Hilton Honors American Express Card Review: Hotel Perks with No Annual Fee

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

If you're a frequent Hilton guest, you may want to consider adding a Hilton-branded credit card to your wallet.

These cards not only heavily reward you for Hilton resort and hotel bookings but also offer an impressive rewards rate for you to make the most of your spending across all other categories.

In other words, even if you don’t have any upcoming trips or hotel stays planned, you can still benefit a lot from a hotel credit card such as the Hilton Honors American Express Card. 

Quick Facts: Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Rewards rate: 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points on eligible Hilton hotels and resorts purchases; 5x points at U.S. gas stations, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. restaurants; 3x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $2,000 in the first 6 months (offer ends 7/31/2024)
  • Annual fee: $0 (rates and fees)

. . .

Overview of the Hilton Honors American Express Card

With the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you can earn an impressive 7 points per dollar on purchases at eligible Hilton hotels and resorts. Additionally, you can earn up to 5 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations, as well as a minimum of 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. 

These high rewards rates are impressive, considering you don’t have to pay an annual fee with this credit card, and you can earn substantial rewards outside of Hilton spending.

That being said, some of the best perks of this card relate to Hilton hotel stays — like automatically qualifying for being a Hilton Honors Silver member. Silver status gives you a 20% bonus on the Base Points you earn with each stay, which will help you qualify for free nights faster.

You will receive your fifth night free when you book a standard room stay with 100% points.

Pros

  • High reward rates on multiple categories
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Hotel rewards limited to Hilton properties
  • No free anniversary night

Get started with the Hilton Honors American Express Card.

Welcome Offer 

The trick to really benefiting from a welcome bonus is not to force yourself to overspend to qualify for it.

Luckily, the Hilton Honors American Express Card has a more accessible welcome offer than many other credit cards. If you spend just $2,000 in the first six months of being a cardholder, you can earn 70,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward (offer ends July 31, 2024).

Earning Rewards

You have a few options for how you can earn rewards with the Hilton Honors American Express Card. The fastest way to earn rewards is to book eligible hotel and resort stays in the Hilton portfolio. Hilton owns properties worldwide, so you should be able to book with this hotel chain for many of your upcoming trips. Doing so will earn you 7 points per dollar. 

One of the main advantages of this card is that you still have opportunities to earn high rewards even when you aren’t booking eligible hotel stays. You can earn 5x points on dining, takeout, and delivery in the U.S. You can also earn 5x points on groceries from U.S. supermarkets if you prefer to cook at home.

Have a long commute or a road trip planned? Don’t sweat it — you’ll earn 5x points on purchases at U.S. gas stations. For all other eligible purchases, you earn 3x points, which is a generous rate for a hotel credit card to offer when you aren’t spending with them. 

Redeeming Rewards

When it comes to redeeming your rewards (which is the whole point of earning them), you can, of course, redeem them for Hilton bookings.

You will also have the option to redeem your rewards for purchases on Amazon.com and through rental car bookings or partner airlines (among other options).

This is a surprisingly flexible redemption system for a hotel credit card. 

Get started with the Hilton Honors American Express Card.

Perks and Benefits

Alongside the chance to earn rewards when you spend, the Hilton Honors American Express Card comes with some great perks and benefits, such as: 

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Silver Status
  • Free American Express Experiences content and virtual experiences
  • Send money and split purchases with any Venmo or PayPal user from the Amex App using Send & Split®
  • Exclusive Amex Offers with select brands
  • Free extended warranty on eligible purchases *
  • Purchase protection for covered purchases*
  • Access to Global Assist® Hotline when traveling more than 100 miles from home**
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance when you book a rental car***

Many of these perks are equally as useful at home as they are when you're traveling, which is a nice offering from a card that's focused primarily on hotel stays.

Who Should Get the Hilton Honors American Express Card?

Typically, with hotel-affiliated credit cards, you need to book often to benefit from the card. However, the high rewards rates for non-hotel spending categories make the Hilton Honors Amex a solid card option for anyone who finds themself booking Hilton hotel stays semi-regularly.

