2021 Review: Hilton Honors American Express Card – Rewards and Amenities for No Annual Fee
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The Hilton Honors American Express Card doesn’t ask for an annual fee and features solid rewards and automatic enrollment into Hilton Honors Silver status. Silver status provides some helpful perks like a fifth night free when redeeming for five nights or more and a 20% bonus to Base points.
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The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, and Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.
Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
We give the Hilton Honors American Express Card 4 out of 5 Stars. It has no annual fee and offers plenty of rewards as well as added amenities for Hilton enthusiasts.
Why We Like It
- Earns 19X points per dollar at Hilton – 7X Bonus points from the card, and 12X from Silver status
- Rewards you for everyday spending — 5X Hilton Honors Bonus points at U.S. gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status
- 80,000 Bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months; 50,000 Bonus points for spending a total of $5,000 in the first 6 months
- No annual fee
- No foreign transaction fee
Why It Could Be Better
- Lackluster benefits
- Limited travel and shopping protections
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express aims to make your Hilton stays more comfortable and rewarding.
Most of the value comes from the automatic enrollment into Hilton Honors Silver status, which provides some added perks for Hilton patrons. Chief among them are a 20% bonus to Base points earned and your fifth night free when redeeming for five nights or more. And there’s no annual fee, which makes it all the sweeter.
You’ll also earn an impressive number of reward points at Hilton properties. But if Hilton isn’t your favorite hotel brand to stay at, check out our other top picks for hotel cards.
There are other cards in the Hilton family that might interest you as well. They do however carry annual fees, but also feature stronger rewards and better benefits:
|Hilton Honors American Express Card (this review)||$0
(Rates & Fees)
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Review)||$95, $0 first year
(Rates & Fees)
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||$450
(Rates & Fees)
|The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Review)||$95
(Rates & Fees)
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
- Status has its perks: You’ll automatically gain Silver status, which provides the fifth night free benefit, a 20% bonus to Base points, elite rollover nights, and two free bottles of water.
- Your key to rewards: You’ll get the most rewards when using your card at Hilton. Every dollar you spend will net you 19X points at most properties — 7X from the card, and 12X from your Silver status.
- Earn on everyday spending: While the majority of your points comes from purchases made with Hilton, you can still earn 5X points per dollar on eligible gas, groceries, and dining out.
- Hold on to your points: You’ll get your fifth night free when redeeming your points for five nights or more.
- Welcome to the club: The welcome bonus would propel you closer to a nice vacation, or the goal of having enough points to redeem for five nights.
You’ll get 19X Hilton Honors points at most Hilton brands. If your points are worth 0.5–1 cent, that would equate to a cash back equivalent of 9.5%–19%.
You’ll also earn 5X points on certain everyday spending, and at those same point values, that’ll net you a cash back equivalent of 2.5%–5%. And, you’ll be earning 3X Hilton Honors Bonus points on every other purchase for a cash back equivalent of 1.5%–3%.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
Those 19X points per dollar is partly due to your Silver status enrollment. You’ll receive 7X Bonus points from the card, and 12X points from your membership.
Most cards only earn 1X point per dollar outside their home turf, so the 3X points the Hilton Honors card offers is a nice step up.
How does your Silver status help you earn more points?
If you’re wondering where the extra 12X points come from, here’s a brief explanation. You’ll earn 10X Base points from your Hilton Honors membership at almost every Hilton hotel. And thanks to your 20% bonus from Silver status, you’ll get two extra Bonus points per dollar. That brings your Hilton Honors point total to 12X points per dollar.
However, there are a few hotel brands in the Hilton family that don’t offer 10X Base points per dollar. At Tru and Home2, you’ll only earn 5X Base points, meaning your 20% point bonus will only be worth one extra point. So at those two hotels, you’re looking at a total of 6X points from your membership.
After earning a heap of points, it’s time to find out what you can do with them. There are quite a few different options available. You can:
- Redeem them for reward nights at Hilton
- Use them for experiences like VIP concerts, dining, and sporting events
- Redeem them for Lyft rides
- Shop with them at either Amazon or Hilton’s online mall
- Use them for rental cars at Alamo, Enterprise, and National
- Transfer them to miles through Hilton’s airline or rail partners
- Gift them to other Hilton Honors members
- Pool them together with friends or family to put towards a trip
You’ll find the best value for your points when redeeming for hotel stays at Hilton hotels. Transferring them into miles would likely diminish their value, as each airline and rail partner has a poor transfer rate. The ratios you’ll currently get are 10:1 Hilton points to miles, 20:3, or 50:13.
Hilton’s Airline and Rail Partners
|Aeroflot Russian Airlines||EVA Air|
|Aeroplan (Air Canada)||Frontier Airlines|
|Air Asia BIG||Garuda Indonesia|
|Air France-KLM||Hainan Airlines|
|Air New Zealand||Hawaiian Airlines|
|American Airlines||JAL Japan Airlines|
|Ana – All Nippon Airways||LAN Airlines|
|Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)||Malaysia Airlines|
|Asiana Airlines||Philippine Airlines|
|British Airways||Qantas Airways|
|China Eastern Airlines||Qatar Airways|
|Delta Air Lines||SAS Scandinavian Airlines|
|Emirates||Saudi Arabian Airlines|
|Ethiopian Airlines||Singapore Airlines|
|Etihad Airways||Turkish Airlines|
How Do I Redeem My Points for Hilton Stays?
