Best for business travel
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
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The American Express Hilton Honors Business card is a strong choice for business owners and Hilton loyalists seeking elite status benefits and boosted rewards on travel. Strategic spenders can take advantage of bonus rewards and a generous sign-up bonus to earn a lot of free nights at Hilton properties worldwide.
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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is a great choice for small-business owners who want to enjoy an upgraded Hilton experience.
Like many of the best hotel cards, the Hilton Honors business card offers high bonus rewards for hotel stays and travel. It also rewards everyday business expenses like U.S. gas station purchases and shipping and wireless phone service costs. The card also comes with top-of-the-line features like elite status, complimentary Priority Pass visits and the chance to earn free night awards and an upgrade to Hilton’s highest elite status level. These perks are more than enough to offset the $95 annual fee.
Even though the Hilton Honors business card provides exceptional value, it may not be the best fit for everyone. Some of the card’s disadvantages include limited redemption options and no automatic free night award. Depending on your travel needs, you could get better value out of a general-purpose business card.
There are many opportunities to earn points outside the variety of bonus categories, including through Lyft rides, eligible car rentals and Hilton Honors Dining purchases
Users will receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status, bonus reward night offers and other valuable loyalty benefits
Hilton’s redemption options are a bit more diverse than competing hotel business cards’ options
This card carries a $95 annual fee, which may hard to justify if you don’t take advantage of loyalty privileges and perks
Hilton Honors points are only worth 0.6 cents on average — a slightly lower value than most competing hotels’ rewards
Despite multiple reward redemption options, general-purpose business travel cards may be more valuable if you spend more in non-hotel bonus categories
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. Based on Bankrate’s recent valuation, Hilton Honors points are worth about 0.6 cents apiece. So this offer is valued at $780. This is a decent offer for a business card with an annual fee of less than $100.
Like other hotels’ co-branded credit 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 multiple ways to earn Hilton Honors points and complimentary elite status benefits.
The card’s 12X points on direct purchases at any of the 7,000+ Hilton portfolio hotels and resorts is hands-down the best way to rack up rewards. But if your business travel is limited, taking advantage of the 6X points categories might be easier. You can earn 6X points 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 6X points on select travel for flights booked through airlines or Amex Travel, car rentals with eligible companies and at U.S. restaurants.
For other spending outside typical bonus categories, you’ll earn 3X points on all other purchases.
These already provide excellent category coverage and consistent reward opportunities compared to typical co-branded cards. However, there are even more ways to earn bonus points outside your base categories as a Hilton Honors program member:
One of the upsides to the Hilton Honors program is the redemption option variety, 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 and concerts), 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 from booking complimentary nights. Points can either cover the entire stay, or you can use cash to pay the remainder.
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, our latest point valuation gauges Hilton Honors points’ average value at 0.6 cents. This puts them at just a little more than half the value of many other travel cards.
|Rewards program||Bankrate value*||Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles|
|World of Hyatt||2.1 cents||$1,050|
|Wyndham Rewards||0.9 cents||$450|
|IHG One Rewards||
|Marriott Bonvoy||0.7 cents||$350|
|Best Western Rewards||0.6 cents||$300|
|Hilton Honors||0.6 cents||$300|
* Based on median point values across budget, mid-tier and luxury hotel bookings.
In order to maximize these inflated points, your best bet is to redeem for rooms well in advance and outside peak travel season. Stronger point values aren’t guaranteed, but we’ve found using your points at mid-tier and luxury properties and booking your stay 11 months ahead provide a better chance at receiving more value than 0.6 cents per point.
Further, your point value dips if you redeem for anything other than reward nights. For example, 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 save you money and grant luxury perks.
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 30 nights within a calendar year (40 nights after 2022). Staying 60 nights in a calendar year will earn you 30,000 milestone bonus points every 10 nights.
Thanks to your complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status, you’ll also earn 80 percent more “base points” per dollar spent on your Hilton stay as an elite member. Base points are essentially extra points earned on your stay solely through the Hilton Honors loyalty program (not your card spend) but also count toward your next elite status tier.
