Hilton Honors Card from American Express Review: Hotel Rewards on Everyday Spending
Earning rewards on hotel stays can save you money if those rewards translate to free reward nights.
The allows you to earn points on Hilton hotel stays, along with everyday purchases. As an added perk, you get automatic Silver status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program.
With no annual fee (see Rates & Fees; terms apply), this card could be a good choice for the occasional traveler who wants to earn free nights or the regular spender who's interested in racking up hotel points.
But is the American Express Hilton Honors Card right for you? Read our in-depth review to help you decide.
Hilton Honors Card from American Express Card Pros & Cons
Generous Rewards for Hotel Stays & Everyday Spending
The American Express Hilton Honors Card features a tiered rewards program, meaning different purchases earn a different amount of points.
Since this is a hotel credit card, it's most rewarding when you book hotel stays. But you can also earn some decent points on other purchases.
Here's how the rewards program breaks down:
- Earn 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on eligible Hilton hotel and resort portfolio purchases
- Earn 5x points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
- Earn 5x points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations
- Earn 3x points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
The reality is:
Compared to some of American Express's other Hilton co-branded cards, you won't earn quite as many points per dollar on hotel stays with this card.
But, you're not paying an annual fee that could eat away at your points either.
Rewards are unlimited so the more you spend, the more points you can earn toward free nights at Hilton properties.
The ability to earn bonus points on everyday spending categories is impressive compared to other travel cards that may only offer one or two points per dollar on those purchases.
It's also worth mentioning that new cardholders can earn a sizable introductory welcome bonus, which makes the card more enticing.
There's a minimum spending requirement you need to meet to qualify but it's relatively low compared to what you'll find with other cards. Earning the bonus could give you a nice bank of points to apply toward your next Hilton stay.
When it's time to redeem rewards, you can do so for Hilton stays or you can transfer points to travel partners.
Hilton's current list of travel partners includes:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
If you have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points or you're a Diners Club International Club Rewards member, you can also exchange points from either program for Hilton Honors points.
Complimentary Silver Status in the Hilton Honors Program
The American Express Hilton Honors Card offers automatic enrollment in the Hilton Honors loyalty program.
This program is how you'll redeem the points earned with your card, plus you can enjoy additional benefits.
As a cardmember, you're granted complimentary Silver status in the program. Silver status benefits include:
- Digital check-in
- Guaranteed discounts to ensure you receive the best room rate
- Quick reservations and check-ins based on your room preference
- Late check-out
- Express check-out
- Second guest stays free
- Complimentary fitness center access
- Complimentary lobby and in-room standard internet access
You can upgrade your status to Gold automatically when you charge $20,000 or more in purchases to your card each year.
The Gold level includes all the Silver status benefits, as well as access to room upgrades and points bonuses at selected Hilton properties.
Other Card Features and Benefits
The American Express Hilton Honors Card is more of a basic hotel rewards credit card.
But it does come with some additional features and benefits (enrollment required for select benefits) you might appreciate, such as:
- No foreign transaction fees (see Rates & Fees; terms apply)
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Global Assist Hotline access
- Exclusive entertainment access
- Free 2-day shipping and free returns with ShopRunner
- Fraud protection benefits
- Pay It Plan It access
- Year-end summaries
There aren't a lot of extra bells and whistles but these features do enhance the card's value.
If you're looking for a hotel rewards card with more premium benefits, you may want to check out some of the other card recommendations included here a bit later.
This card has no foreign transaction fee, which is good if you travel outside the U.S. at all.
No annual fee is also a nice money-saving feature.
When you have a rewards card with an annual fee, you have to calculate that into your spending. At the very least, it would only make sense to get a card with an annual fee if you could earn it back in rewards.
The American Express Hilton Honors Card helps you to keep things simple since there's no annual fee.
One other thing to note, however, is the regular variable APR. This card doesn't offer an introductory APR for purchases or balance transfers.
Compared to Other Travel Rewards Cards
The American Express Hilton Honors Card can offer a convenient way to earn rewards on hotel stays and anything else you charge.
If you're wondering how it compares to other hotel rewards cards, here are three other options to consider.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
The offers even more Hilton Honors points on purchases.
With this card, you can earn:
- 12x Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on eligible Hilton purchases
- 6x points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
- 6x points per dollar at U.S. gas stations
- 3x points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Cardmembers enjoy automatic Gold Hilton Honors status and you can earn a free weekend night reward after making $15,000 purchases with your card in a calendar year. Priority Pass Select with 10 free visits is another card benefit. There is an annual fee of $95 to keep in mind, however.
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is a premium hotel rewards card that elevates points earnings even further.
With this card, you can earn:
- 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on eligible Hilton purchases
- 7x points per dollar on select travel purchases, including flights and car rentals
- 7x points per dollar at U.S. restaurants
- 3x points per dollar on all other purchases
This card also features some luxury benefits including complimentary Diamond Status in the Hilton Honors program, the chance to earn weekend night rewards and a $250 Hilton Resort credit each year.
But, you'll pay a bit more to have this card in your wallet. The annual fee for this one is $450.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The is a luxury travel rewards card that's not specific to any particular hotel brand.
With this card, you can earn:
- 5X Membership Rewards points on eligible prepaid travel on amextravel.com
- 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express travel (up to$500,000 on these purchases per calendar year)
- 5x points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com.
This card comes with benefits like a fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, a $200 airline fee credit each year, access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and access to the Global Lounge Collection, all of which increase its value.
You can also enjoy Hilton Honors Gold Status as a Platinum Card member with opportunities to upgrade to Diamond status. You'll pay a bit more for those features, however, since this card has a $695 annual fee (see Rates & Fees; terms apply).
What’s the Verdict?
The is suited toward travelers who want to earn points on hotel stays, prefer Hilton to other brands and don't want to pay an annual fee.
It's also good for everyday spenders who want to earn hotel points on dining, gas, groceries and shopping.
If you don't always book Hilton, then you may be better off with a more general travel rewards credit card. And if you'd prefer miles to points, then an airline rewards card could make more sense.
All in all, the American Express Hilton Honors Card could be a good fit for families or anyone else who wants to earn points toward free nights.
Just remember to keep the regular variable APR in mind since that can make carrying a balance more expensive.
See the rates & fees for the mentioned American Express cards: The Platinum Card from American Express (Rates & Fees; terms apply) and Hilton Honors Card from American Express (Rates & Fees; terms apply).