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Amex hotel cards: How to choose the right one

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

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Our pick for an Amex hotel card: Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card logo

80,000-point

Welcome offer after spending $1,000 in first 3 months

  • 7x points on Hilton Honors
  • 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations
  • No annual fee
Apply now
See rates & fees

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. Aside from cobranded cards with these two hotel brands, you can get an Amex membership rewards card and transfer your points to your favorite hotel brand.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$95
With a big welcome offer worth up to $650, up to 12x points on spending, and free Gold status, this is an upgrade from the entry Hilton card. Rates & fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$450
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 or more within your first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021). Rates & fees
Hilton Honors American Express Card
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$0
With a massive welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card and up to 7x points at Hilton, this is a solid pick for Hilton fans and occasional travelers. Rates & fees
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
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Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
12x points at Hilton, 6x points on select business and travel and 3x points on all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$95
Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
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Overview of 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. Look at which loyalty program the card serves, the annual fee, signup bonus, reward points earned per dollar spent, reward redemption value and whether the card assists in elite status.

See below to learn more about the hotel cards Amex offers.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card
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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.
The perks
  • No annual fee (see rates & fees).
    Hilton Honors American Express Card can help you keep costs low while you accumulate rewards.
  • Welcome offer: 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points.

    To earn them, make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your account opening.

  • Rewards: Up to 7x points.

    When you make eligible purchases at participating properties in the Hilton Portfolio, you’ll earn 7x points. Earn 5x points on purchases at US restaurants, US supermarkets and gas purchases in the US, and 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Complimentary Silver status in the Hilton Honors program.

    You’ll receive your fifth night free when you book a stay of five nights or more with all points.

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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Apply now
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.

The perks

  • Welcome offer: 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points.

    To earn them, make $2,000 in purchases on the card within the first 3 months of card membership.

  • Rewards: Up to 12x points.

    Earn 12x Hilton Honors Bonus Points when you spend at a participating property in the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, and 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Complimentary Gold status in the Hilton Honors program.

    This is the second-highest tier. It offers perks beyond Silver status, like room upgrades upon availability and complimentary breakfast.

  • 10 complimentary visits to Priority Pass lounges every year.

    The no-annual-fee Hilton Honors American Express Card doesn’t offer Priority Pass access.

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Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card

Please note: All information about Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card has been collected independently by Finder and this card is no longer available through this site.
Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card is the top-tier option among American Express’s Hilton Honors™ cards.

The perks

  • Welcome offer: 150,000 points.

    To earn them, make $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.

  • Rewards: Up to 14x points.

    Earn 14x points on eligible purchases within Hilton Portfolio hotels and resorts.

    Earn 7x points at US restaurants, on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, and on car rentals booked directly through select car rental companies. And earn 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Weekend Night Award.

    You’ll earn one Weekend Night Reward after you receive your card, and every year after renewal. This is a certificate valid for one weekend night standard accommodation at a property in the Hilton Portfolio.

  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit.

    Receive a $250 statement credit for eligible purchases at participating Hilton Resorts. If you take advantage of it, it’ll effectively help you cover more than half of the card’s annual fee.

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Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Apply now

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 (see rates & fees).

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.

The perks

  • Welcome offer: 100,000 bonus points. 25,000 bonus points on for your first card anniversary.

    To earn them, make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your account opening. Your anniversary points will automatically post to your account on your anniversary date. This welcome offer ends on January 13, 2021.

  • Rewards: Earn up to 6x points.

    On eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, you’ll earn 6x points. Earn 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points on other eligible purchases.

  • $300 in Marriott Bonvoy statement credit.

    You can use this for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties. It’s a fantastic perk that offsets a significant portion of the card’s annual fee.

  • Annual Free Night Award.

    Each card year, you’ll receive a Free Night Award. It’s good for one night worth 50,000 points or less at a participating Marriott Bonvoy hotel.

  • Complimentary Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

    This status tier comes with perks like 2 p.m. late checkout based on availability, an in-hotel welcome gift and enhanced room upgrades based on availability.

  • Travel perks.

    Enjoy benefits like a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, complimentary access to Priority Pass Select lounges, no foreign transaction fees and more.

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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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