If you head over to Hilton’s website you’ll be able to search for hotels. Once you’ve found where you’d like to go, you can choose to use your Hilton points for reward nights instead of cash.
Hilton doesn’t publish a point table for its properties. Instead, you can use its points explorer tool to indicate how many points you’re working with, and then choose a location you’d like to stay at.
Once you plug in the location you want, it’ll give you a selection of Hilton brand hotels to choose from. You’ll see the minimum and maximum point requirements per night and can check for room availability.
Only certain rooms are available to be booked with points, and each room may have a different point requirement.
We ran through a few examples of a weekend stay to find out what kind of value you might expect from your points:
|Location||Cash (per night, includes taxes & fees)||Point cost (per night)||Point Value|
|Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe, AZ||$213.60||22,000||0.97 cents|
|Hilton Denver City Center||$186.73||35,000||0.53 cents|
|H Hotel Los Angeles, Curio Collection by Hilton||$195.79||46,000||0.43 cents|
|Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing||$211.32||49,000||0.43 cents|
|Waldorf Astoria Chicago||$505.50||93,000||0.54 cents|
From the examples above, it looks like you might find the best value for your points at a lower point cost. Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe will provide a cash back equivalent of about 18.4%, when you’re earning 19X points per dollar.
However, at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, which is a higher-end hotel and thus requires a larger sum of points to book, you’re looking at a cash back equivalent of about 10.3%. And while that might be less than what the lower point requirements worked out to, it’s still a solid return on your spending.
Because the point requirements are calculated per room rather than per hotel, the rates are pretty flexible. That means you might be able to search for a different room at the same hotel if you don’t get the point value you’d like right off the bat.
The greatest value will come from the Silver status enrollment. The other benefits are rather sparse, just a few generic travel protections and limited shopping protections. But that’s to be expected for a hotel travel card with no annual fee.
- Automatic Hilton Honors Silver status: You’ll get auto-enrolled into the Hilton Honors Silver status, which provides a 20% bonus to Base points, your fifth night free when redeeming points for five nights or more, elite rollover nights, and two free bottles of water.
- Fast track to Gold status: If you spend $20,000 with your card in a calendar year, you’ll be granted Hilton Honors Gold status. That comes with some extra benefits, like an 80% bonus to Base points, room upgrades when they’re available, and free continental breakfast.
- Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you book a hotel through Amex Travel and find the same hotel room elsewhere for less, Amex will match that price. Applies to online rates only.
- ShopRunner membership: You can enroll in the ShopRunner program, which provides free two-day shipping and returns from some online retailers.
- Amex Offers: Earn more points at a changing selection of merchants.
- Entertainment Access: Get access to presale tickets and cardmember-only events. These could be anything from plays to concerts.
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: You’re covered against damage or theft, as long as you decline the rental company’s coverage offer and charge the full amount to your card.
- Global Assist Hotline: If you find yourself more than 100 miles from home and in need of some assistance, you can call the Global Assist Hotline. They can help with a myriad of issues, including lost passports, customs information, missing luggage, translation assistance, and emergency legal and medical referrals.
- Purchase Protection: Your new purchases are covered from damage and theft for 120 days, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
- Extended Warranty: If you’ve got an eligible warranty for three years or less, you’ll get an additional year from the card.
- Authorized users: You can request up to 13 additional cards for authorized users on your account.
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
The Terms & Fees
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|15.74% - 24.74% Variable||None||25.24% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|None||Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|29.99% Variable||Up to $40||Up to $40|
The Bottom Line
The Hilton Honors American Express Card isn’t a bad option for a no annual fee hotel credit card. But for more frequent travelers, you could likely do better.
For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Review). It offers the chance to earn a free annual night and boosts your status to Gold level, which could prove much more useful than Silver.
How Do I Apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Card?
Simply click the link below. You’ll be directed to the credit card issuer’s site where you can securely input the required information. You should usually hear back almost instantly about whether you’ve been approved or not for a new card.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Hilton Honors American Express Card?
The Hilton Honors American Express Card is recommended for people with good credit.
If your credit scores fall within the ranges of 670–739 for FICO or 700–749 for VantageScore, you’re considered to have good credit.
But don’t count yourself out if your credit scores don’t look like that. Sometimes credit card issuers will still approve you even if you’re not at the recommended level. Other factors, such as income and source of income, can factor into the issuer’s decision.
However, the opposite could hold true even if you are in those ranges or above. Not everyone makes the cut — in the end, it’s all up to the credit card issuer.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must be 18 to apply (19 in Alabama/Nebraska, 21 in Puerto Rico)
- Personal identifying information: Birth date, Social Security number
- Address and contact information: Email, phone number, address, type of residence
- Financial information: Total annual income, source of income
- Hilton Honors membership number, if available
Frequently Asked Questions
What are my Hilton Honors points worth?
We found that your Hilton Honors points are worth about 0.5–1 cent. But the point requirement for room redemption fluctuates quite a bit, so you might be able to find a slightly higher point value if you try different rooms.
Can I get free reward nights with this card?
While you won’t get a free reward night every year, you will receive a fifth night free when redeeming points for five nights or more thanks to the automatic Silver status enrollment. Take a look at the full list of benefits that comes with your card.
Alternatives to the Hilton Honors American Express Card
American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.
The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
The information related to IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
Do you have the Hilton Honors American Express Card? Have your Hilton stays been more rewarding and comfortable thanks to Silver status? Let us know in the comments!Read more Best Hotel Credit Cards
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.
Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
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