Hilton Honors American Express Card review
Hilton Honors American Express Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- At seven Hilton Honors bonus points earned for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands, this card offers a higher-than-typical return for your hotel loyalty.
- Rack up points on everyday spending with five Hilton Honors bonus points for every dollar you spend at U.S. restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets.
- You can increase your earning potential with an upgrade to Gold status after making $20,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year. With Gold status, you're eligible for even more bonus points, room upgrades and free Wi-Fi at select hotels.
- There are greater rewards to be had with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card if you're willing to pay a $95 annual fee. (See Rates and Fees)
With the Hilton Honors American Express Card, everyday purchases can help you make the most of your time on the road. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.
Offering the opportunity to earn 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points as a welcome offer (after spending $1,000 in the first three months), and seven Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands, the Hilton Honors American Express Card is a practical option for those frequently on the go.
Additionally, cardholders earn five points for every $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, and three points per $1 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, hotel stay rewards and other travel-related expenses.
Hilton Honors American Express Card best features:
- No annual fee (See Rates and Fees)
- Complimentary elite status upgrades
- Bonus Hilton Honors points for qualifying hotel stays
- Baggage insurance plans
- Roadside and global assistance hotlines
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- Purchase protection
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 earn the introductory offer of 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points, we actually consider this a benefit as that spending threshold is below what many other hotel perk credit cards require (some comparisons below). Those 80,000 points alone can earn you multiple free nights at hotels and resorts around the world, depending on your travel dates and the hotel category. Those bonus points are, of course, in addition to the other points you earn when you use your card on your purchases.
In the case of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, the more you use your card to book hotels the easier it is to redeem points for 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 American Express Card could still be worth considering given that you earn five points per $1 spent on everyday purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants and U.S. 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 American Express Card 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 American Express Card cardholders.
Lastly, Hilton Honors American Express Card cardholders enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status, which gives you a 12 points per $1 spent on your Hilton stays. With this card, you'll also enjoy eligibility to upgrade to Gold status when you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a single calendar year. With Gold status, you'll earn 18 points per $1 spent on Hilton stays and enjoy premium room upgrades; in-room, high-speed Wi-Fi at select hotel properties and more. You can learn more about elite status and the numerous benefits of the Hilton Honors rewards program in our Hilton Honors program guide.
- Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
- Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
- Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
- Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
- $95 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
Great news! The Hilton Honors American Express Card does not charge foreign transaction fees, making this an ideal choice whether your travels take you near or far.
Many cards charge an average of 3% on foreign transactions, which may not seem like much, but this fee has the potential to cause a lot of damage if you travel abroad frequently. Say you travel abroad four times a year, spending an average of $2,000 each time you go. If you used a card that charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, you'd be looking at an extra $240 in expenses a year. Even just a single trip costing $2,000 would set you back an extra $60.
Because this card also doesn't charge annual fees, it's a good card to have in your wallet, even if you aren't using it everyday, or if you only travel abroad every now and then.
While the Hilton Honors American Express Card is great for anyone who loves the Hilton properties and plans to stay there regularly, it is not necessarily the best choice for everyone. Keep in mind that many more general travel cards allow you to redeem your rewards at Hilton (and many other properties), so if you aren't super loyal to Hilton, there could be a better option out there for you.
Hilton Honors American Express Card vs. IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Similar to the Hilton Honors American Express Card, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers a good introductory bonus point opportunity: Earn 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. For those looking for a Chase credit card that can quickly rack up hotel points, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is a viable option.
If you have no preference on credit card company or hotel chain though, you’re likely to accrue everyday points more quickly with the Hilton Honors American Express Card since the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card will only earn you two points for each $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores and one point per $1 on all your other purchases. That said, you do earn up to 25 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel.
With a reward one-night hotel stay at participating IHG hotels worldwide each year and a reward night each time you redeem rewards for at least a four-night stay, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is still a worthwhile choice, especially for global travelers.
Hilton Honors American Express Card vs. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Even though it charges a $95 annual fee, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card can be a great alternative to the Hilton Honors American Express Card if you're loyal to the Hilton brand.
Like the Hilton Honors American Express Card, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card earns bonus rewards on stays at Hilton properties, but instead of 7X points, it earns a whopping 12X Hilton Honors points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on the card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio. Additionally, cardholders can earn 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, and 3X points on all other eligible purchases.
The welcome bonus for new cardholders is also an improvement. New cardholders can earn 130,000 bonus points once making $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. As an added bonus, you can earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year. Plus, cardholders enjoy Gold status in the Hilton Honors program, and the card makes Hilton Honors Diamond status easily within reach. Spend $40,000 in purchases in a calendar year to receive your Diamond Status upgrade.
Hilton Honors American Express Card vs. American Express® Gold Card
With no purchase APR (you pay your bill in full each billing cycle), no foreign transaction fees, available hotel credits, and rewards earning opportunities of three points per $1 on flights purchase directly through an airline or on amextravel.com, the American Express® Gold Card is a good choice for those looking to benefit from their travels.
The American Express® Gold Card points you can earn are 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide and 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
New cardholders can earn 60,000 rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases with the card within the first six months, and you can earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Boxed, participating Shake Shack locations, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required. Plus, you'll also be eligible for a $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available, when you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights with American Express Travel at over 600 properties, as well as up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year when you charge incidental fees like checked bags and in-flight beverages at one selected, qualifying airline. (Please note, the airline credit offer is expected to expire in 2021.)
There is a hefty annual fee of $250, so this card is really designed with a regular traveler in mind.
Thanks to its great welcome offer, points earning ease and no annual fee, the Hilton Honors American Express Card is a good card 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.
To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Hilton Honors American Express Card (See Rates and Fees); American Express® Gold Card (See Rates and Fees); Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: (See Rates and Fees)