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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is a good option for small business owners who often stay at Hilton hotels and resorts. It provides a way to earn a lot of Hilton Honors points, much more than you would get for just being a regular Hilton member.
You’ll get 12X points per dollar at Hilton from this card, along with at least 18X more points per dollar because this card gives you automatic Hilton Gold status. That comes with a point bonus plus other nice perks, like a discounted rate on rooms, upgrades when available, and complimentary services.
There are also quite a few other business-related bonus reward categories where you’ll earn 6X points per dollar, giving you even more point-earning opportunities. And you can get a total of 125,000 bonus points through the introductory offer by making $3,000 in eligible purchases during the first three months.
Besides Gold status, cardholders get a free weekend night stay for spending $15,000 in a given year, along with a second free night for spending $60,000 in a given year. There are more benefits too, like 10 free passes to Priority Pass Select airport lounges per year. Just note that these passes can’t be used for non-lounge Priority Pass experiences — only for lounge access.
If you spend around $1,000 or more at Hilton properties per year, this card might be a good fit for your spending habits. Keep reading to learn all about the Hilton Honors Business Card, and see if it’s the right option to earn rewards and help manage cash flow for your business.
We give the Hilton Honors Amex Business Card 5 out of 5 Stars because it can provide a great value for the $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees).
This is a very rewarding card, and it’s the only business card that’s co-branded with Hilton. But there are also some consumer card options, and cards made for other hotels. You can check out some of those below.
Depending on how you earn and redeem your points, you can earn the equivalent of about 12–30% cash back or more in certain situations. Keep reading to find out how.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
Business rewards cards tend to have more bonus categories than average, but this card has about as many as we’ve ever seen — 7 in total. That gives you more opportunities to use this card, and if your business spends a lot in those categories you’ll wind up with a whole lot of Hilton Honors points.
You’ll earn points at very high rates with this card, but Hilton Honors points tend to be worth a bit less than points in other reward programs. So it tends to balance out, although this is still a very rewarding card overall.
Take note that you’ll be earning both Bonus Points and Base Points when making Hilton purchases. Bonus Points are awarded by using this card. And Base Points are also awarded because this card comes with automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, which provides 18X Base Points per dollar (10 points for being a member, and an 80% bonus for Gold status).
Bonus Points and Base Points are valued the same by Hilton when you redeem them, so they’re basically equivalent. That means you’ll be earning a total of 30X points per dollar with this card (12X points from the card and 18X points for Hilton Honors Gold status). If that sounds like a lot, you’re right!
But you can potentially get even more. If you reach Diamond status you’ll get a 100% point bonus instead, for a total of 20X Base Points earned per dollar at Hilton. That would mean 32X points per dollar spent at Hilton. What would you do with that many points?
You’ll have several ways to redeem your Hilton Honors points. The value you get for them will vary depending on how, when, and where you redeem them.
The redemption options are:
The best methods involve using them for stays at Hilton properties, because you’ll get the highest value per point. We’ll go over a couple examples of how you can use your points to get free night stays at Hilton properties with this card.
Generally, you’ll get a better value for your points when you redeem them at lower-category properties. But this isn’t always the case, because the value of your points will vary based on when and where you book your stay, along with other factors like current events.
The other redemption options will usually provide a lesser value, and they will vary quite a bit depending on the particular deal. We recommend avoiding them because you can get a better deal with free night stays, or by getting your 5th night free.
However, you can also share points with friends and family. This could let you gather a ton of points to use for a special trip or vacation.
Another option is point transfers to a partner travel program. The transfer rate (one point for one mile, one point for two miles, etc.) will vary depending on the particular deal, time of year, and other factors.
There are four travel loyalty program you can transfer to, one rail miles program and three airline miles programs:
|Amtrak||Virgin Atlantic||Hawaiian Airlines||Club Premier|
We don’t recommend using this method unless you happen to get a great transfer deal. There’s no guarantee that you will, and in most cases you’ll be better off with one of the following redemption methods.
Let’s go over some examples of the two most valuable redemption options to see how they’d work: a free night’s stay, and a 5th night free reward.
