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Hilton Honors American Express Card review

Earn a generous welcome offer and up to 7x points on Hilton purchases.

finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

  • Get this card if you are a Hilton regular who doesn’t want to pay an annual fee for the card.
  • Pick another Hilton card if you want to earn more points and enjoy Hilton benefits like elite status, Priority Pass access and Hilton resort statement credit through enrolling in your Amex account.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

7x points on eligible Hilton purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other eligible purchases

Rewards

$0

Annual fee

15.74% to 24.74% variable

Purchase APR

670

Minimum Credit Score

Details

Annual fee$0
Welcome offerEarn up to 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Earn 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Also, earn another 50,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first 6 months.
Rewards7x points on eligible Hilton purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other eligible purchases
Purchase APR15.74% to 24.74% variable
Balance transfer APRN/A
Minimum Credit Score670
IssuerAmerican Express
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Review by


Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is an excellent choice if you’re a Hilton regular, earning you a valuable 7x points when you spend on hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio, 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations and 3x points on all other eligible purchases. You can earn a welcome offer of 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Also, if you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first 6 months you also earn another 50,000 points.

While this sounds like a card designed for a heavy traveler, it can be a good pick even if you don’t travel much. That’s because this card requires no annual fee, despite the numerous perks. You can quickly accumulate Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points to redeem all at once on a vacation or business trip. Hilton points are typically worth around 0.5 cents apiece — less than the industry average of 1 point for 1 cent — but you can collect a significant number of them through everyday spending.

If you’re looking for more of a luxury experience, you may want to look at a different Hilton card, such as the $450 annual fee Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card. But for every other Hilton fan, this card is a great value.

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How to apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Card

To apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you must be at least 18 years old and a US citizen or permanent resident. You’ll have a better chance of approval for the Hilton Honors American Express Card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher. Here’s how to apply:

  1. Select Apply now..
  2. Complete the application with information like your Social Security number, home address, income source and total annual income.
  3. Review and submit your application.

How long will it take to be approved?

Because conditional credit card approval is automated on the website, you may get a decision on your application within 60 seconds. If there are issues with your application, it may take a few days to a few weeks to hear back. After you’re approved, you’ll typically receive your card within 7 to 10 business days.

Hilton Honors American Express Card benefits

  • Annual fee: None. A $0 annual fee (Terms apply, see rates & fees) means it’s easy to keep the card long term.
  • Sizable welcome offer worth several rewards nights. If you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months, you earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Then after spending $5,000 total in the first 6 months, you earn an additional 50,000 points. Depending on the property you choose to redeem your points, this welcome offer will likely be worth 2-3 rewards nights.
  • Rewards: Earn up to 7x Hilton Honors American Express Card Bonus Points. Earn 7x points on eligible purchases within the Hilton Portfolio of hotels and resorts. Earn 5x points when you spend at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations. And earn 3x points on other eligible purchases.
  • Complimentary upgrade to Hilton Honors Silver. Silver status rewards you with a 20% bonus on Hilton Honors Base Points you earn, as well as a complimentary fifth night when you book five nights or more in one stay with points.
  • No foreign transaction fee. Typically, providers charge a 3% fee each time you use your card for an international transaction, but with this card, you won’t incur such fees.
  • Travel protection. Use the American Express Global Assist Hotline for legal, medical, financial and other emergency assistance while on vacation. Get complimentary car rental insurance, which covers your rental against collision damage or theft.
  • Purchase benefits. Receive extended warranties and potential refunds on eligible items you buy with your card.
  • ShopRunner benefits. Get a complimentary ShopRunner membership and enjoy free two-day shipping and returns on purchases from more than 140 online stores in ShopRunner’s network.
  • Cardmember-only entertainment. As a cardholder, you’ll have access to select events and ticket presales.

Hilton Honors American Express Card drawbacks

  • Not as widely accepted overseas. Because the Hilton Honors American Express Card is an American Express card, you might not have as many opportunities to use it overseas as you would with a Visa or Mastercard.
  • Penalty APR. If you make a late or returned payment, American Express may apply a 29.24% variable APR to all of your balances. This is known as a penalty APR, which could apply to your account for six months or more. (Terms apply, see rates & fees.)
  • It hurts to pay late. Late and returned payments come with fees as high as $40.
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How good is the welcome offer for Hilton Honors American Express Card?

Hilton Honors American Express Card Bonus Points tend to be worth around 0.05 cents a point. Given that rate, the current welcome offers are worth around $650 combined based on Finder’s current valuations. That’s a strong welcome offer, considering the card has no annual fee.

