Hilton Honors American Express Card

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Claire Dickey @ClaireDickey  in  Hotel Advertising Disclosure
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Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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Best Hilton card with no annual fee

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.99%-26.99% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees
Bankrate Score: 86 out of 100

Commonly used for: Good Credit, Hotel, No Annual Fee, Rewards, Travel.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card was made with Hilton loyalists in mind. With no annual fee (See Rates and Fees), this hotel rewards card offers suitable rewards for your spending and helps you reap the most benefits from Hilton-related purchases.

The large welcome offer doesn’t have as much value as you’d think, and there are other hotel credit card options with better rewards rates. But if you have a passion for all things Hilton and seek the luxury benefits associated with Hilton Honors Elite Status, you won’t be disappointed.

Here are the details:

You’ll receive 7X Hilton Honors bonus points for every dollar spent at hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio, 5 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. restaurants and 3 points per dollar on everything else. This may seem like an incredible rewards structure, but keep in mind Hilton Honors points are worth around .06 cents (almost half of a typical hotel rewards point).

There’s a 75,000Hilton Honors bonus point offer when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, which holds half the worth of introductory bonuses offered by similar loyalty programs. You’ll see the points enter your account six to eight weeks after reaching $1,000 in purchases.

Is this card right for you?

This card is for those loyal to the Hilton brand who’d like to earn rewards on stays and gain Hilton Honors Elite Status.

The flexibility of the card lies in the fact that points are transferable to 40+ airline transfer partners and are redeemable for gift cards and Hilton-related purchases. Yet you can’t redeem for cash back, and all travel purchases must be made through the Hilton travel portal.

Frequent international travelers will benefit from the card’s lack of foreign transaction fees. (See rates and fees)

Advantages
  • No annual fee
  • 75,000 Hilton Honors bonus points when you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Complimentary Silver status
  • 5th night free when booking a reward stay of five nights or more
  • Hilton Honors points are transferable
  • Pay for stays using partial points, a combination of points and cash
  • Terms apply
  • See Rates and Fees
Disadvantages
  • Can’t redeem rewards for cash back
  • High spend requirement to achieve Hilton Honors Gold status

How much are the rewards worth?

At current valuations, the 75,000 bonus point offer is worth around $450 and there isn’t a cap on how many points you can earn.

Rewards nights start as low as 5,000 Hilton Honors points a night, so you have the potential to stay up to 15 nights free at select Hilton properties. Keep in mind that Hilton Honors points are inflated, so large quantities of them won’t necessarily hold the same value.

As an example, we looked at several properties and found the redemption value lacking in some cases. When checking the Hilton booking website, a room at the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Airport North was going for as little as $87 a night. The site listed the minimum redemption rate at 23,000 points. That’s not nearly as good a redemption rate as you can get with a cash-back rewards card.

A more detailed look into this card’s rewards structure can be found in our Hilton Honors rewards guide, containing information on setting up your account, earning and transferring points, and maximizing your rewards when you travel.

How to use this card

First and foremost, your points won’t expire as long as you use your card (at minimum) once per calendar year, and there’s no limit on how many points you can earn.

You’ll want to stay at Hilton branded hotels and resorts as frequently as possible to get the most out of your rewards – the more you spend, the higher in elite status ranks you go. A redeemable rewards stay must be worth 5,000 Hilton Honors points or more and can be redeemed online or by booking a reservation on the phone. There’s also the option to combine Hilton Honors points (in 1,000 point increments) and cash to cover a stay.

Card ownership comes with complimentary Silver status, meaning you’ll receive a 20% bonus on Hilton Honors Honors Base Points earned for every dollar spent on stays. But when you spend $20,000 within a calendar year, you’ll be upgraded to Gold status (valid through the end of the following calendar year), meaning an 80% bonus on base points.

An additional perk of Silver status is 5th Night Free. You’ll get a fifth night free for every Standard Room Rewards stay equal to five consecutive nights or longer, plus access to benefits like car rental loss and damage insurance, the American Express Global Assist® Hotline and travel accident insurance.

The bottom line

You’ll benefit most from this card if you already consider yourself a Hilton loyalist or are looking to become one.

Overall, this is a decent second or third credit card option for Hilton fans to carry, but it shouldn’t be the card you use every day.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.