Imagine you’re taking a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, for a quick business meeting and to try their famous goetta sausage.
You’ll stay for one night at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, in a king-size room. This room would normally cost $219, or you could get it for 40,000 Hilton Honors points.
How much would you need to spend with the Hilton Honors Business card to earn enough points for that room?
Let’s say you earn your points at the best rate, of 30X points per dollar (12X points from the card and 18X points for Hilton Honors Gold status). At that rate you’d need to spend $1,334 to earn the 40,000 points. If you earn at a lower rate, you’ll need to spend accordingly more.
You’ll be able to redeem those points for the room, and they’ll cover all taxes and fees.
In this particular case you spend $1,334 to get enough points for a room valued at $219. That means you’re getting the equivalent of 16.42% cash back, an fairly good value.
Your points were worth about 0.55 cents each in this example. And the goetta was great.
Another valuable redemption option is to get your 5th night free on reward stays of five nights or more. You must only use points for the booking to be eligible. Up to four free nights are available on stays of 20 consecutive nights.
You need enough points to book all five nights in the first place. After booking, you’ll get a discounted price and you won’t end up actually using all of those points.
For this example, let’s travel to Washington, D.C., for about a week. We’ll imagine that we’re staying at the Capital Hilton near the White House, which should be fun because it looks very nice.
The price per night is $319, so five days would cost $1,595 in total. You could also get the room for 60,000 points per night, which would be 300,000 for the entire five-night stay.
If you earn at the best rate, of 30X points per dollar (12X points from the card and 18X points for Hilton Honors Gold status), you would get those points by spending $10,000. You can then book the five nights and get your 5th night free discount, meaning a 60,000-point reduction in the cost. That leaves you spending only 240,000 points for the entire stay.
So $10,000 in spending will get you enough points for this five-night stay, valued at $1,595. That’s a cash back equivalent of 15.95%.
However, you got those 60,000 points back too, to use another time. If we value those at 0.55 cents each, like we saw in the first example, that would make them worth $330.
So you actually get a total value of $1,925 (the price of the stay plus the points you save). That comes to a cash back equivalent of 19.25%, even better than we saw in the first example.
You can offset the $95 annual fee of this card with as little as $494 in spending . That’s very cheap for a card like this, and it goes to show how rewarding the rewards program is.
We’ll explain how we got that number. If you earn at the Gold Status rate and redeem for your 5th night free, you could get the same cash back equivalent we got in our example: 19.25%.
If you’re getting a return of 19.25%, it only takes $494 in spending to get a value of $95. That would offset the annual fee for a year .
Maybe you don’t want to redeem for a five-night stay. If you just redeem for a free night, getting the 16.42% cash back equivalent we saw for that example above, it would take $579 in spending to offset the annual fee.
In the free night stay example above, you could see that single redemption as offsetting the annual fee for over two years ($219 ÷ $95 = 2.3). And in the fifth night free example, that could be seen as offsetting the annual fee for almost 17 years! Keep in mind that these are just examples, although they’re based on real data. There are better deals than that available, meaning you could potentially offset the annual fee for less.
Any points you earn after you offset the annual fee will be all profit, assuming you’re not accruing interest. And this doesn’t even take into account any of the perks that come with this card, like the Priority Pass Select access and Hilton Honors Gold status.
You’ll get a free weekend night after spending $15,000 on purchases in any calendar year. A redeemable code will be emailed to you after meeting the threshold.
The code is redeemable for one weekend standard accommodation, with double occupancy. Weekend nights refer to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. It can be combined with other offers, or added to existing stays.
To redeem the code, you must call 1-800-446-6677 and mention it when booking. The code will expire one year after it’s issued.
This reward can be redeemed anywhere, except for certain properties that are excluded.
You’ll be able to get a second free weekend night by spending a total of $60,000 on purchases in a given year.
All of the details above for the first annual weekend night reward apply to this second reward as well.
Cardholders get Hilton Honors Gold status, which is two tiers above the basic Member status. It comes with some nice benefits, like:
Cardholders will be awarded with Hilton Honors Diamond status if purchases for a given year reach $40,000. Diamond status comes with better benefits than Gold, including a 100% bonus on Base Points and a 48-hour room guarantee.
