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Which Hilton Card Is Right for You?

Which Hilton Card Is Right for You?

Million Mile SecretsWhich Hilton Card Is Right for You?Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Hilton has a great lineup of credit cards that make it easy to earn award stays at Hilton hotels.  There are currently 4 different offers.

Which Hilton Card Is Right For You
Emily and I Have Enjoyed Many Excellent Hilton Hotels Including This View From the Hilton Milano Stucky Venice. Find Out Which Hilton Card Is Best for You!

I’ll explain the pros and cons of each card.  And help you decide which card (or 2!) you might consider.

All the Hilton Cards

Note:  The 2 banks that issue Hilton credit cards are AMEX and Citi.  You can only get the sign-up bonus on American Express personal cards ONCE per person, per lifetime.  But you CAN get the bonus on Citi cards again, even if you’ve had them in the past.

You can get EACH of these cards because they’re considered “different card products.”  So you don’t have to pick only one.

Hilton hotels include Conrad, DoubleTree, Embassy SuitesHampton InnHiltonHilton Garden InnHome2SuitesHomewood Suites, and Waldorf Astoria brand hotels.

1.   Hilton Honors Card From American Express

Link:   Hilton Honors Card From American Express 

Link:   My Review of the Hilton Honors Card from American Express

  • Sign-up bonus of 50,000 Hilton points after spending $750 in purchases within 1st 3 months of opening your account
  • Earns 7 Hilton points per $1 spent at most Hilton hotels
  • Earns 5 Hilton points per $1 spent at US gas stations, US restaurants, and US supermarkets
  • Earns 3 Hilton points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • NO annual fee
  • Free Hilton Silver elite status (late check-out, 2 free bottles of water, and 15% points bonus on Hilton points earned)
  • Free Hilton Gold elite status (free breakfast and internet) after staying 4 times at Hilton in the 1st 3 months or after spending $20,000 in a calendar year
  • ~3% foreign transaction fee
  • Terms and limitations apply

This is 1 of 2 Hilton credit cards with NO annual fee.  And it is the better of the two.

Which Hilton Card Is Right For You
The Hampton Inn Kalispell Is Right Outside Glacier National Park in Montana. And You Can Stay There for Free With Hilton Points!

Because it earns 7X Hilton points per $1 spent at most Hilton hotels.  And I like that it earns 3X Hilton points everywhere!

Be aware this is NOT a card to use overseas.  Because it has a ~3% foreign transaction fee.

If you want a card that earns Hilton points with NO annual fee, I recommend this one.

2.   Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature

Link:   Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature

  • Sign-up bonus of 50,000 Hilton points after spending $1,000 on purchases within 1st 4 months of opening your account
  • Earn a $50 statement credit after spending at $50+ at any Hilton hotel within 1st 3 months of opening your account
  • 6 points for every $1 you spend at Hilton hotels
  • 3 points for every $1 you spend at supermarkets, drug stores, and gas stations
  • 2 points for every $1 you spend on everything else
  • NO annual fee
  • Free Hilton Silver elite status (late check-out, 2 free bottles of water, and 15% points bonus on Hilton points earned)
  • Free Hilton Gold elite status (free breakfast and internet) after staying 4 times at Hilton in the 1st 3 months or after spending $20,000 in a calendar year
  • 10,000 Hilton points at the end of a calendar when you spend $1,000 or more at Hilton hotels
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

This card isn’t right for everyone.  Because the minimum spending requirement is higher than the Hilton Honors Card from American Express.  And it earns fewer points in every bonus category.

The upside of this card is that you can get the sign-up bonus again, even if you’ve received it in the past.  If you’d like Hilton points and don’t want to pay an annual fee (and have already had the Hilton Honors Card from American Express), this would be a good choice.

Note:   I’m not sure how much longer the increased offer of 50,000 Hilton points will be available for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card!

3.    Hilton Honors Surpass Card From American Express

Link:   American Express Hilton Honors Surpass

Link:   My Review of the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express

  • Sign-up bonus of 60,000 Hilton points after spending $3,000 in purchases within 1st 3 months of opening your account
  • Earns 12 Hilton points per $1 spent at most Hilton hotels
  • Earns 6 Hilton points per $1 spent at US gas stations, US restaurants, and US supermarkets
  • Earns 3 Hilton points per dollar on all other purchases
  • $75 annual fee
  • Free Hilton Gold elite status (free breakfast and internet)
  • Free Hilton Diamond status when you spend more than $40,000 in a calendar year (better upgrades)
  • ~3% foreign transaction fee
  • Terms and limitations apply

This card earns the most points at Hilton hotels.  And it earns the most Hilton points overall.

