilton properties and plans to stay there regularly, it is not necessarily the best choice for international travelers.
Even though there are Hilton Portfolio properties in 100 countries around the world, the card still has a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee for each international transaction after conversion to U.S. dollars. Because of this, for frequent international travelers, we might recommend a credit card with no foreign transaction fee, such as the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Expresss vs. IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
Similar to the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card offers an introductory bonus point opportunity: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of opening the account -- a slightly lower bonus than the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express offers with that extra earning opportunity through Oct. 4, 2017. For those looking for a Chase credit card that can quickly rack up hotel points, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is a viable option.
If you have no preference on credit card company or hotel chain though, you’re likely to accrue points more quickly with the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express since the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card will only earn you five points for each dollar spent at IHG® resorts and hotels and three points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. When comparing these numbers with that of the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, you’ll see that your points with the American Express card will add up about 25 percent faster than if traveling with the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card from Chase.
Still, with a complimentary one-night hotel stay at over 5,000 hotels worldwide each year and no international fees, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card is still a worthwhile choice, especially for global travelers.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express vs. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
For travelers who prefer the Marriott brand (or SPG hotels), the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers another easy way to gain a large chunk of bonus points quickly after opening an account. Plus, cardholders can add another 7,500 bonus points once they add their first authorized user and make a purchase with the card within the first three months of the account opening.
Earning the introductory 80,000 bonus points is a nice perk for those signing up the for Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, but users must spend $3,000 within the first three months to receive the bonus, a higher spending requirement than with the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card users can gain points by purchasing airline tickets though, which is a nice incentive not offered by the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express. Also, while there is an annual fee of $85 with the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card, cardholders also enjoy a free night stay at a category 1-5 hotel each year after your account anniversary; that perk alone likely offsets the annual fee.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express vs. Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
With no purchase APR (you pay your bill in full each billing cycle), no foreign transaction fees, airline and hotel credits, and rewards earning opportunities of three points per dollar on plane ticket purchases, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is a good choice for those looking to benefit from their travels.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express point conversion for other purchases is comparably low (two points for every dollar at U.S. restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets and one point per dollar for all other purchases), and there is a hefty annual fee of $195 after the first year, so this card is really designed with a regular traveler in mind.
You can receive 25,000 rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first three months, and you'll also be eligible for up to $100 in statement credit annually to cover incidental airline charges, such as baggage fees and in-flight meals, after you select a qualifying airline.
Thanks to its great sign-on bonus, points earning ease and no annual fee, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express is ideal for those who enjoy Hilton properties and plan to stay there often or even people just looking to offset the cost of an annual vacation with points earned through everyday purchases.
Do keep in mind, though, that it carries a 2.7 percent international fee, so you might want to have a back-up credit card at the ready when you travel abroad.