Plus, because there is no annual fee, as long as you make all your payments on time, it won't cost you anything to have this credit card in your wallet. 

With that in mind, the more often you choose Hilton over another hotel chain, the more you will benefit. 

Get started with the Hilton Honors American Express Card.

Who Shouldn’t Get the Hilton Honors American Express Card?

It may be obvious, but you shouldn't get the Hilton Honors Amex if you don’t see yourself staying at Hilton properties often — or at all. Maybe you prefer a more boutique hotel experience, enjoy couchsurfing with friends, or tend to book Airbnb rentals. 

If you aren’t loyal to Hilton hotels, you may find that a credit card that rewards you for booking with your favorite airline or a different hotel chain better suits your travel needs.

If you don’t travel often, a cashback credit card that focuses on rewarding daily spending like groceries and gas may be even more useful than a hotel or airline credit card. 

Alternatives to the Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card vs. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Credit Card

If you like the sound of the Hilton Honors Amex but want to earn even more points, you may want to look into the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. While this card does come with a $150 annual fee (rates and fees), you will earn more rewards and have access to better perks. 

You can earn an impressive 12x points on Hilton hotel bookings, but otherwise, your point earnings with both cards are similar. This means you really do need to book Hilton hotel stays to make the annual fee worthwhile. You’ll earn 6x points (instead of 5x) at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations — so you get a bit of a boost there too. Plus 4x points on U.S. online retail purchases, as well as the same 3x points on other eligible spending.

Because you can redeem rewards for Amazon purchases or with partner airlines (among other options), you don’t have to stress about exclusively booking hotel stays with Hilton. If you need to book a different hotel on a dream trip, you can simply use the rewards you earned elsewhere. How about upgrading your airline ticket to first class?

With the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass, you also jump up a level from Silver to Gold status, which gives you an 80% bonus on the Base Points you earn with each stay.

Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

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

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card

To really take things up a notch, you could spend more on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. It comes with a very steep $550 annual fee, so you'll want to make sure you earn enough rewards and perks to justify the cost — but if you're a loyal Hilton customer, this card may be worth it.

To start, you earn 14x points on eligible bookings at participating Hilton hotels or resorts, 7x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com, on select car rentals as well as at U.S. restaurants, and 3x points on all other purchases. You’ll also have the opportunity to earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first six months.

When it comes to status, you automatically qualify for Diamond status, which grants you a 100% bonus on Base Points you earn on every stay. You also earn a $400 resort credit from eligible purchases made with your card at participating Hilton Resorts.

You can also earn an annual free night reward every year after you renew your card to help cancel out the cost of the annual fee.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Erika.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Hilton Honors American Express Card vs. Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card

Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card

If you enjoy staying at hotels, but don’t have a preference over which chain you stay at, you may want to choose a credit card with a more inclusive rewards system.

With the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa® Credit Card, you earn $11 in OneKeyCash every time you spend $500 on Hotels.com. You can use OneKeyCash with Hotels.com, Expedia, and Vrbo to book select hotels, car rentals, activities, and more.

So, you could choose to stay at a Hilton property or any type of property you wish, that you can book through those platforms.

You won’t have to pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees with either the Hilton Honors American Express Card or the Hotels.com Rewards Visa, so you can focus on which credit card will offer you the best chance to earn the rewards and perks that matter to you. 

Final Thoughts

If you stay at Hilton properties frequently, the Hilton Honors American Express Card could earn you a lot of rewards, with 7 points per dollar on eligible hotel and resort stays. Add to that a generous welcome offer, automatic Hilton Honors Silver Status, and the ability to earn 5x rewards on restaurants and groceries, and you could really start racking up the rewards quickly.

If you're not loyal to the Hilton brand, you may prefer a different hotel-branded card or even a general travel credit card. Consider how many Hilton stays you're planning to decide if it's worth it for you — although, with no annual fee, there's no real risk to applying for this card (assuming you pay off your balance each month, of course).


Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

*

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

**You can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Card Members are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.

***Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.