Hilton Honors American Express Card Review: Generous Rewards Without the Annual Fee

Hilton Honors American Express Card Review: Generous Rewards Without the Annual Fee

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is a great $0-annual-fee card that offers above-average hotel and travel benefits.

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

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

Quick facts

  • Welcome offer: 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
  • Earning rate: Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Other benefits: No foreign transaction fees, automatic Hilton Silver elite status (enrollment required)
  • Terms apply

Pros

  • Generous welcome offer
  • High earning rate
  • Get a status boost without an annual fee (enrollment required)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • It's a metal card
  • Terms apply

Cons

  • Few premium hotel perks
  • No free anniversary night
  • Lower rewards rates than other Hilton cards
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Is the Hilton Honors American Express Card worth it?

The Hilton Honors American Express Card offers plenty of value for travelers without an annual fee. The card doesn't feature elite perks like room upgrades and complimentary breakfast, but it still offers a large amount of value — especially in earning Hilton Honors points.

However, if you're a Hilton loyalist, you should consider one of Hilton's other co-branded personal credit cards. These cards will give you more hotel benefits (including yearly free night awards) and higher status upgrades.

Earn 80,000 points

The Hilton Honors American Express Card features the lowest welcome bonus offer among the three Hilton Amex cards, although it does have a secondary offer to earn more bonus points.

80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.

Hilton award stays vary depending on where and when you stay. A one-night stay at the Hilton Garden Inn New York/Times Square Central can run upwards of 70,000 points. The bonus would more than cover two nights (30,000 points per night) at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel near the Universal Studios Orlando entrance.

What it's worth: Around $400 in Hilton hotel stays

Who's eligible to earn this offer?: This offer is not available to applicants who currently own or have previously owned this card. Amex may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed, as well as other factors in making a decision on eligibility.

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Earn 7X points on Hilton purchases

Earning bonus points is easy with the Hilton Honors American Express Card:

Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

It makes sense that the card earns higher rates for Hilton purchases since it's a co-branded card. It also earns a very high number of points on general purchases, including U.S. restaurants, U.S supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

While the rate isn't as high as offered by the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, it's incredibly high for a no-annual-fee card. We estimate that the average spender can earn around $0.021 in rewards per dollar spent with the card:

Average rewards earned per $1 spent

$0.044
American Express® Gold Card
$0.025
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0.024
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
$0.023
The Platinum Card® from American Express
$0.021
Hilton Honors American Express Card
$0.02
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
$0.02
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
$0.02
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

We estimate an earning rate for the average consumer based on U.S. Bureau of Labor data and multiply that by the value of each card’s points or miles.

money icon

What are Hilton Honors American Express points worth?

Like many hotel rewards program points, Hilton points are inflated. We value Hilton Honors points at around only 0.5 cents per point. This valuation is a rough estimation and depends on how you choose to redeem them. Point value is typically higher with certain redemption options, like Hilton award nights, compared to using your points for things like online shopping, rental cars and Lyft rides.

{"backgroundColor":"ice","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeImage--root left\" \u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeImage--image-container \"\u003E\n \u003Cimg alt=\"money icon\" class=\"ShortcodeImage--image lazyload\" style=\"width: 40px;\" data-src=\"http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_1.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_40\/v1\/static\/icons\/svg\/money\" src=\"http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_2.0,e_blur:1000,f_auto,h_1600,q_1,w_40\/v1\/static\/icons\/svg\/money\" data-srcset=\"http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_1.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_40\/v1\/static\/icons\/svg\/money 1x, http:\/\/res.cloudinary.com\/value-penguin\/image\/upload\/c_limit,dpr_2.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_40\/v1\/static\/icons\/svg\/money 2x\"\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch3\u003EWhat are Hilton Honors American Express points worth?\u003C\/h3\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003ELike many hotel rewards program points, Hilton points are inflated. We value Hilton Honors points at around only \u003Cstrong\u003E0.5 cents per point\u003C\/strong\u003E. This valuation is a rough estimation and depends on how you choose to redeem them. Point value is typically higher with certain redemption options, like Hilton award nights, compared to using your points for things like online shopping, rental cars and Lyft rides.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

Redeeming points

While Hilton points are inflated, the good news is that you should have a pretty easy time finding a way to redeem them with Hilton's worldwide hotel network. Hilton has no blackout dates or capacity controls on award nights — if a standard room or premium room is available, you should be able to book it with points.

