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Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
Hits the road often, whether for work or play
Loves to explore places and experience new things
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty
The Hilton Honors American Express card is best for occasional travelers who want to quickly rack up points for free nights at Hilton hotels. Busy families and other consumers can earn points for everyday purchases, in addition to Hilton stays.
The low spending threshold for the welcome offer and the absence of an annual fee make the card attainable for those with good credit who aren’t hardcore rewards chasers. However, you need more points to buy an award room than you would with some other hotel rewards programs. And if you enjoy staying in non-Hilton hotels, there are other hotel and travel cards that offer better travel benefits and greater reward flexibility.
Low spending requirement for welcome offer
No annual fee
Earn points daily with little effort
Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status upgrade
Few additional travel benefits
Lack of clear reward night costs
Lower points valuation than other hotel programs
- Low welcome offer spending requirement: With the Hilton Honors card welcome offer, you can spend less to earn the bonus than with some similar hotel card offerings, even considering the fact that Hilton points aren’t worth as much. 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.
- Little effort needed to earn points daily: People who don’t travel constantly can still easily earn points on gas, groceries, and other routine purchases.
- Hilton Honors Silver Status: This means you’ll immediately be eligible for 20% more points when booking hotel rooms, discounts on bookings, rollover nights, digital check-in, choice of rooms, and more.
- Few additional travel benefits: You won't get high-value benefits offered by many other travel cards, such as airport lounge access, travel cancellation insurance, or emergency medical benefits.
- Lack of clear reward night costs: The value of your points will vary a lot because reward night prices change constantly with demand. This lack of transparency is not helpful for consumers holding a basic hotel card like this who aren’t used to doing all sorts of rewards-value math.
- Lower points valuation than other hotel programs: We value Honors points at only 0.43 cents each, on average. Meanwhile, other hotel programs that we evaluate have points worth at least 1 cent each, on average.
Hilton Honors American Express Card Welcome Offer
If you spend just $1,000 with this card within the first three months, you’ll earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Now, they're worth only $322.50 because of the low per-point value. However, that's competitive with other no-annual-fee hotel cards.
The welcome offer is not available to applicants who currently 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 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 + 3,500 points by paying with this Amex card.
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 restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations, and 3 points per $1 on everything else.
There’s no limit on the number of points you can earn each year with 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. dinners, spa treatments, and golf reservations)
- Shopping on Amazon.com
- Rental cars with partner companies Alamo, Enterprise, and National
- Charity donations
Transferring Points to Travel Partners
You can transfer points to six U.S. airlines (American, Delta, United, Frontier, Alaska, and Hawaiian) and 32 international airlines, but on average you’ll need at least eight Honors points to buy one airline point. You can also transfer points to Amtrak at a ratio of 6.7 to 1. We don’t recommend going this route if you can help it.
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 and gas. Most importantly, redeem your points for standard hotel stays, which typically give you the best value.
Hilton Honors American Express Card’s Excellent Perks
Besides giving you Silver Status, the card has the following benefits, which our editors have deemed as being of particularly high value.
- Baggage insurance plan: Covers replacement costs up to $1,250 per covered individual, per trip for a lost checked or carry-on bag when trip transportation was paid in full with this card.
- Travel accident insurance: Provides accidental death and dismemberment coverage up to $100,000 for you and your family while traveling on a plane, train, ship, or bus when the entire fare has been charged to this card.
Hilton Honors American Express Card’s Other Features
Some of the other perks offered by this card include:
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Extended warranties
- Purchase return protection
- 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. 2 for customer satisfaction among credit card issuers, scoring 838 out of 1,000 points in the 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Its mobile app and online experience also ranked second in another J.D. Power 2019 study.
Besides having easy access to 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.
This card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Other fees are standard across the industry.