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, though its lower points valuation makes them harder to redeem. You also won’t find many extra travel benefits, but fans of the Hilton hotel network will still get value from this card.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

overall rating
4.3
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 (%) 17.74% - 26.74% variable
  • Annual Fee No Annual Fee
  • Rewards Earning Rate 7X points for eligible purchases charged directly with a participating Hilton property. 5X points for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. 3X points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Foreign transaction fee 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.0
for Rewards
1.9
for Credit
3.5

Earn 90,000 Hilton Honors Bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Top Rated For

  • American Express Credit Cards
  • Credit Cards for Groceries
  • Credit Cards for Small Business Owners
  • First-Time Credit Cards
  • Gas Credit Cards
  • Hotel Credit Cards
  • No Annual Fee Credit Cards
  • Travel Credit Cards

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

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  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker
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    Hits the road often, whether for work or play
    Road Warrior

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. 

Pros

  • Low spending requirement for welcome offer

  • No annual fee

  • Earn points daily with little effort

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status upgrade

Cons

  • Few additional travel benefits

  • Lack of clear reward night costs

  • Lower points valuation than other hotel programs

Pros Explained

  • 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. 

Cons Explained

  • 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 about 0.34 cents each when redeemed for Hilton stays (based on evaluations of 18 properties across different cities and types of rooms). Our valuations for other hotel program points are 0.6 cents or even more than $1 each when those points are redeemed for hotel stays. 

Hilton Honors American Express Card Welcome Offer

If you spend $2,000 with this card within the first three months, you’ll earn 90,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points, which are only worth $306 because of the low per-point value. However, that's competitive among similar hotel cards right now.

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.

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. 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 $2,000 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. 

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 to maximize your rewards potential.

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

Customer Experience

According to J.D. Power, American Express ranks No. 2 for customer satisfaction among credit card issuers, scoring 830 out of 1,000 points in the 2018 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Its mobile app and online experience also rank No. 2 in a 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. 

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. 

Fees 

This card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Other fees are standard across the industry. 

For Hilton Honors American Express Card

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Hilton Honors American Express Card
overall rating
4.3
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
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  • Annual Fee No Annual Fee
  • Rewards Earning Rate 7X points for eligible purchases charged directly with a participating Hilton property. 5X points for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. 3X points for all other eligible purchases.
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  • 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:
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