Hilton Honors American Express Review

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The Hilton Honors American Express is a no-frills rewards card that makes earning hotel points simple for the average consumer. You won’t find many extra travel benefits, but fans of the Hilton hotel network can still get value from this card.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Overall Rating
3.3
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 7 points per $1 for eligible Hilton purchases. 5 points per $1 for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. 3 points per $1 for all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.7
for Fees
3.5
for Rewards
3.0
for Credit
3.7
Current Offer

Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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The Hilton Honors American Express card is best for occasional travelers who want to quickly earn points for award stays at Hilton hotels, since it generously awards extra points on a handful of routine expenses, including groceries. The low spending threshold for the welcome offer and the absence of an annual fee also make the card attainable for those with good credit who aren’t hardcore rewards chasers. 

However, you may need more points to buy an award room than you would with some other hotel rewards programs, so you should use this card often to take advantage of all the bonus point earning opportunities. If you enjoy staying in non-Hilton hotels, we recommend considering another hotel or general travel card that offers more travel benefits and greater reward flexibility. 

Pros
  • Generous, easy-to-earn welcome offer 

  • No annual fee

  • Ways to earn points daily

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status upgrade

Cons
  • Few additional travel benefits

  • Lower points valuation than other hotel programs

Pros Explained

  • Generous, easy-to-earn welcome offer: You only have to spend about $334 per month, on average, after opening this card to earn the bonus points. The bonus is quite nice for a no-annual-fee hotel card, too. More on that below. 
  • No annual fee: Because there’s no annual fee, you won’t have to worry about earning enough rewards to make up for it. You can keep this card in your wallet year after year (which is good for your credit history) for no additional cost, assuming you don’t carry a balance. 
  • Ways to earn points daily: People who don’t travel constantly can still easily earn lots of extra Hilton Honors points on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases. This could easily be your go-to credit card if your goal is to stockpile points for a Hilton vacation later.
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status upgrade: This means you’ll immediately be eligible for 20% more points when booking hotel rooms, discounts on bookings, rollover nights, choice of rooms, and more. Plus, if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year, you’ll automatically get Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the following year, which comes with even more perks. 

Cons Explained

  • Few additional travel benefits: Since this is a basic, no-annual-fee card, you won’t get high-value benefits offered by other premium travel cards, such as airport lounge access, travel cancellation insurance, or emergency medical benefits. However, it’s light on perks even compared to other entry-level travel cards. 
  • Lower points valuation than other hotel programs: We value Honors points at only 0.45 cents each, on average. Meanwhile, other hotel programs that we evaluate have points worth at least 1 cent each, on average. It helps that you can earn a lot of extra points with this card, but this is still something to keep in mind. There are always deals to be found, but you’ll likely need more points to book an award stay than you would with another hotel loyalty program.

Hilton Honors American Express Card Welcome Offer

If you spend just $1,000 with this card within the first three months, you’ll earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Now, they’re only worth $360 because of the low average point value. However, that’s a very competitive bonus value compared to other no-annual-fee hotel and travel rewards cards. 

The welcome offer is not available to applicants who have or have previously had this card. The number of other American Express cards you’ve opened and closed will also factor into your eligibility.

Earning Points & Rewards

It’s easy to quickly rack up Hilton Honors points with this card (and you’ll need them, but more on that in the Redeeming Rewards section below). Not only will you earn 7 bonus points per $1 spent on Hilton hotel reservations with the card, but those points are on top of a base of points you earn from each stay as a Hilton Honors Silver Status member. The base Silver Status earnings are 12 points per $1 spent on Hilton stays (or 6 points per $1 at Tru and Home2). 

That means if you book a $500 hotel stay using your Hilton Honors American Express card, you’ll earn 9,500 points: 6,000 points for being a Silver Status Hilton Honors member plus 3,500 points by paying with this Amex card. At 0.45 cents per point, that stay is worth about $43 in rewards.  

 Book all hotel reservations directly with the hotel, not a third-party travel website or travel agency, to get your purchase to earn the max amount of credit card points. 

You’ll also get 5 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations, and 3 points per $1 on everything else. These are stellar earning rates compared to the couple extra points other similar hotel cards offer for such purchases. 

There’s no limit on the number of points you can earn each year on the card, no blackout dates, and points don’t expire. 

Redeeming Rewards

Reward points are best used for hotel stays, which can cost anywhere from 5,000 to 95,000 points per night, depending on seasonality, location, and room availability at the desired hotel. You can also book a reward stay with a combination of reward points and money. 

In addition to hotel stays, Hilton Honors points can be redeemed for: 

  • Experiences (i.e. concerts, sporting events, historic tours, travel excursions, and unique activities)
  • Hilton resort activities (i.e. dinner events, spa treatments, and golf reservations) 
  • Lyft rides
  • Shopping on Amazon.com
  • Rental cars with partner companies Alamo, Enterprise, and National  
  • Charity donations

You can also transfer points to loyalty programs sponsored by domestic and international airlines and rail partners. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Spend $1,000 right away to snatch up those welcome offer points. Then use this card for all your everyday expenses like groceries, gas, and even restaurant to-go orders. Most importantly, redeem your points for standard hotel stays, which typically give you the best value. 

Because most of the redemption options outside of Hilton hotels are not great value, we recommend pairing this card with another general travel, airline, or cash-back card if you are interested in earning rewards to cover the cost of flights or other travel expenses.

Other Features 

Besides automatic Hilton Honors Silver Status, the card also comes with:

  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Extended warranties 
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary coverage)
  • Free two-day shipping on select online purchases via ShopRunner 

Customer Experience

According to J.D. Power, American Express ranks No. 1 (out of 11) for customer satisfaction among big bank credit card issuers in the 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. 

Besides access to highly-rated customer service, you also get a free credit score and credit report through the Amex MyCreditGuide program. MyCreditGuide will alert you to changes in your credit report and simulate how different behaviors can impact your credit score. 

Security Features 

If your Hilton Honors American Express account is compromised or you lose your card, you can instantly lock your account online via the app. Your account will automatically unfreeze after seven days unless you unlock it first. Lost or stolen cards are replaced for free, including free next-day shipping. 

Fees 

If you don’t like paying extra fees to use your card, you’ll be happy. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Other fees are standard across the industry 

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Hilton Honors American Express Card
overall rating
3.3
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 7 points per $1 for eligible Hilton purchases. 5 points per $1 for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. 3 points per $1 for all other eligible purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. American Express. "Hilton Honors Card." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  2. American Express. "Important Information Regarding Rates, Fees, and Other Cost Information." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  3. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  4. American Express. "How Do I Report and Replace a Lost, Stolen or Damaged Card?" Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.