American Express is the only bank offering co-branded cards with Hilton Honors. They have a diverse card line with options ranging from one with no annual fee to the Hilton Aspire card with a $450 annual fee that automatically gives you Hilton Diamond Status.
If that’s $450 more than you want to pay, then possibly the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors AMEX is more your speed.
If you decide that you want to sign up for any of the Hilton credit cards (or any AMEX card for that matter), we’d appreciate it if you use our link. We receive a bonus for each referral, which helps us keep Your Mileage May Vary HQ going strong.
No Annual Fee
Sign Up Bonus
The current sign-up bonus for the Hilton Honors AMEX card is 80,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of having the card.
When spending on the card, you earn points in the Hilton Honors program as follows:
- 7 points per $1 spent at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio
- 5 points per $1 spent on:
- U.S. restaurants (including take out and delivery)
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. supermarkets
- 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
If you’re interested in earning Hilton points without paying an annual fee, this is the card for you. I value Hilton points at a minimum of 0.5 cents each. For all spending, you’re earning 1.5 cents per dollar. Now you could be earning up to 2 cents per dollar with a cashback card, so you really have to decide if you want to earn Hilton points or cash. This depends on what value you get when redeeming Hilton points.
The Hilton Honors AMEX also has other benefits.
- Cardholders are granted immediate Hilton Honors Silver status, which includes a 20% bonus on base points earned for stays and a free bottle of water.
- When redeeming points, Silver members get the fifth night free on award stays.
- If you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you’ll earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year. Gold status is the sweet spot for Hilton status, but there are easier ways to get it than this.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- The Hilton Honors card provides secondary coverage for rental cars.
Ways to use Hilton Honors points
The points you earn with the signup bonus and spending on the card are deposited into your Hilton Honors account. From there you can use the points to book hotel rooms. Knowing the Honors points’ actual value is difficult because Hilton no longer publishes an award chart.
The number of points needed for a room can vary based on the cash price needed to book the room on any given day.
For example, I needed a room for the night in Tampa after seeing a concert. Cash prices for hotels cost over $250 a night, but I was able to find a Hampton Inn for 40,000 Hilton points. In that example, I was able to get 0.625 cents per point value for an Honors point.
Of course, there was a time when we looked to use Hilton points in Key West and the price for a room at the Hampton Inn was over 300,000 points a night.
Honors points can be redeemed for more than just free hotel stays. One such option is the ability to book “experiences” like concerts or tours. These experiences may be a good value and may not be available to book on your own, so it’s a good idea to check out what you’re getting to see if it’s worth the redemption.
While there are some good options to redeem Honors points, there are also some options that are not a good value. One of these options is using your points to pay for things on Amazon.com. The redemption value for this option is generally very low and it’s not the best use of your points. It’s better to use them for hotel stays or experiences that give you a better value.
If you think the Hilton Honors AMEX card is right for you, here’s our referral link. Click on the “View All Cards With A Referral Offer” to see the Hilton Honors AMEX.
I’d normally look at the mid-level or premium cards from hotels but the entry-level card from Hilton is pretty good, considering it’s free.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary