Amex hotel cards: How to choose the right one | finder.com
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Amex hotel cards: How to choose the right one

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Frequent and casual travelers alike could find a new favorite travel companion.

American Express hotel cards offer two loyalty programs for cardholders to choose from.

One is Hilton Honors, which has a suite of three cards. The other is the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Our pick for Amex hotel rewards: Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Earn 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
  • Earn 5x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your card.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms apply.
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Compare American Express hotel cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual Fee
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
6x points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$450
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 or more within your first 3 months of card membership
14x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 7x on flights, car rentals, and US restaurants, 3x points on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$450
150,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership.
12x points at Hilton hotels, 6x points on select business and travel purchases and 3x points on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4x points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and on US wireless telephone and shipping services; 2x points on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$125
Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.

Compare up to 4 providers

Best American Express hotel credit cards

Amex hotel cards come with various annual fees and perks. Compare them closely to find one that fits exactly what you’re looking for.

When comparing Amex’s hotel credit cards, we looked at a few factors, including which loyalty program the card serves, annual fees, signup bonus values, reward points earned per dollar spent, reward redemption value, whether the card assists in elite status and other travel perks a hotel-goer might consider when choosing a card. The cards below stood above the others in several categories, earning our nominations.

Jump to …

Best for no annual fee: Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Earn 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
  • Earn 5x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your card.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms apply.
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The no-annual-fee Hilton Honors American Express Card doesn’t have many perks, but you can earn good rewards for everyday purchases. The card may be a great choice if you want to save your points for an occasional stay at a Hilton property.

Best for Hilton: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms apply.
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There are three cards in Amex’s Hilton collection, and the mid-tier option brings the most bang for your buck. It costs $95 a year, but you’ll earn strong rewards on Hilton stays and eligible dining, groceries and gas.

Gold status in the Hilton Honors program sweetens the deal. It includes valuable perks like complimentary breakfast and room upgrades, and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg to earn it.

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card vs Hilton Honors American Express Card

Best for premium Hilton travel: Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card

Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card

150,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership.

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The Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card is the top-tier option among American Express’s Hilton Honors™ cards.

Best for premium travel: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • Generous welcome offer
  • Earn points on travel purchases
  • Annual SPG and Marriott Rewards statement credit and Free Night Award
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card is simply a stellar product. Though it has a steep annual fee, it’s loaded with top-notch features.

The annual statement credit offsets a large portion of its yearly fee, and the card’s other flagship perks are worth a lot. One of its best features is the 3x-point tier, which will help you earn points faster on eligible flights and dining.

How to compare American Express hotel credit cards

American Express offers more than one card for its partner hotel chains, and it might be difficult to make the right pick. Here are a few factors to consider while comparing products.

  • Annual fee. Amex sticks to standard annual fees: $0, $95 and $450. Figuring out what you’re willing to pay can be a great starting point.
  • Rewards. Think about your annual spending and see if it fits with a card’s bonus categories.
  • Welcome offer. A healthy haul of bonus points can tip the scales if you’re facing a close decision. The welcome offers from all of Amex’s hotel cards are enough to earn you a free night at eligible properties
  • Hotel loyalty program status. All of Amex’s hotel cards come with complimentary status upgrades in their respective loyalty programs. Check out the differences between Silver and Gold status in the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy programs and see which perks you want.
  • Airport lounge access. Consider whether you want airport lounge access. You might not mind forgoing it if you rarely travel. When choosing between the mid-tier and premium cards, consider whether you’re OK with limited lounge access.

Guide to Hilton Honors rewards program

Bottom line

Amex’s hotel cards are similar in many ways. However, closely looking at key differences between them can help you make your final decision. Go through the list of comparison factors we’ve discussed, and you’ll be well on your way to picking the winner.

You may also want to learn about the American Express Hotel Collection, which offers perks for cardholders of certain premium Amex travel cards. Or, if you’re not convinced an American Express card is right for you, consider other travel cards.
Compare Hilton credit cards

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