Cardholders get access to over 600 Priority Pass airport lounges around the world. 10 free lounge visits are provided per year; non-lounge experiences are excluded. After that, the entry fee will be $27 per person.
You’ll need to manually enroll in this benefit, and you’ll receive your Priority Pass Select card within 10-14 business days.
You can get up to 99 employee cards, and they will all be free. Individual spending limits can be set for the cards. Take note that there are certain purchases where the spending limit won’t apply, like restaurant tips and extended hotel stays.
The primary cardholder is responsible for all charges made to the account. The card activity will not affect the credit of employees using copies of the card.
All American Express business credit cards will report your card activity to the credit bureaus in the same way. They let you improve your business credit, although there are also consequences for irresponsible behavior.
As long as your account is in positive standing, the activity will be reported to Small Business Finance Exchange. This is a large and commonly-used business credit reporting bureau.
But if your account enters a negative status, such as having unpaid collections or unpaid charge-offs, the activity will be reported to other bureaus. An account with a negative status will be reported to:
So your positive activity will be reported to one business credit bureau. But your negative activity will be reported to a different business credit bureau, plus the typical consumer credit reporting agencies.
This means you can use the the Hilton Honors Business card to improve your business credit, but not your personal credit. However, you can still hurt your personal credit with it.
Free membership with ShopRunner, which provides free two-day shipping and returns from some online retailers. Cardholders must enroll in this benefit.
Some of the retailers include:
|American Eagle||Calvin Klein||Lord & Taylor||Peet’s Coffee||Saks Fifth Avenue||Tommy Hilfiger|
You’ll have access to discounts at a wide variety of merchants — currently there are about 80 different offers available, and the selection changes now and then.
You just need to head to the Amex Offers program and click ‘Add to Card’ for the deals you want. Then, just use your card as you normally would to make a purchase with that merchant. Your savings will appear as a statement credit later on, reducing your account balance. You may or may not earn additional rewards at the regular rate — this will depend on the particular offer.
Many of the deals can be quite valuable, saving you from $5 up through more than $100 in some cases. For most of them, you’ll need to spend a certain amount to get a certain discount. Some of the current offers include:
|Merchant||Need to Spend||Cash Back||Maximum Savings|
|Hilton brands in Hawaii||$1,000||$200||20%|
|High Fashion Home||$400||$80||20%|
|Life Extension Vitamins and Supplements||$125||$25||20%|
|Studio Movie Grill||$50||$10||20%|
There are many fantastic deals waiting to be had here, though many other credit card issuers will offer a similar service. For example, Chase provides the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, Bank of America has its BankAmeriDeals offers, and Citi has the EasyDeals service. You’ll find a range of discounts in all of them.
Occasionally you’ll be given the opportunity to save 10% on your cable, satellite TV, and/or cell phone bills. Just find the offer and click ‘Add to Card,’ and then use your card to pay for the utility as normal.
This benefit, also called Membership Experiences, provides pre-sale tickets to a variety of sports, music, and cultural events, as well as access to certain exclusive experiences. You’ll be able to search by interest, artist, event, or venue.
When this review was written, one available offer was preferred seating at the musical The Low Road, in New York City. Many theater and live performance offers like this are included.
Cardholders have the opportunity to apply for a loan through American Express (but only if they have been pre-approved). Loans are offered from $3,500 to $25,000, with fixed interest rates from as low as 6.90% up to 19.97%.
Call the number on the back of your card to speak with a specially-trained, business-oriented customer support representative. Based on our experience, this will be a cut above the typical customer support you’ll get with an Amex consumer card.
Designate a trusted Account Manager to manage your account. Must be at least 18 years old.
A tool to help manage your spending throughout the year. Allows you to add receipts and notes to transactions, making tax time easier.
Provides an easy way to label and transfer your transaction data into a QuickBooks account.
You’ll get some other benefits with this card as well, mostly protections. These can insure your purchases or travel, but there are quite a few terms and limitations.
The benefits include a Baggage Insurance Plan, Purchase Protection, Extended Warranties, and several more.