Since Hilton uses dynamic pricing rather than an award chart, the amount of points needed for a free night can vary drastically, depending on the property you're looking to book and the date. Award nights can cost as little as 5,000 points or can cost over 100,000 points for a night at a luxury resort.

Like other hotel credit cards, your points are worth less when spent on other redemption options.

Hotel
Cash price
Points required
Points value
Conrad New York Midtown$45289,000 points0.51 cents
Embassy Suites by Hilton New York Manhattan Times Square$8724,000 points0.36 cents
Hilton Garden Inn New York/Central Park South Midtown West$13424,000 points0.56 cents
Homewood Suites by Hilton New York/Midtown Manhattan Times Square-South, NY$18340,000 points0.46 cents
Average value0.47 cents

There are a handful of other ways you can redeem Hilton Honor points (the value issue usually not good):

  • Exclusive experiences
  • Lyft rides
  • Online shopping
  • Rental cars
  • Transfer to airline travel partners

Savvy traveler tip: You can stretch your points further with your fifth night free benefit, which gives you a free award night on a stay of four or more award nights.

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What credit score do you need for the Hilton Honors American Express Card, and what credit limit can you qualify for?

You'll need a good to 720 credit score to qualify for the Hilton Honors American Express Card. Amex sets credit limits based on your creditworthiness.

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Other Hilton Honors American Express Card benefits

In addition to earning rewards, the Hilton Honors American Express Card offers several key benefits that Hilton fans and frequent travelers will love.

Paying fees can cut into a card's value and should always be considered when choosing a rewards credit card. The Hilton Honors American Express Card carries a $0 annual fee, so all of the card's value stays in your pocket.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card also makes a great travel companion, especially when traveling internationally. Some cards charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S., but not the Hilton Honors American Express Card. The price you see when making purchases is what you will see on your monthly statement.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card comes with secondary car rental loss and damage insurance. You must use your card to book and pay for the car rental and decline the rental company's insurance coverage to receive coverage.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status once you enroll in the Hilton Honors program. Silver status gives cardmembers access to some extra benefits, including:

  • Earn 20% more points on paid stays
  • A free bottle of water each stay
  • Fifth award night free
  • Elite rollover nights
  • Terms apply

Silver Status doesn't come with the premium Hilton benefits offered with Gold or Diamond status, but it still holds tons of value for most travelers. Regardless of status level, Hilton Honors members enjoy perks like free Wi-Fi, digital check-in and no resort fees on award stays.

Drawbacks

There's plenty to love about the Hilton Honors American Express Card, but it's not without its negatives:

  • Few premium hotel perks — While it's pretty generous for a no-annual-fee card to grant automatic elite status (enrollment required), Silver elite status with Hilton comes with limited benefits. If you're truly interested in hotel perks, you should check out a higher tier Hilton credit card.
  • No free anniversary night — The card doesn't offer an annual award night. In comparison, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers a free weekend night award each year you spend $15,000.
  • Lower rewards rates than other Hilton cards — Honestly, the card's earning rate is really good for a no-annual-fee card, but you can earn even more points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

How does the Hilton Honors American Express Card compare to other cards?

The Hilton Honors card is a solid choice for many travelers, especially with no annual fee to pay. With that said, it's not the ideal card for everyone. Below are details on a few popular travel rewards cards so you can see how they compare.

Hilton Honors American Express Card vs. Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Verdict: A better option for luxury travel benefits

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is a premium travel rewards card for serious travelers who want access to luxury perks. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express earns higher rewards in similar spending categories, including Hilton purchases and at U.S restaurants, with some differences. For instance, it earns more points on Hilton hotels and directly booked flights, but a lower rate on U.S. gas station and U.S. supermarket purchases.