For an idea of how far your points will go, here’s a few Hilton properties and their point equivalents, as of March 2021 on the Hilton Honors Membership Rewards site:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown — $228 a night or 50,000 points.
  • The London NYC — $350 a night or 95,000 points.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Denver Downtown — $260 a night or 50,000 points.
  • Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, DoubleTree by Hilton — $193 a night or 40,000 points.

Though points are worth less than the industry’s average, the Hilton Honors American Express Card‘ welcome offer is likely enough for you to book a stay at most Hilton properties.

What are Hilton Honors Base Points?

Of the two kinds of Hilton Honors points, Base Points are what you earn when staying at Hilton properties. They help you reach higher tiers in the Hilton Honors program. For example, to reach Gold, you need 75,000 Hilton Honors Base Points.

Currently, you’ll earn 10 Base Points per dollar you spend on Hilton Portfolio rooms and eligible room charges, like room service.

On the other hand, you earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points through promotions and by using your Hilton Honors American Express Card. Redeem your Hilton Honors Bonus Points for nights at Hilton Portfolio properties and rewards with Hilton’s travel, dining, shopping and entertainment partners.

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Compare Amex Hilton Honors to similar credit cards

Here’s a side-by-side breakdown of the Amex Hilton Honors vs. two similar cards to give you an idea how each tier of travel card stacks up when it comes to performance.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$0

Purchase APR

15.74% to 24.74% variable

Balance transfer APR

N/A

Rewards

7x points on eligible Hilton purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other eligible purchases

Welcome offer

Earn up to 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points. Earn 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. Also, earn another 50,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first 6 months.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

★★★★★

Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$95

Purchase APR

15.99% to 22.99% variable

Balance transfer APR

15.99% to 22.99% variable

Rewards

9x total points at Hyatt hotels as a World of Hyatt member, 2x on gyms, commuting, dining and airlines and 1x on all other purchases

Welcome offer

30,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus 2x instead of 1x points on up to $15,000 (up to 30,000 more points) in the first 6 months

Hilton Honors American Express Card reviews and complaints

Customers generally say the Hilton Honors American Express Card is a great choice for those who travel often because of its rewards. However, customers expecting cashback rewards are largely disappointed.

The American Express Company has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1948 and earns an overall A+ rating as of August 2021. However, 90% of its reviews are negative and it has nearly 3,400 customer complaints. Amex cardholders in general complain of rude customer service reps, missing statement credit and issues disputing charges.

The company earns a Trustpilot score of 1.9 out of 5 as of August 2021. Many negative reviews cite unhelpful customer service and inflexible company policies. Positive reviews say the company employs pleasant customer service representatives. Overall, your mileage may vary with American Express customer support.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make payments on time. Register an account on the American Express website to pay your balance online. You can also enroll in autopay.
  • Avoid interest payments. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 25 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Avoid fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $40. Cash advances also come with fees.
  • Customer service. Help documents aren’t easily accessible on the American Express website. But you can call 1-800-528-4800 for customer service. According to market research company J.D. Power, cardholders give American Express high marks in customer interaction.
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How do I redeem points from the Hilton Honors American Express Card?

To redeem your points, log in to the Hilton Honors rewards portal. Redemption options include:

  • Hotel stays.
  • Travel and transportation (auto rentals, rail and airline miles).
  • Experiences (concerts, travel excursions, etc.).
  • On-property rewards (golf perks, vacation deals, all-inclusive resorts, etc.).
  • Donations to charity.
  • Dining and shopping.
  • Pool, exchange and transfer points.

For the best value on your points, consider hotel stays. Per our March 2021 valuations, you’ll get a 0.5-cent-per-point value on average.

How has this card changed over time?

DateBefore card updateAfter card update
August 26, 2021Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of card membership.Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 points after you spend a total of $5,000 in the first 6 months.

Bottom line

Its points structure makes the Hilton Honors American Express Card a decent choice for both frequent and occasional Hilton guests. Before deciding on this product, compare other hotel credit cards and travel or airline cards.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Images: AmericanExpress.com

How we determined the value of Hilton Honors points

To determine the average value of an Hilton Honors point, we looked at the equivalent dollar value a redemption option would cost in the Hilton Honors Rewards program. We calculated this average across all redemption options available through Hilton to reach the approximate value you can expect when redeeming these points on average. In this case, the average value of a single Hilton Honors Bonus Point came out to 0.5 cents per point.
Remember that your points could be worth more or less depending on what you redeem them on, so this figure should be used as a general guide.

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