See the full set of benefits for the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, and check your Guide to Benefits to learn the details of any specific benefit.
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|17.24–26.24% Variable||None||26.99% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$95||None||See Terms||Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|29.99% Variable||Up to $39||$39|
The terms of this card are pretty clear, nothing tricky about them. The only thing standing out is that balance transfers are not allowed with this card .
If you carry a balance from month to month, which is known as revolving, you’ll be charged interest at the rate above. But you can completely avoid incurring any interest by paying your balance in full each billing period.
You’ll have a $95 annual fee to pay . As we discussed above, you’ll be able to offset that for one year with as little as $494 in spending, or even less. After that any rewards you earn will be profit, assuming you’re not revolving a balance.
|Amex OPEN Business Customer Support||1-800-492-3344|
|Pay Bill by Phone||1-800-472-9297|
|Check Application Status||1-800-567-1085|
|Credit Bureau Unit||1-800-874-2717|
American Express is known for having solid customer service, compared to most credit card companies. The credit card community is relatively fond of them, and they’ve always come in either first or second in J.D. Power’s annual Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. Last year, in 2017, they came in first ahead of Discover. Amex has been dominating this survey since it began in 2007.
We’ve usually come away satisfied after contacting them for help, though occasionally we’ve encountered a representative who left us a bit confused. In those cases we called back to speak with someone else and had better luck.
If you have to call them it will probably go pretty smoothly. But if you’re an Amex cardholder it might be easier to use the web chat, which is described next.
The card terms for the Hilton Honors Business Card are spelled out pretty clearly on American Express’s website. You’ll be able to read about all the most important card features, like the rewards, benefits, and costs.
If you’re an Amex cardholder you can access their live web chat, and you might find this easier than calling them on the phone. In many cases that will probably be true, though for complicated questions you might want to give them a call. They also have a co-browse feature. If you agree to use it, this will let an Amex customer support rep see your screen and guide you through a procedure or to the information you need.
We spoke with customer service through their web chat, and we learned that the Hilton Honors Business card actually has a few more benefits that you won’t find on the card page.
One in particular is the Relationship Care service, which is a program that aims to help customer support reps better understand cardholders, so they can provide assistance that’s tailor-made to the cardholder’s specific account. There may also be other available benefits through the Amex OPEN business program.
Be sure to check your Guide to Benefits to learn the exact benefits that come with your card and how to access them.
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is made for small business owners who frequently find themselves landing in Hilton properties. If that sounds like you, you’ll be able to earn at least 30X points per dollar on those stays using this card (12X points from the card and 18X points for Hilton Honors Gold status).
There are quite a few business categories to earn in as well, along with the Amex Travel service. This rewards program should provide you with plenty of Hilton Honors points, but keep in mind that you’ll need to redeem them through Hilton to get the best value.
Be sure to take advantage of all the extra benefits, like everything that comes with Gold status. And try to get your two free weekend nights per year. If you meet the requirement for the second weekend night award ($60,000), you’ll have already met the requirement for Diamond status ($40,000) which will let you earn even more points.
In addition to the perks, you’ll also be building your business credit at Small Business Financial Exchange, assuming you’re using the card responsibly.
You can earn a lot of Hilton Honors points with this card, but maybe it’s not right for you. There are several other business travel cards with good hotel rewards, take a look at some of them below.
You can apply for this card securely on the American Express website. They will check your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus when you apply.
Many applicants will get an instant decision in just a few seconds. But in some cases it may take longer. You can check the status of your application any time after you apply.
When it comes to hotel business cards, there aren’t as many options as you’ll have for regular consumer hotel cards.
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card isn’t a business card, so it lacks the business-related features you’ll find above. But if you spend a lot at Hilton properties every year, you might want something more high-powered than the Hilton Honors Business card.
The Aspire card is much more expensive at $450 per year, but it provides more points and better perks too.
Cardholders get automatic Hilton Diamond status, an upgrade from Gold which comes with a 100% bonus on Base Points. You won’t have as many other bonus categories, however, so if those are very important to you the Business version might still end up being a better pick.
Earning at the 34X rate, we would get a cash back equivalent of 13.6–34% at a value of 0.4–1 cent per point (14X from the card, 20X for Diamond status).
