The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card review
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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Overview
Even as Hilton’s only business credit card, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is one of the best branded hotel cards on the market for its $95 annual fee.
Despite its low-value points, this card comes with enough reward opportunities across its versatile supply of bonus categories to offset this inflation. The Hilton Honors Business card’s loyalty benefits and redemption choices add to its overall value and help solidify it as one of the overall best Hilton cards for brand loyalists.
However, the hotel-oriented rewards might make another general-purpose travel card a better option for business owners less concerned with where they stay.
What are the pros and cons?
- This card carries a $95 annual fee
- Points are only worth 0.6 cents apiece according to TPG, and there is no awards chart for standard reward night redemption prices
- Diverse reward redemption options, but low redemption values outside reward nights
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 12X points on hotels and resorts in Hilton portfolio, 6X points on select business (U.S. gas stations, U.S. cellphone service providers and U.S. shipping purchases) and travel purchases (U.S. restaurants, airfare booked through Amex Travel and select car rentals) with 3X points on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, you can earn up to $130 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months, Limited Time Offer (expires July 6, 2022)
- Annual fee: $95
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 16.49 percent to 25.49 percent variable
Current welcome offer
New cardholders have the opportunity to earn 130,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within their first three months of card membership. Along with this, you can earn up to $130 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months (expires July 6, 2022).
Based on The Points Guy’s recent valuation, Hilton Honors points are worth about 0.6 cents apiece. With only a $95 annual fee and a $3,000 spending requirement, a welcome bonus weighing in at approximately $780 value is pretty hefty compared to other travel cards. But considering the previous offer also tacked on a Free Night Reward for the same spending requirement, the new bonus is a clear downgrade.
While the new bonus still offers solid value, the card’s history has shown the potential for a better deal down the line if you’re in no rush to apply now.
Like other co-branded hotel cards, the Hilton Honors Amex Business card earns loyalty points mainly from direct Hilton property purchases. But the card stands out from the competition with diverse ways to earn Hilton Honors points and complimentary elite status benefits.
Hands down, the best way to rack up points is through direct purchases with any of the 6,200+ Hilton portfolio hotels and resorts at 12 points per dollar. But if your business travel is limited, taking advantage of the 6X points categories might be easier. You can earn 6 points per dollar on select business expenses, including U.S. gas station purchases, U.S. wireless telephone service provider purchases and U.S. shipping purchases. You’ll also receive 6 points per dollar on select travel for U.S. restaurant purchases, flights booked through airlines or Amex Travel and car rentals with eligible companies.
For other spending outside typical bonus categories, you’ll earn 3X points on all other purchases.
There is also an exciting variety of ways to earn bonus points outside your base categories as a Hilton Honors program member:
- 3X points on Lyft rides by linking your Hilton Honors account
- 2X to 8X points at restaurants (and occasional intro bonuses) with the Hilton Honors Dining program
- Up to 20,000 points and extra discounts per car rental with Alamo, Enterprise or National Rental Car
- 10,000 points every 10 nights with your Hilton stay milestone after you’ve stayed 40 nights in a calendar year as a Gold Status member. Then, 40,000 points every 10 nights after staying 60 nights in a calendar year.
One of the upsides to the Hilton Honors program is the range of redemption options, especially when compared to similar programs like Marriott Bonvoy.
You can use the points you earn alongside the 130,000 earned from the welcome offer to book free nights, experiences (like dining, concerts, etc.), rental cars and Lyft rides. Alternatively, you can shop with points through the Hilton portal and Amazon.com, or transfer points to other accounts or partner travel programs.
As a hotel credit card, your best value will probably be booking complimentary nights. Points can either cover the entire stay, or you can use cash to pay the remainder.
How much are points worth?
Hilton uses a dynamic pricing model with point redemption ranges instead of a cut-and-dry rewards chart, so your point value could vary depending on the property, time and location that you book for. However, The Points Guy gauges Hilton Honors points’ market value at 0.6 cents. This puts them at just a little more than half the value of many other travel cards.
In order to maximize these inflated points, your best bet is to redeem for rooms in the 5,000-point range. We estimate these low-tier reward nights come with an average point value of about 1.22 cents.
Further, your point value dips if you redeem for anything other than reward nights. Points normally transfer to other partner programs at a 10:1 ratio, and it takes 500 points to equal a dollar (reducing them to 0.2 cents each) toward eligible Amazon purchases.
Although the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card carries a few helpful shopping and travel protections like baggage insurance, the main attractions are the loyalty program benefits that go beyond free breakfast to save you money and grant luxury perks.
Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status and Diamond Status upgrade
All Hilton Honors American Express Business cardholders receive complimentary Gold Status, which opens the door to loyalty benefits such as bonus amenity privileges, room upgrades and new reward-earning opportunities.
For example, you can earn 10,000 bonus points every 10 nights after you’ve stayed 40 nights within a calendar year—along with 80 percent more “base points” that help you earn reward nights. Staying 60 nights in a calendar year will earn you 40,000 milestone bonus points every 10 nights.
This card also gives you a jump start toward Diamond Status by automatically bumping you up after spending $40,000 in one calendar year. Diamond Status nets you a slew of new privileges, including 100 percent more base points on each purchase.
Hilton Honors Free Weekend Night Rewards
You’ll already earn every fifth night free on reward stays with your complimentary Gold Status, but you can also obtain a “Free Weekend Night Reward” after spending $15,000 on purchases within a calendar year. A second Weekend Night Reward is up for grabs after spending $60,000 within a calendar year.
This benefit is extremely valuable, especially for individuals that can devote that level of spending on business expenses. If you’re able to book your rewards nights in five night increments or longer, you can combine a free fifth night with your regular rewards earnings and the free weekend night certificates, meaning it’s feasible to receive a free week long stay at a Hilton property on an annual basis.
Complimentary Priority Pass visits
If you need an airport haven during your business trip, the Hilton Honors Amex Business card provides you with 10 complimentary visits each year to any of Priority Pass Select’s 1,300+ airport lounges around the world once your card is enrolled into the Priority Pass Select program.
This isn’t the best card for airport lounge access, however, since you’re charged the normal lounge admission if you run out before your account anniversary date and there are no guest passes.
Rates and fees
The $95 annual fee makes the Hilton Honors American Express Business card a good option for startups and small businesses, but make sure you can offset the $95. If the loyalty privileges aren’t valuable enough to you, you only need to spend $1,320 a year in your 12X-point bonus category to cover the annual fee with rewards. Otherwise, you might do better with a no annual fee business card.
You also won’t be charged foreign transaction fees in case your business takes you overseas. The downside is that there aren’t any 0 percent intro APR offers to shield you from the 16.49 percent to 25.49 percent variable ongoing APR—though this isn’t uncommon on a business card.
How the Hilton Honors American Express Business card compares to other hotel cards
Ultimately, the Hilton Honors Amex Business card offers decent benefits and reward-earning power with its well-rounded list of bonus categories and loyalty perks. But compared to the higher-priced Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, the rewards are less valuable and there aren’t guaranteed free nights every year.
Either way, those two cards will tie your rewards to specific hotel chains. The best option for the price may be to get a general-purpose travel card instead. If you’re less picky about where you stay, you’ll get much more say about where to apply your rewards across each leg of your journey.
For no annual fee, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express provides flat-rate 2X Membership Rewards points on your first $50,000 in purchases, then 1X points. These points are more valuable and flexible, but you can also convert those rewards to Hilton Honors points if you’d like.
Best cards to pair the Hilton Honors American Express Business card with
The Hilton Honors Amex Business card pairs particularly well with other American Express credit cards, since Membership Rewards can be exchanged for Hilton Honors points. The Blue Business Plus card can provide better rewards on any kind of business expense, for example. (Keep in mind that you might want to hold onto your Amex rewards instead of transferring them to Hilton since they’re more versatile.)
Similarly, you might want to look into a card that can earn you rewards on other travel expenses at a higher rate, like a general travel card. For the same $95 annual fee, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 you spend each account anniversary year on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services and select advertising purchases.
If you’re a Hilton loyalist and want to maximize your stays with free nights and additional rewards, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card could form a great pairing with the Hilton Honors Amex Business card. For a $95 annual fee, this card earns 12X on eligible purchases on Hilton hotels and resorts, 6X at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, 3X on other eligible purchases and has a welcome offer of 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases during the first three months of card membership.
Bankrate’s Take—Is the Hilton Honors American Express Business card worth it?
Despite being Hilton’s only business card, the Hilton Honors American Express Business card still holds its own as one of the best Hilton cards. “Hilton properties can be found in big cities and small towns all over the U.S. and across the world, which makes Hilton one of the top hotel chains for business travelers,” says credit card expert Stephanie Zito. Business owners that are loyal Hilton guests will find a lot of value in the elite status benefits and reward bonus categories for everyday business expenses.
The reward redemption options are also more diverse than several other hotel cards, but the inflated points system and niche card features could make a general-purpose travel card a better deal for many small business owners.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Business card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card from American Express, please click here.