Which Hilton Card Is Right For You
The Sign-Up Bonus From the Hilton Surpass AMEX Is Enough For 2 Off-Peak Award Nights at the Hilton Vienna Danube

It also comes with Hilton Gold status, which gets you free breakfast and internet.

But because of the ~3% foreign transaction fee, this is NOT a good card to take internationally.

If you want to earn the most Hilton points on paid stays, of all the Hilton cards, get this one.

4.   Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Link:   Don’t Use My Link for the Hilton Reserve Card!

Link:   My Review of the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

There is a limited-time offer for the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card.  Right now, you’ll get:

  • Sign-up bonus of 2 Weekend Night Certificates, each good for 1 weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) after spending $2,500 on purchases within 1st 4 months of opening your account
  • $100 statement credit after spending $100+ on your 1st stay in the Hilton Portfolio of hotels (Conrad, DoubleTree, Waldorf Astoria, etc.) within the 1st 3 months of account opening
  • Annual bonus of 1 Weekend Night Certificate, good for 1 weekend night (standard room, double occupancy) after spending $10,000 on purchases each cardmember year
  • Earns 10 Hilton points per $1 spent on Hilton hotels
  • Earns 5 Hilton points per $1 spent on airlines and car rental purchases
  • Earns 3 Hilton points per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee
  • Comes with Hilton Gold status
  • Spend $40,000 in purchases within a calendar year and earn Hilton Diamond status
  • No foreign transaction fee

To access the offer, make a test booking at Hilton.com.  Enter your information and then on the payment screen, you’ll see a banner ad for this offer.  Click it, and select the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card to click through to the application page.

Even though the bonus category earning isn‘t as good as the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express, it has a better sign-up bonus.

Because of that, I recommend this card over the others.

Which Hilton Card Is Right For You
Enjoy 2 Nights at the Hilton Fiji Resort’s Private Beach With Weekend Night Certificates From the Hilton Reserve Card

And because this is a Citi card, you can get the sign-up bonus more than once.  Keep in mind you will NOT earn the Weekend Night Certificates if you have had a Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card account that was opened or closed in the past 18 months.

I’ve written before about how to use the Weekend Night Certificates to get the most Big Travel.

This is a great deal when you use the Weekend Night Certificates for expensive hotels you ordinarily wouldn’t pay for.  So they’re terrific to use on special occasions.  Here are ideas for where to stay in Europe, the US, Australia & the South Pacific, Asia, the Caribbean, and US beaches.

Remember the Weekend Night Certificates are valid for 12 months from the date they’re issued.  You’ll receive them when you meet the $2,500 minimum spending requirement.

You will receive another Weekend Night Certificate on your 1-year anniversary of having the card if you spend $10,000 on purchases within the 1st year.

Ways to Earn Hilton Points

You can get 2 (or more!) of these Hilton cards at the same time to earn more award stays at Hilton hotels.

And there are lots of other ways to earn Hilton points!

You can transfer from:

  • Citi ThankYou points
  • AMEX Membership Rewards
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hawaiian Airlines

So if you are low on Hilton points, you have options to top off your balance.

Other Hotel Cards Worth Considering

Of course there are other chains besides Hilton!  Here are few other hotel cards I like.

With the Chase Hyatt Visa, you can earn 2 nights at any Hyatt (even their all-inclusive resorts!) when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

Which Hilton Card Is Right For You
Get 2 Nights at ANY Hyatt, Including the Hyatt Regency Maui, With the Chase Hyatt Visa Sign-Up Bonus

Additionally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  And you can transfer the points at a 1:1 ratio into your Hyatt account.

And the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest card has a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

AMEX will be getting rid of foreign transaction fees on this card beginning August 11, 2015.  So you can use it overseas without an extra charge.

Bottom Line

There are 4 credit cards that earn Hilton points.

If I had to pick 1, I’d choose the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card.  Because it offers 2 Weekend Night Certificates as a sign-up bonus that can be used at almost any Hilton hotel.  This can be an excellent deal for Big Travel with Small Money!

If you need extra Hilton points for free award night, there are plenty of ways to earn more.

Which Hilton card is your favorite?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Is the annual fee waived the first year for the AF cards? Too often the annual fee if not waived is not mentioned in reviews

Any luck on the basic visa for 50K and $50 back? Making a dummy booking on Hilton gives me the Hilton Reserve.

i know Citi is cracking down on churners. You said the HH card can be used for multiple bonuses. Do we need to wait 18 months between applications, or can we use the 8-65 rule?