The introductory bonuses are nearly the same for both cards, with the Aspire offering 150,000 points for $4,000 in spending. The catch is that, with the Aspire card, you have one less month to reach that threshold.
There are a number of valuable benefits that can make this card worth the cost for frequent travelers. One of the most useful might be the $100 on-property Hilton credit. It’s available for stays of at least two nights at a Hilton property, and the great thing is that you can use it over and over. So the only limit to the value you can get from it is how often you’ll book those qualifying stays.
And there’s much more than that. There’s also a $250 annual Hilton resort credit, which is only available at resort properties and not regular hotels. A $250 airline credit is available, for incidental fees charged by the airline of your choice. This doesn’t cover tickets, just other fees like food and beverages. If you could use both of these credits in full every year that would more than cover the annual fee, not even counting the repeatable $100 credit.
Cardholders also get two annual weekend night awards, just like the Business card. But with the Aspire the first night is free, you don’t need to spend $15,000 to get it. However, you’ll still need to spend $60,000 to get that second night award, which is the same as the Business card.
Where the Business card provides 10 free visits to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, the Aspire card offers unlimited free access for you and up to two guests. It also excludes non-lounge experiences.
This is a high-end travel card with a hefty $450 fee, so it’s only meant for people who will travel quite a bit every year and stay at Hilton properties when they do.
To offset that fee, you can use some of the benefits mentioned above. Let’s say you’re only able to use them in part, offsetting the annual fee down to $200.
You’d only need to spend a minimum of $1,076 to earn enough point value to offset the remaining fee for a year, assuming you spend at the 29X rate and get an equivalent of 18.6% cash back. But that’s a best-case scenario and it probably isn’t realistic for most people, so it will probably take you more than that.
This card might seem expensive, but you can see how the rewards and benefits can quickly eat up that annual fee and start providing a lot of tangible value. If you’re spending over $1,000 at Hilton properties every year, you’ll be able to earn rewards and take advantage of those hotel credits enough to offset that fee for years to come.
If you’re not a fan of Hilton or you don’t happen to stay with them often, maybe you prefer Marriott. The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (Review) is also very rewarding, and comes with a similar set of benefits but aimed towards Marriott Bonvoy properties.
This rewards program includes a variety of bonus categories, but there are no business-specific expenses included. Your point-earning options are slightly more limited, but if you only care about using this card at Marriott Bonvoy properties that won’t matter much. You’ll have a variety of redemption options, just like with the Hilton card, and your best choices will usually be for hotel stays of some kind.
We’ve calculated that you can get a cash back equivalent of 13.6–34%, when spending at Marriott Bonvoy properties, but it depends on how you earn and redeem your points. That’s quite a good offer, making the Bonvoy Business card a strong contender when compared with the Hilton Business card.
There are a few important differences in the benefits of these cards. You won’t get every fifth night for free with the Bonvoy Business card, but current offers do allow you to get one or two free nights a year starting after your first anniversary as a cardholder. You won’t get access to any airport lounges either. But you will have unlimited access to Sheraton® Club Lounges, which are exclusive on-property lounges that come with complimentary services. They can be good for quick work meetings.
Cardholders get automatic Silver Elite status, which comes with some nice features like priority late checkout and a dedicated reservation line. An upgrade to Gold status is available by spending $30,000 per year with the card, which comes with a 25% bonus on Base points earned and other perks.
If you transfer at least 60,000 rewards points to an eligible frequent flyer program (there are over 30), you’ll get a 5,000 point bonus. However, we’ve usually seen point transfers from this card to be a fairly low-value option compared to redeeming for hotel stays.
This is also a business card from Amex, meaning it has all the same Amex OPEN benefits as the Hilton Business card.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business card has an annual fee of $125 (Rates & Fees). That’s a bit higher than the Hilton Business card’s $95 fee .
The other terms are pretty standard. You won’t be able to use this card for balance transfers, just like the Hilton Business. This seems to be the norm for Amex business cards.
Do you bring the American Express Hilton Honors Business Card with you around the country? How do you like it? Leave your own review, we’d love to hear from you!
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