Hilton Honors American Express Card Review

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The Hilton Honors American Express credit card touts no annual fee and serious rewards for those who routinely lounge at Hilton Properties. This card packs a serious punch if you use it strategically.
  • Annual Fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.74% - 24.74% Variable APR
  • Recommended Credit Score:
    690 - 850
  • Sign-Up Bonus:
    80,000 Bonus Points
  • Intro APR:
    No Offer Currently Available

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Hilton’s well-known name and worldwide presence make it a highly desired chain for loyalty cards.

With almost 6,500 properties worldwide, the Hilton hotel chain has rooms for nearly every budget and every destination.

Travelers looking for a low fee card with excellent entry-level Hilton travel perks need to look no further than the Hilton Honors American Express card.

Hilton Honors American Express Card Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • No Annual Fee
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Good Rewards

Cons:

  • Lacks Luxury Travel Perks
  • Offers Limited Airline Transfers
  • Best Perks at Hilton Properties only

What Is the Hilton Honors American Express Card?

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is a credit card designed to offer rewards and automatic Silver status at Hilton properties for those wanting Hilton benefits with no annual fee.

How Does the Hilton Honors American Express Card Work?

People with a credit score of 690 or greater and looking for a card with Hilton benefits and no annual fee might find the Hilton Honors American Express card to be an attractive option.

The Hilton Honors AMEX comes with complimentary Hilton Silver Status just for owning the card.

Silver Status entitles cardholders to a 20% bonus on Hilton Honors Base Points and 5th nights free in Standard rooms when at least 5 nights are booked.

Members looking for more bang for their buck can spend $1000 on the card in the first 3 months on eligible purchases and get 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points.

Earning Rewards

Hilton Honors AMEX cardholders can expect the highest points per dollar spent on Hilton travel-related expenses.

Even though the points per dollar rewarded at grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants is a step down from the points rewarded at Hilton properties, they are still impressive for everyday spending.

Additionally, though the card comes with automatic Hilton Silver Status, cardholders who spend $20,000 on their card in the first year are automatically bumped up to Hilton Gold Status.

Hilton Honors rewards dollars spent at Hilton Hotels and Resorts with the highest echelon of rewards at 7x the points per dollar.

U.S. Supermarkets, Gas Stations, and U.S. Restaurants pay 5x the rewards for every dollar spent.

Lastly, the Hilton Honors credit card boasts a 3x point per dollar on all other purchases.

Redeeming Rewards

Redeeming points earned with the Hilton Honors AMEX is most lucrative at Hilton properties. The points will go the farthest at Hilton, but there are other redemption options.

Hilton Honors cardholders can choose to transfer points to Hilton’s airline partner programs or for car rental credits.

Cardholders may even redeem points for credit at Amazon or other retailers.

Hilton Honors American Express Card Benefits & Features

No Annual Fee

The Hilton Honors American Express card has no annual fee. It is a great option for anyone looking for Hilton rewards at no additional cost.

Lucrative & Generous Rewards

Even though the Hilton Honors AMEX card is designed for cardholders wanting Hilton loyalty, the Hilton Honors American Express card still has lots of perks that are worth taking a second look at.

The 7x points on Hilton purchases are a great way to get rewarded for money you were probably going to spend anyway.

The 5x the rewards points on U.S. grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurant purchases makes this card super competitive in the rewards for those particular spending categories.

Immediate Elite Status

Just for owning the Hilton Honors AMEX card, cardholders enjoy complimentary and automatic Silver Status at Hilton properties.

Silver status is the lowest status in the Hilton elite hierarchy, but it still comes with a 20% bonus on Hilton Honors Base Points and 5th nights free in a standard room on stays of 5 days or more.

Purchase Protection

Purchases made with the Hilton Honors AMEX are eligible for an additional one-year warranty on products carrying a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less.

Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance

Car rentals made with the Hilton Honors AMEX are eligible for insurance through AMEX. Cardholders must decline the damage waiver when signing for the car, but AMEX can cover Damage and Theft.

This insurance comes with a fair amount of fine print as countries and types of vehicles are excluded. However, if you grab your reading glasses and dig into them, it can be a great safety net on car rentals.

Pay It Plan It®

The Hilton Honors AMEX card has a Pay It Plan It® benefit that allows users to choose purchases of $100 or more and split payments up over a few months.

Cardholders can select the purchase from their dashboard, find a repayment plan that works for them with repayment costs, review and confirm their repayment and then pay the purchase balance over time.

