Hilton Honors Card from American Express card review – The Points Guy

Posted bywp_12122045 Posted onMay 15, 2023 Comments0


Hilton Honors American Express Card overview

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is the brand’s no-annual-fee (see rates and fees), entry-level product. Featuring 7 points per dollar on eligible Hilton purchases and complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status, the card is a solid option for new cardholders loyal to the hotel chain or those looking to avoid annual fees. However, other travel cards offer more points flexibility and bigger perks. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

The Hilton Honors program covers over 7,000 hotels in more than 120 countries, providing plenty of chances to earn and redeem points.

If you’re a beginner looking for a credit card with some Hilton perks, you may want to look at the Hilton Honors American Express Card. It has no annual fee and comes with a nice welcome offer, generous category bonuses and travel and purchase protections, making it a great option for travelers looking to get started with Hilton Honors.

Here’s everything you need to decide if the card is right for your wallet.

Related: Choosing the best Hilton credit card for you

THE POINTS GUY

Hilton Honors Amex welcome offer

New applicants for the Amex Hilton Honors card can earn 70,000 Hilton Honors bonus points and a free night reward after spending $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends July 19.

TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents apiece, which means this bonus is worth $420 (excluding the free night), all for no annual fee and just a $1,000 spending threshold.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Earning points on the Hilton Honors Amex

With the Hilton Honors Amex, you’ll earn 7 Hilton Honors points per dollar on stays at Hilton hotels and resorts (including paying for your room and on-site spending at restaurants and spas), 5 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery), 5 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, and 3 points per dollar on other purchases.

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Given TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents apiece, you’ll earn a 1.8% return on daily purchases and 4.2% return at Hilton hotels — though you’ll get an extra 12 points per dollar from your Hilton Honors Silver elite status, bumping your return to 11.4%.

Related: Points of View: Which credit card should you use for Hilton stays?

If you’re looking for higher earning opportunities covering a wider swath of travel purchases, including flights and rental cars, you won’t get that with this card.

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Redeeming points on the Hilton Honors Amex

You’ll get the best value for your Hilton points when using them for hotel and resort stays, even with the chain’s lack of published award charts. How many points you need for a hotel room fluctuates, so you won’t know the final price until you go to make a reservation. The Points Explorer tool can show you what other guests have paid recently.

You can also transfer your Hilton Honors points to over 40 global airline loyalty programs and Amtrak. However, unless you need to transfer Honors points to top off an airline account for a specific award, using them for this purpose isn’t a good idea. The transfer ratio is normally terrible, losing thousands of points.

Our advice? Stick to hotel room redemptions to get the best value for your rewards.

Related: 10 Hilton properties I can’t wait to redeem Hilton Honors points for

You’ll do even better when you redeem points for a stay of five nights or longer. That’s because you get a fifth night free on stays using points.

HILTON.COM

This hotel near Niagara Falls charges 29,000 points, but you’ll see in the image that the fifth night is free — resulting in a final price of 116,000 points for five nights.

To learn more about redeeming Hilton points (and doing so at a great value), read the following guides:

Hilton Honors Amex benefits

The Hilton Honors Amex features a few notable perks and benefits beyond the welcome bonus. Here’s an overview of what this card has to offer.

HILTON

Elite status

The card comes with automatic Hilton Honors Silver elite status, which provides member discounts, a 20% points bonus on paid stays, no resort fees on award stays, a fifth night free on award stays and free bottled water. If you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year, you can upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status, which TPG values at $1,220.

However, it’s worth pointing out that other Hilton credit cards offer Gold status automatically, meaning spending $20,000 to get there isn’t a good value.

Entertainment

Get exclusive access to ticket presales and cardmember-only events, along with Broadway shows, concert tours, sporting events and more through the American Express Experiences program.

Free shipping

ShopRunner gives you free two-day shipping on eligible items at a network of more than 100 online stores after signing up at shoprunner.com/americanexpress. Enrollment is required in advance.

Extended warranty

The card comes with an extended warranty that adds up to one year to an original manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less.

Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Purchase protection

Purchase protection covers items accidentally damaged, stolen or lost if you paid for them with your card. This benefit covers purchases for up to 90 days and covers up to $1,000 per item — up to $50,000 per calendar year.

Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Car rental loss and damage insurance

When you use the card to reserve and pay for a car rental and decline the rental company’s insurance, you’re covered against damage and theft — up to $50,000. This benefit is secondary coverage to your own auto insurance and doesn’t include liability.

Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered, and geographic restrictions apply. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

Dedicated help

The Global Assist Hotline helps with medical, legal, financial or other emergency services when traveling more than 100 miles from home.

Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Cardmembers are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.

Which cards compete with the Hilton Honors Amex?

The Amex Hilton Honors card has natural competitors with “Hilton” in their names, but a general travel credit card also may do better in your wallet. Here are options you should consider.

  • If you like Hilton but want more perks: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card earns an improved 12 points per dollar at Hilton hotels, provides automatic Gold status, and you can earn a free night reward by spending $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year. You’ll also get 10 Priority Pass airport lounge visits per year, and the card has a low $95 annual fee (see rates and fees). For more information, read our full review of the Amex Hilton Surpass card.
  • If you want flexible rewards with no annual fee: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card earns 2 American Express Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 of purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar) and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. You can use these points with Hilton and over a dozen airline and hotel programs. You won’t get any benefits with Hilton but will have options with your points while still not paying an annual fee (see rates and fees). For more information, read our full review of the Amex EveryDay card.
  • If you want a hotel card without an annual fee, regardless of brand: The Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card is an option if you want a hotel credit card without an annual fee and aren’t tied to Hilton. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy properties, receive complimentary Silver Elite status (and 15 elite night credits to help you reach higher status levels with Marriott), plus other travel and shopping protections. For more information, read our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Bold card.

The information for the Amex EveryDay card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

For additional options, see our list of the best hotel credit cards and American Express cards.

Related: The best no-annual-fee credit cards

HILTON

Is the Hilton Honors Amex worth it?

You might assume the Amex Hilton card is worth it by default since it has no annual fee. It depends on what you’re looking for, though. If entry-level elite status, a good welcome bonus and fair earning categories are sufficient, you’ll like this card. If you’re looking for flexible rewards or more Hilton perks, go for one with an annual fee.

Bottom line

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is a good starter card for those looking to maximize the benefits of Hilton’s loyalty program without paying an annual fee — especially with the increased welcome bonus. It may not be the right card for everyone, though it may be the right card for you if that’s what you seek.


Apply here: Hilton Honors Amex with 70,000 Hilton Honors bonus points and a free night reward after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership.


Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Stella Shon and Madison Blancaflor.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass Card, click here.

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