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Hilton Honors American Express Card review

Earn a decent welcome offer and up to 7x points on eligible 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.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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80,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 7x

Points

$0

Annual fee

19.99% to 28.99%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Annual fee$0
Welcome offerEarn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Rewards7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points on eligible direct Hilton purchases, 5x points for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, 3x on all other eligible purchases
Purchase APR19.99% to 28.99% variable
Balance transfer APRN/A
Minimum credit score670
IssuerAmerican Express
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Review by


Kevin Joey Chen was a credit cards, banking and investments writer for Finder. His work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com.

Expert review

The 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 U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3x points on all other eligible purchases. Earn a welcome offer of 80,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

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 Go to site.
  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 seven to 10 business days.

Hilton Honors American Express Card benefits

  • Annual fee: None. A $0 annual fee 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. Depending on the property you choose to redeem your points, this welcome offer will likely be worth two to three 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 U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. 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 29.99% 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.
  • 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 offer is worth around 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 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

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Finder rating 3.8 / 5

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on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
Go to site
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees

Minimum credit score

670

Minimum credit score

670

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Purchase APR

Up to 28.99% variable

Purchase APR

Up to 27.24% variable

Balance transfer APR

N/A

Balance transfer APR

20.24% to 27.24% variable

Rewards

Up to 7x points

Rewards

Up to 9x points

Welcome offer

Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.

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 September 2022. 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 1.7 out of 5 as of September 2022. 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 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?

DateOldNew
October 27, 2022Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months you own the card.Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
September 02, 2022Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months you own the card.
July 7, 2022Welcome 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.
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.

Insurance benefit note: Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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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