AMEX Hilton Honors Card
Get a review of the Hilton Credit Card, calculate how many Hilton Honors Points you can earn based on spend, and compare results against top cards.
The Hilton Honors Credit Card is the entry credit card for the Hilton Honors Program. It's a no annual fee, basic card that has a lot of earning potential. The Hilton Honors Credit Card is one of the best hotel credit cards due to the number of bonus categories, the earning rate on hotel stays, and the perks and benefits it offers.
The Hilton Honors Credit Card features four bonus categories that earn additional Hilton Honors Points per $1 spent. The categories consist of Hilton properties, restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations.
7x Hilton Properties
The Hilton Honors Credit Card earns 7 Hilton Honors Points per $1 spent on stays at Hilton. Purchases must be made directly with a property within the Hilton portfolio. Third party reservations for Hilton stays, banquets, events, and vacation packages will not qualify.
Hilton Honors Points are worth an easy 0.6 cents each meaning this is a return of about 4.2% for Hilton stays. On top of that, this card grants Hilton Silver Status so you'll earn an additional 12x points for stays at Hilton. So you're looking at a total gain of 19 Hilton Honors Points per $1 spent which is a total return of 11.4%. That's an excellent return. The only cards that can beat this return is the other Hilton Honor Cards.
5x U.S. Restaurant/Dining
Eating out at fast food or fine dining establishments in the U.S. will earn you 5 Hilton Honors Points per $1 spent when you use the Hilton Honors Credit Card. This Hilton point bonus will only apply to restaurants that are in the United States. U.S. owned restaurants located outside of the U.S. (e.g. Hard Rock Amsterdam) will not earn additional points.
Earning 5x Hilton Honors Points on restaurants is a solid return. This is the lowest earning rate on restaurant purchases out of the Hilton cards, but the Hilton Honors credit card has no annual fee so you're always looking at a positive return. When it comes to other hotels, most of the popular programs also offer a bonus on dining. Of those popular programs, similar returns are found on both the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card and Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Card with the Marriott Bonvoy Program and the World of Hyatt credit card with the World of Hyatt Program. The two Marriott Cards offer 4x Marriott Bonvoy Points while the Hyatt Card offers 2x Hyatt Points. These returns are just shy of 3% which is what the return on the Hilton Honors card provide for this category.
5x U.S. Supermarket
Using the Hilton Honors Credit Card at U.S. supermarkets will earn you 5 Hilton Honors Points per $1 spent. The grocery store must be located in the U.S. and it's main purpose must be the selling of a wide variety of food and household products. This includes, but not limited to, stores such as Kroger, Giant Eagle, Vons, and Winn-Dixie. Some online supermarkets are also included such as FreshDirect. Superstores, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs are not considered to be supermarkets and will not earn the 5x bonus points. This includes stores such as Amazon, Walmart, and BJ's. There are several Amazon Credit Cards to choose from as well a Walmart Mastercard as well.
Again, not a bad earning rate for anyone looking to build Hilton Honors Points. The other Hilton Cards earn a few additional point per dollar, but it will still come down to how much you spend and how often you stay at Hilton Hotels. Hilton is the most generous when it comes to earning points on supermarkets as other hotel cards either don't offer the bonus category on their co-branded cards or the return is really low and not worth it.
5x U.S. Gas Stations
The Hilton Honors Credit Card will earn 5 Hilton Honors Points per $1 spent at U.S. gas stations. American Express considers a gas station to be an establishment that, of course, specializes in gas. This will be places such as Hess, Shell, Mobil, and Exxon. Gas stations that are part of supermarkets or warehouse clubs, such as GetGo or Walmart gas station, will not be eligible.
Besides the higher level Hilton credit cards, the only other hotel card that generates a similar return on gas station purchases is both the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card and Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business Card with the Marriott Bonvoy Program earning 4x Marriott Bonvoy Points per $1 spent.
All purchases on the Hilton Honors credit card that does not fall in the bonus categories above will earn 3 Hilton Honors Points per $1 spent. That's about a return of 1.8% so while you will get a slightly better return off of cards such as the Citi Double Cash (2% cash back on all purchases), this would not be a bad return if you're looking to build Hilton Honors Points.
Perks and Benefits
Hilton Honors Silver
Hilton Honors cardholders will receive complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status. This status is only available to the Basic Card Member. Canceling the Hilton Honors Credit Card will cancel your status if it has been obtained by having the card. Hilton Honors Silver is usually earned after 4 stays or 10 nights at a Hilton Property during the year. It comes with the ability to earn 12x additional Hilton Honors Points (on top of what this card offers if used for Hilton), two complimentary bottles of water, access to the 5th Night Free Perk, Elite Rollover Nights, and more.
Spend To Hilton Gold Status
Spending $20,000+ on the Hilton Honors Credit Card during a calendar year (January 1 to December 31) will upgrade you to Hilton Gold status for the remainder of the year and the subsequent year. Gold is usually obtained after 20 stays, 40 nights, or earning 75,000 Hilton Honor Base Points within a calendar year. Hilton Gold comes with perks such as an additional 18 Hilton Honors Points per dollar, complimentary room upgrades, and continental breakfast. It also features all the perks of Hilton Honors Silver and lower.
Standard AMEX Benefits
The Hilton Honors Credit Card also features the standard American Express Credit Card perks such as, but not limited to, AMEX Offers, access to AMEX presale tickets, return protection, roadside assistance, complimentary ShopRunner membership, extended warranty, purchase protection, and travel accident insurance.
Sign Up Bonus
The standard Hilton Honors Credit Card sign up bonus sits around 50,000 Hilton Honors Points. This is generally worth about $300. Hilton Hotels have a very wide range of point costs and Hilton does not have a hotel redemption chart. 50,000 Hilton Honors Points can get you at 2 nights in a select few hotels, but you mostly fall short of a few points on obtaining a 2nd night at most standard hotels. You can sometimes get a higher bonus if you apply for the card using incognito/private browsing. I've been able to get 95,000 sign up bonuses to pop up occasionally.
Credit Card Fees
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The Hilton Honors Card has an annual fee of $0. For the return and benefits this card offers, this is a great deal!
Authorized User Fee
The Hilton Honors Card does not charge a fee for adding authorized users. I recommend adding additional users in order to build your Hilton Honors Points faster.
Foreign Transaction Fee
The foreign transaction fee for the Hilton Honors Card is 0% meaning you can use this card overseas without worrying about additional fees.
You can use this rewards calculator to calculate how many points, miles, or cash back you can earn based on your spend per category. This calculator will also give you the dollar value of the card based on rewards earned and how much each benefit is worth to you minus the fees. You can click the Compare A Card button to compare this card against another card in the same calculator.
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