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Hilton credit card guide (2019): Best cards, how points work and more
Earn points, reward nights and additional perks at your favorite hotel.
If you frequently stay at Hilton properties, having a Hilton credit card can help you save money and earn award nights with your purchases. Each card earns points on select purchase categories. But choosing the right one comes down to how much you’re willing to pay for your card, and how often you stay at Hilton hotels and resorts.
Our pick for a Hilton credit card
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Compare Hilton credit cards
Introduction to Hilton credit cards
There are three personal Hilton credit cards, each with a different annual fee. These represent the entry-level, mid-tier and top-tier Hilton cards. You’ll get more benefits the more you’re willing to pay.
For a deep dive into each Hilton credit card, scroll down to the Best Hilton credit cards section.
Basic features of the personal Hilton cards
With higher-level cards, you’ll get more perks
Is there a Hilton Honors business credit card?
There’s one Hilton business credit card, and it has a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees). It’s most similar to the mid-tier personal Hilton card, though it comes with two key differences.
How do Hilton Honors points work?
You’ll earn a certain number of Hilton points for every dollar you spend with a Hilton Honors card.
This number depends on the category in which you make your purchase. For example, you might earn seven points per dollar you spend at Hilton properties — or 7x points in shorthand. And you might earn 5x points when you spend at US gas stations, and so on.
This points structure incentivizes you to use your card more in bonus categories.
What can I use Hilton Honors points for?
You can use your Hilton Honors points for a variety of redemptions, including:
- Award nights at Hilton properties.
- Experiences, such as sporting events, high-class dining, concerts and more.
- Flights, car rentals and other transportation.
- Event credits.
- Donate points or gift points to an individual.
- Point transfers.
- Gift cards.
Where do I redeem Hilton Honors points?
Start at the Hilton Honors website. If you’re looking for a hotel room, just enter your destination, arrival date and departure date in the property search bar.
For other redemptions, click Points in the navigation bar. In the “Use Hilton Honors points” column, you’ll find links to various portals where you can redeem your points.
Best Hilton credit cards
Best Hilton credit card without an annual fee: Hilton Honors American Express Card
If you’re looking for a Hilton rewards credit card without paying an annual fee, the Hilton Honors American Express Card is the only one that fits the bill. With this card, you earn accelerated bonus points on Hilton purchases and at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations.
Best Hilton credit card for earning reward nights: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card can be a good choice for those who want to earn reward nights at Hilton properties faster but don’t want to pay a high annual fee (see rates & fees). To get the most of this card, your annual spending should be around $15,000. That way you earn the Weekend Night Reward once each year.
Best for the ultimate Hilton perks: Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card is likely the way to go if you find yourself frequently staying at Hilton hotels and resorts. True, it’s an expensive card — but you can offset the annual fee with its many perks, such as the annual Weekend Night Reward, statement credit toward purchases at Hilton hotels and resorts, unlimited access to all Priority Pass Select lounges and more.
How we selected our top cards
We compared Hilton cards against one another based on points earned per dollar, average point value, welcome offer values, fees, additional Hilton perks and other factors consumers commonly consider when selecting a hotel card. We highlighted cards that stood out in one or more of these areas.
What’s changed in 2019
The Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card worked its way onto our shortlist thanks to its sheer earning potential and terrific perks. Though not everyone will be able to take advantage, frequent travelers and big spenders will find a lot to love.
At a glance: Features of personal Hilton credit cards
|Hilton Honors American Express Card (see rates & fees)||Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (see rates & fees)||Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card|
|Welcome offer||75,000 bonus points||125,000 bonus points||150,000 bonus points|
|Points: Hilton spending||7x||12x||14x|
|Points: Mid-tier rewards||5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations||6x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations||7x points at US restaurants and on eligible flights and car rentals|
|Points: All other eligible purchases||3x||3x||3x|
|Foreign transaction fees||0%||0%||0%|
|Status upgrade in Hilton Honors||Silver||Gold||Diamond|
|Priority Pass entries||None||10 entries||Unlimited|
|Weekend Night Reward||None||Spend $15,000 in a calendar year||Complimentary; earn a second one by spending $60,000 in a calendar year|
|Airline fee credit||None||None||$250 annual credit|
|Hilton resort statement credit||None||None||$250 annual credit|
|Hilton on-property credit||None||None||Up to $100 per two-night-minimum stay|
Typical benefits of a Hilton credit card
- No foreign transaction fee. Use this card outside the US without incurring international transaction fees.
- Global assist hotline. Get 24/7 access to medical, legal, financial or other emergency assistance services when traveling more than 100 miles from home.
- Roadside assistance. For tows or getting your car battery or a tire changed, call the roadside assistance hotline for assistance. Depending on which Hilton Honors credit card you choose, you’ll either have to pay for all third-party costs, or you can get these services up to four times in a calendar year without paying extra.
- Travel accident insurance. When you pay for your ticket with a Hilton Honors card, you get coverage for accidental death and dismemberment. This includes traveling by plane, train, ship or bus.
- Car rental coverage. Get coverage against theft or damage when you pay with your card and decline the collision damage waiver at the car rental counter.
- Shopping perks. With each of the Hilton credit cards, you’ll get extended warranty, purchase protection, return protection and dispute resolution.
How to compare Hilton credit cards
When looking for a Hilton credit card, consider the following:
- Do you want to pay an annual fee? If you don’t, Hilton Honors American Express Card would be your only choice — but still with a lot to offer. You can earn a solid welcome bonus and get to earn points on your purchases. And if you combine it with the Aspire card, you can earn even more purchase points.
- Do you want to earn reward nights without paying a high annual fee? The mid-tier Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers great Hilton perks at a $95 annual fee. With this card, you get the opportunity to take advantage of a generous welcome offer, accelerated points on select categories, 10 complimentary visits to Priority Pass Select lounges and more.
- Do you want the ultimate Hilton perks? The Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card is the top-of-the-line hotel card with a generous welcome offer, the highest point earnings on select categories and has the ultimate suite of Hilton perks — ones you can’t get with any other card. These include Weekend Night Rewards each card anniversary, unlimited Priority Pass Select lounge access, statement credit toward Hilton purchases and more.
A Hilton credit card can be a great choice if you tend to stay in any of the 5,000 hotels or resorts in the Hilton portfolio. Each of these cards lets you earn Hilton Honors points with every purchase that you can then redeem for reward nights. Additional perks like no foreign transaction fees, travel accident insurance, car rental insurance and more just sweeten the deal.
Be sure to shop around and check out other travel credit cards to get the full scope of your options, especially if you’re not sure the Hilton cards fit your needs.