The cost of the repayment just goes into the minimum payment due each month.

Fraud Protection

AMEX Hilton Honors card offers excellent fraud and dispute protection. If you spot a fraudulent or unfamiliar charge on your account, AMEX will work with you on the dispute, and they will do the leg work in many cases to get it resolved.

How Does the Hilton Honors American Express Card Compare to Other Travel Credit Cards?

The Hilton Honors American Express card has zero annual fees, so whether the rewards will make up for the cost is a moot point.

However, you are not getting the creme de la creme of rewards and without paying a little something for it.

The Hilton Honors AMEX is really designed to give users solid Hilton rewards and pretty meh rewards anywhere else.

Travel credit cards, like the AMEX Platinum, offer a much wider variety of benefits, but they have a steep annual fee too.

Users who are loyal to Hilton but don’t want to pay for extra perks are probably the only people who will find this card superior to other travel cards.

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

Right off the bat, it is clear that the Hilton Honors AMEX and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® are going to remunerate Hilton loyalty.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® has a $95 annual fee and comes with a considerable number of extras.

The Hilton Honors AMEX carries complimentary Silver Status, and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® comes with Gold Status.

Gold status comes with 80% points-earning bonuses, room upgrades, and continental breakfast, just to name a few things.

The Welcome Bonus on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® is 130,000 points for members who spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.

The Surpass card also comes with Priority Pass airport lounge access. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® is better for people who are prepared to spend a little to get max rewards.

#2. Capital One Venture Rewards

To start, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is not free like the Hilton Honors AMEX. The Capital One Venture Rewards card has a $95 fee, and its primary benefits are for those who want air travel flexibility, unlike the Hilton Honors AMEX, which rewards Hilton Loyalty.

Comparing the two is like apples and oranges. One is better for general travel perks, and one is better for Hilton perks.

The goal of the cardholder would really decide which of these two cards is a better fit. Hilton Honors AMEX and its $0 annual fee might be the top contender for those interested in getting Hilton perks at no extra cost.

Whereas air travel and hotel flexibility are better suited with the Capital One Venture Rewards card.

It’s not all or nothing, though, because the two cards could complement each other though for those looking to have both in their wallet.

#3. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card has a $95 annual fee, unlike the Hilton Honors AMEX card, which has none.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is probably one of the most popular travel cards on the market because the $95 annual fee carries a lot of bang for the buck.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card has generous bonus offers and 1-to-1-point transfers to hotel and airline loyalty programs.

They also offer 80,000 Bonus points in a welcome offer, but it is after cardholders spend $4,000 in the first three months, whereas Hilton Honors AMEX cardholders only need to spend $1000.

Again, loyalty to the Hilton brand and aversion to annual fees should be the determining factor for which card is best.

The Card is a better all-around travel card, but it can’t touch the benefits at Hilton offered by the Hilton Honors AMEX.

Hilton Honors AMEX Frequently Asked Questions

Is American Express Hilton Honors a Good Card? Is It Worth It?

The AMEX Hilton Honors card is a solid card for those who value Hilton’s benefits and don’t want an annual fee.

What Credit Score Is Needed for a Hilton Honors AMEX Card?

Good to Excellent credit is needed to score the Hilton Honors AMEX card. By the numbers, that looks like a score of 690 or better.

Can I Use American Express Points for Hilton Hotels?

Yes, absolutely. Though Hilton does not publicize their rewards calculations, American Express Points can be used at the Hilton properties.

Where Can I Use My Hilton Honors American Express?

You can use your Hilton Honors American Express anywhere American Express cards are accepted.

While you will get the most points when you use your card at Hilton properties, the Hilton Honors AMEX offers 5x the points at U.S. Grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurant purchases.

Purchases made outside the U.S. also have no foreign transaction fees, which is a major perk for those who like to travel abroad as foreign transaction fees can add up.

Bottom Line: Hilton Honors American Express Card

The Hilton Honors American Express card has no annual fee, so the benefits it carries are worth every penny as soon as you are approved for the card.

The Silver Status upgrades and points per dollar rewards make this card a solid secondary card for people committed to the Hilton brand.

It’s not the best travel card out there but holds its own for customers interested in Hilton benefits.

Meagan Drew
Meagan Drew
Meagan Drew is a personal finance writer with 7 years experience in wealth management. As a former Series 7 and 63 certified advisor, Meagan specializes in making financial topics relatable and consumable, no matter the reader’s experience level. Meagan is a veteran, military spouse, and mom of 4 currently living in Colorado Springs.