It's the premium perks that set the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express apart, including automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status (enrollment required), $250 airline fee credit (enrollment required), $100 Hilton property credit, Priority Pass lounge access (enrollment required) and one annual weekend night reward. Extra perks don't come free, though, as the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express also features a premium annual fee. It's not geared towards the casual traveler.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $450 (Worse)
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. (Better)
  • Earning rate: Earn 14X per $1 of eligible purchases on your card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants, and 3X for other purchases on your card (Worse)
  • Rewards earned/$1 spent: $0.020 (Worse)
  • Other benefits: One annual weekend night reward, complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status (enrollment required), $250 airline fee credit (enrollment required), $100 Hilton property credit, Priority Pass lounge access (enrollment required) (Better)
  • Terms apply

Hilton Honors American Express Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: One of the most versatile travel rewards credit cards

Few credit cards offer the versatility and flexible redemption options found with Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The Hilton Honors American Express Card gives you plenty of options through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program from travel to cash back to points transfers to a host of travel partners. The card offers a wealth of benefits outside of rewards too.

There's a $50 annual hotel credit for hotel stays booked through Chase. Also, the card comes with partner benefits with companies like Lyft, Peloton and DoorDash. Don't forget the myriad of travel protections that accompany Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. If you love earning and using travel rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best cards around.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $95 (Worse)
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. (Better)
  • Earning rate: 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases (Worse)
  • Rewards earned/$1 spent: $0.025 (Better)
  • Other benefits: $50 anniversary hotel credit, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary auto rental collision damage coverage, baggage delay insurance, trip delay insurance and purchase protection (Similar)

Hilton Honors American Express Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

Verdict: Another top choice for flexible travel rewards for frequent travelers

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is among the most versatile travel rewards cards on the market today. Similar to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a variety of redemption options including transferring your points to more than 15 partner travel loyalty programs.

The card does carry a $95 annual fee you'll need to think about, but the card's benefits, along with a sizable welcome bonus and rewards earning potential, makes it more than worth the yearly cost.

How does it compare?

  • Annual fee: $95 (Worse)
  • Welcome bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel (Better)
  • Earning rate: 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day (Worse)
  • Rewards earned/$1 spent: $0.020 (Worse)
  • Other benefits: Two Capital One Lounge visits annually, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit, 24-hour travel assistance service, auto rental collision damage waiver and travel accident insurance (Better)

Should you apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Card?

Overall, the Hilton Honors American Express Card is a solid hotel credit card with enough benefits and features to satisfy the occasional traveler who enjoys perks and rewards without paying extra. For a no fee rewards card, it offers a lot.

If you're a more frequent traveler or a Hilton fan, the hotel's other co-branded credit cards offer much more. The choice comes down to whether you want to pay a fee to earn rewards and access extra perks and how frequently you plan to travel.

Compare the Hilton Honors American Express Card to the best hotel credit cards to determine which one is the right one for you.

Hilton Honors American Express Card FAQs

What are 100,000 Hilton Honors points worth?

100,000 Hilton Honors points are worth approximately $500 or 0.5 cents per point.

Can I upgrade my Hilton Amex card?

You may be eligible to upgrade your Hilton Honors card if you've received a targeted offer from American Express. To find out if you've received a targeted offer, log in to your online account and look for an offer under the "Amex Offers & Benefits" section.

You can also call (800-528-4800) or chat with customer support to see if there are any targeted offers on your account. If not, ask for an upgrade at that time.

How do I link my Hilton Honors card to Amex?

After you're approved for the Hilton Honors card, you'll have an opportunity to set up online access to your card account on the American Express website. You can also do this once you receive your card in the mail. Instructions on how to set up your account are included with the card.

Does the Hilton Honors American Express Card have a balance transfer offer?

No, there is no introductory 0% APR offer available with the Hilton Honors American Express Card.

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

The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Editor's Rating

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