All Hilton Honors members earn 10X base points on most Hilton stays, but your Gold Status base-point boost (18X base points) adds up to a whopping 30X points on Hilton stays when using your card. Here’s an example based on a $250 one-night stay and our 0.6-cent average point value:
You’ll already earn every fifth night free on reward stays with your complimentary Gold Status, but you can also obtain a Free Night Reward after spending $15,000 on purchases within a calendar year. A second Free Night Reward is up for grabs after spending $45,000 within a calendar year. This is an update to the previous offer of Free Weekend Nights for the same spending. This is an upgrade, since Hilton’s free nights can be used any day of the week, so you’re no longer restricted to weekends.
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 night certificates, meaning it’s feasible to receive a free week-long stay at a Hilton property on an annual basis.
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 1,200+ 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.
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 or you won’t spend enough to obtain the Free Night Reward from Hilton Honors, you only need to spend $1,320 a year in your 12X-point bonus category to cover the annual fee with rewards (or, about $528 per year on Hilton stays combined with your Gold Status’ base point boost). 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 20.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable ongoing APR — though this isn’t uncommon on a business card. You’ll also have to watch out for the penalty APR that comes with this card. If you’re late with a minimum payment, pay late two or more times within a 12-month period or have a returned payment, you could get hit with a penalty APR of 29.99 percent for a minimum of 12 months.
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, which charges a $125 annual fee, the Hilton Amex Business card’s rewards are less valuable and the card doesn’t guarantee free nights every year like Marriott’s business card can.
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.
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When it comes to picking the best hotel-branded business card for you, the largest factor to consider is what chain you prefer. Because both Hilton and Marriott have significant global hotel networks, the next aspect to focus on is value. The Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card has a higher annual fee of $125, but the card’s annual Free Night Award — worth up to 35,000 points — more than recoups your yearly fee. Meanwhile, Hilton’s business card requires you to spend $15,000 each year for a similar Free Night Reward, which makes the Marriott business card’s annual fee a bit easier to recoup without eating into your hard-earned rewards.
Speaking of rewards, our latest point valuation estimates Hilton points (0.6 cents each) are worth slightly less than Marriott points (0.7 cents each) on average. Both cards even reward similar bonus categories, but the Marriott Bonvoy Business card’s up to 18.5X points on Marriott purchases (6X points plus its 12.5X Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status boost) can’t catch up to the Hilton business card’s up to 30X points on Hilton stays (thanks to its Gold Status base point boost) if you’re focused on hotel purchases.
However, whether either card is the right fit for you is easily determined by which brand (and loyalty program features) you prefer and which card’s benefits better fit your spending. If you don’t have a preferred hotel brand, weigh these differences or apply for a general travel card that rewards hotel stays.
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 Amex points are more valuable and flexible, but you can also convert those rewards to Hilton Honors points if you’d like. While its flat-rate rewards program doesn’t seem as lucrative as the Hilton Amex Business card’s on paper, it’s a great choice for business owners with startup expenses or without a specialized budget However, the Blue Business Plus may not be the best fit for businesses that spend over the annual $50,000 spending cap on rewards.
When deciding between these two cards, it’s important to evaluate your spending habits and goals. If your company is relatively new and you want to earn rewards on startup expenses, the Blue Business Plus is a great option that allows the cardmember to redeem rewards in a variety of categories or transfer them to one of Amex’s many hotel and airline partners. If business travel is a large expense for your company and you value elite status benefits, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is a more prudent choice.
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 consumer Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card could support the Hilton Honors Amex Business card since it offers a multitude of hotel and travel credits, complimentary Diamond Status along with 7X Hilton points on flights booked directly with airlines or via American Express Travel. However, its $450 annual fee and better 14X-point starting rewards rate on Hilton purchases steps on the Hilton Business card’s toes unless you can justify this sizable additional fee.
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.
All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.
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