The Hilton Honors American Express can be a great card for brand loyalists. The $0 annual fee and the ability to easily earn and redeem rewards for Hilton visits combine to make this card a great choice for those who regularly visit Hilton properties. With over 5,900 hotels and resorts in 114 countries and territories, there is no shortage of locations at which to use your rewards points. 

But while this card can offer significant value to the right users, it might not be the best choice if you don’t want to be locked into the Hilton brand. If that’s the case, it’s worth considering alternative hotel rewards cards. 

Here’s what you need to know about the Hilton Honors American Express card.

Hilton Honors American Express Highlights

Annual Fee: $0

APR: 15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Sign-Up Bonus: 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points

Benefits:

  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Global Assist hotline
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status
  • Ability to upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Complimentary Shoprunner membership
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Bonus categories for spending at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations

Minimum Payment: The greater of $35 or 1% of the full balance, plus the current statement’s interest charges, plus late fees.

Other Fees:

  • 3% for balance transfers with a $5 minimum
  • 5% for cash advances with a $10 minimum
  • Up to $39 for late payments
  • Up to $39 for returned payments

Why Apply for the Hilton Honors American Express

There are several reasons the Hilton Honors American Express is appealing:

Automatic Hilton Honors Silver status: You’ll automatically receive Silver status which includes benefits such as late checkout, a fifth night free when you book a stay of a minimum of five nights using points, complimentary internet access and a 20% bonus on base points earned.

You don’t pay an annual fee: With some cards, you have to pay close attention to the rewards you’re earning to be sure they’re worth what you’re paying for that card. But with a $0 annual fee, that’s not a concern for the Hilton Honors American Express. In other words, this doesn’t have to be your everyday card – you don’t have to use it regularly to get value out of it.

High earnings potential: Unlike other co-branded credit cards, this one offers high earnings on eligible Hilton purchases and also rewards purchases at  domestic gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants.

Hilton Honors American Express: Drawbacks and Downsides

On the other hand, there are a few downsides to this card you should consider before applying for it.

Points are more valuable when redeemed for Hilton stays: The points you earn are worth the most when you redeem them for free nights at Hilton properties. You can redeem the points for other types of rewards, but their value is lower, so those rewards are less lucrative. 

Less perks compared to co-branded cards: Other hotel credit cards offer free nights for cardmember anniversaries – the Hilton Honors American Express does not. If these kinds of benefits are important to you, you’ll want to look at alternatives.

Hilton Honors American Express Alternatives

Platinum Card from American Express: The Platinum Card isn’t cheap  – it has a $550 annual fee, to be exact. With the fee comes benefits, though: You’ll be able to take advantage of many premium perks, including complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, up to $500 in annual credits and complimentary access to Priority Pass and Amex Centurion lounges.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: The $95 annual fee is mid-tier, and the card offers  flexible redemption options and multiple transfer partners, meaning you can use points towards hotels and flights with a variety of carriers.

Hilton Honors American Express FAQs

Can you have both Amex Hilton cards?

Cardholders are typically limited to five Amex credit cards at one time, both personal and business. That means you can technically have both American Express Hilton cards as long as you’re within the five card limit. Keep in mind that the limit may not include charge cards — the Business Platinum Card from American Express, The Platinum Card from American Express, American Express Business Gold Card and the American Express Gold Card.

What credit score do I need for a Hilton HHonors credit card?

You’ll most likely a credit score in the good to excellent range to qualify for the Hilton Honors credit card. We’re talking a minimum score of 680.

What is the best Hilton Honors credit card?

The best Hilton Honors credit card depends on how often you plan on staying at one of their properties and what types of perks you’re looking for. The Hilton Honors Amex card is probably your best bet if you’re an occasional patron and want complementary Honors status without paying an annual fee. 

The other options — Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card and the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express — are better for those looking for other benefits such as Priority Pass access and free anniversary stays. These cards are also good for people who stay at Hilton properties more often, but both cards also come with annual fees, so check to see which will offer you the most value based on your spending habits.

How much is 50,000 Hilton points worth?

Most rewards enthusiasts can agree that each Hilton point is worth at least 0.5 cents. That means 50,000 points can be worth $250. However, the exact value you can get from your points will depend on when and which property you’re staying at, and how you redeem your points, if not on Hilton stays.

What credit cards give Hilton Gold status?

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card and the Platinum card offer automatic Gold status.

How many Hilton points does it take for a free night?

You may be able to stay at a Hilton property for as low as 5,000 points per night. However, this amount can differ depending on the hotel, room and when you want to book your stay.

Can I upgrade my Hilton Honors credit card?

The short answer is yes, you can upgrade your Hilton Honors credit card. Upgrades are often targeted offers not available to the public, so you may need to log into your account to see if you’ve been sent an offer. Sometimes these offers are also sent in the mail, so scan your junk mail before you toss it in the trash. 

What qualifies as a stay for Hilton Honors?

To be clear, a stay is different than a night at a Hilton property. A stay is the total number of consecutive nights you’ve spent at the hotel, even if you check out and check back in. 

Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Hilton Honors American Express?

The Hilton Honors American Express card is a great choice for those who want to earn rewards toward Hilton stays without paying an annual fee. It can also be used as an everyday card, offering decent rewards earnings for common expenditures. Still, it doesn’t offer the best Hilton perks, nor does it offer flexible redemption options. These can be deal breakers for those who want to use points towards other types of redemptions.

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