Know the rules before you apply for your next Hilton card

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Even though the value of Hilton points is lower than some other hotel points, it’s incredibly easy to earn Hilton points. There are four Hilton cobranded American Express cards and a handful of travel credit cards that earn points you can transfer to Hilton, so you’ve got options.

Navigating the Amex application rules is fairly straightforward now that Amex shows you during the application if you’re eligible to earn the welcome bonus. But you need to know a few qualifiers before you apply for a Hilton credit card.

It’s easy to earn and use Hilton points all over the world. (Photo by josefkubes/Shutterstock.)

Amex Hilton application rules

If you like Hilton points, you can do well with any of the Hilton hotel credit cards:

The information for the Hilton Aspire card and Hilton Surpass card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Here are tips on how to complete the minimum spending requirements. Before you submit an application, consider these factors.

Each card is considered a different product

You can only earn the welcome bonus on any given Amex card once per lifetime. But there are four Amex Hilton cards, and they’re all separate products as far as Amex is concerned. That means you are eligible to earn the bonus once for each card.

Amex limits you to five credit cards

All the Amex Hilton cards are credit cards, as opposed to charge cards. That means they offer revolving credit lines and you aren’t required to pay the full balance every month (although you should). Amex will typically only issue each person four or, at most, five of its credit card products. Amex has lots of excellent credit cards, so keep in mind opening these cards will count as a credit card slot and pick and choose wisely. (enrollment required)

You can only open two cards per 90 days

Amex typically only approves two new card applications per 90-day period. However, most of the reports of people being approved for two cards within 90 days involve a combination of charge cards and credit cards. So you’ll mostly likely only be approved for a single Hilton card within that time period as they are all credit cards. (enrollment required)

The Amex Surpass card has history

Before you fire up your application for the Hilton Surpass card, think carefully about other Amex Hilton cards you’ve had.

This card used to be called the Amex Hilton Ascend card and before that it was the Surpass. If you ever opened any Amex version of it, you aren’t eligible to earn the welcome bonus on the current Hilton Surpass card. That’s because Amex kept this card mostly the same, but updated the name. In Amex’s eyes it’s still the same product.

Beware of the Chase 5/24 rule

Amex personal cards count against your Chase 5/24 status. Luckily, the Hilton Business credit card doesn’t count against you. So if that’s a concern, be sure to stick to these business credit cards from any major bank except Capital One and Discover.

Bottom line

With 5,000+ locations under 15 Hilton brands, it’s not hard to make good use of your Hilton points. And thankfully, Hilton points are easy to earn with any of the four cobranded Hilton rewards credit cards.

But before you apply, keep in mind:

  • Each card is considered a different product
  • You can only have four (or five) Amex credit cards at once
  • Amex will only approve, at most, two cards per 90 days
  • The Hilton Surpass card use to be called the Hilton Ascend card and if you had it, you can’t get the Surpass product
  • All Amex personal cards count against your Chase 5/24 status, but Amex small business cards don’t

Hopefully this clarifies exactly which Amex Hilton cards you’re eligible to open.

Will you earn bonus Hilton points with these offers while they’re still around?

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Jason Stauffer was a writer for Million Mile Secrets where he covered points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. His work has appeared in The Points Guy and NextAdvisor.

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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