Credit Card Reviews

Hilton Honors American Express Card: A Beginner Option for Hilton Fans

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If you want to earn free hotel stays with Hilton but don't like the idea of an annual fee, the Hilton Honors American Express Card is a good option for you. But if you're looking for valuable perks with the global hotel brand, you may want to consider another Hilton card instead.

Here's everything you need to know about the Hilton Honors American Express Card to determine whether it's the right fit for you.

Big introductory points bonusNot a lot of hotel-specific perks
Rack up Hilton rewards fast with everyday purchasesLimited flexibility when redeeming points
No annual fee
Customer service contact info

1 (800) 528-4800

Experian Review

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is a hotel credit card that offers significant rewards and doesn't charge an annual fee. New cardholders will get a big intro bonus and high bonus rewards rates, plus a few travel-related perks, including Hilton status.

If you're interested in dipping your toes into hotel rewards, this card can be a great way to do it without an annual fee to complicate things. The only caveat is that with no annual fee, the card doesn't provide a lot of perks with the Hilton Honors program.

Big Intro Bonus and No Annual Fee

Credit cards that don't charge an annual fee typically skimp on the introductory rewards bonus. But with this card, you'll earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend just $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.

Hilton Honors points are worth roughly 0.6 cents apiece on average, giving you $450 worth of value with the welcome offer. Depending on how you redeem your points, however, you may get more or less than that.

That's because like other hotel rewards programs, Hilton has a dynamic pricing structure with its rewards currency. Instead of having a set value on all hotel stays, your points' value can vary depending on several factors, including your dates, the property, the cash price of the stay and more.

Regardless of how much value you get from the card's intro bonus, you don't have to worry about an annual fee eating into that value. And if you pay your balance in full each month, you don't have to be concerned about interest charges either.

Earn Extra Points at U.S. Supermarkets, Gas Stations and More

Even after you've earned the welcome offer, it's easy to rack up rewards with the Hilton Honors American Express Card. You'll earn 7 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at Hilton properties; 5 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

With an average value of 0.6 cents per point, that essentially gives you a rewards rate of 4.2% at Hilton properties; 3% at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 1.8% on everything else.

There are plenty of credit cards that offer bonus rewards on everyday spending categories like eating out, groceries and gas. But it'll be tough to find that kind of card that also offers such a high base rewards rate on non-bonus spending.

The only bummer is that Hilton Honors points are best used to book hotel stays. While the hotel brand allows you to use your points for other things, you may not get as much value, thereby limiting your valuable redemption options.

Receive Complimentary Silver Hilton Status Benefits

As a cardholder, you'll automatically get silver status with Hilton Honors. That's the lowest tier of elite status with the rewards program, but it comes with some potentially valuable perks, including:

  • Fifth night free on hotel stays of five or more consecutive nights
  • Two bottles of water with each stay
  • Elite tier rollover nights, which can allow you to achieve the next level of status more quickly

If you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year, you'll be upgraded to gold status through the end of the next calendar year. This level has all the same benefits of silver status, plus:

  • Space-available room upgrades up to executive rooms
  • Complimentary breakfast at all Hilton hotels
  • Unlimited milestone bonuses, which allow you to earn bonus points when you've achieved a certain number of eligible nights each year

If you're looking for elite status plus other perks, such as free anniversary night's stays or hotel credits, consider the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. But with those extra perks, remember that you will need to pay an annual fee. Take the time to run the numbers to make sure the yearly cost is worth it.

Additional Shopping and Entertainment Perks

In addition to a solid rewards program, the card also offers several benefits that can come in handy when you're shopping or looking for entertainment.

For starters, you'll get a complimentary Shoprunner membership, which offers free two-day shipping with more than 100 online retailers. You'll also get extended warranty protection, which offers up to two additional years on manufacturers' warranties of five years or less, and return protection, which allows you to return eligible items within 90 days if the retailer won't take it back.

The card also provides exclusive access to ticket presales and cardholder-only events. That includes Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events and more.

Amex Mobile App Provides On-the-Go Access

The Amex mobile app, which you can get in iOS and Android, allows you to keep track of your spending and how many points you have available at the moment. For redemption, you can use the Hilton Honors mobile app or the hotel brand's website.

The Amex mobile app also allows you to get real-time alerts, freeze your card if it's lost or stolen to prevent unauthorized purchases (and unfreeze it once you've found your card again), and get access to Amex Offers on shopping, dining, travel and more.

Additional Info

Purchase APR: 17.24%-26.24% VariableGrace period: 25 days
Transfer APR: 17.24%-26.24% VariableAnnual fee: $0
Cash advance APR: 26.74%Balance transfer fee: 3% of the transfer amount ($5 minimum)
Minimum interest charge: N/ACash advance fee: 5% of the advance amount ($10 minimum)
Foreign transaction fee: None
Late payment fee: Up to $39
Returned payment fee: Up to $39

Authorized-User Policy

Amex allows you to add an authorized user (the bank calls them "additional card members") free of charge. You'll earn rewards on purchase your authorized users make on your credit line, but you'll be responsible for paying off their charges.

You can also set spending limits for authorized users, going as low as $200, to manage their ability to use their card. You can add children as authorized users starting at age 13, but keep in mind that Amex won't report the account on their credit report until they're 18. Check out the Hilton Honors American Express Card authorized-user policy for more information.

Is This Card Right for You?

The Hilton Honors American Express Card can be a great way to get your feet wet with the Hilton Honors rewards program. For a card with no annual fee, it offers an impressive welcome offer and rewards program.

But other than silver elite status and the chance to achieve gold status, the card doesn't offer any special perks with Hilton. If you're looking for a card that provides more substantial benefits, consider other Hilton credit cards that may be able to provide those for you.

Also, consider comparing the card to other top travel credit cards to see if you can find a better fit for hotel, airline or general travel rewards.

The information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was collected by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.