Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
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.
Generous welcome offer
No annual fee
Ways to earn points daily
Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status upgrade with enrollment
Few additional travel benefits
Lower points valuation than other hotel programs
- Generous welcome offer: You have to spend about $333 per month, on average, after opening this card to earn the 80,000 bonus points. The bonus is quite nice for a no-annual-fee hotel card, too. More on that below. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
- 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. (See rates and fees.)
- 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 with enrollment: 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.
- 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 0.48 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. That's worth $360 because of the low average point value. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months. 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 and 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 0.48 cents per point, that stay is worth about $46 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.
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 80,000 welcome offer points. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months. 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.
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
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.
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.
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.