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Traveling with your family, especially if it’s large or includes young kids, is an entirely different proposition compared to a solo trip. There’s often a lot of juggling and logistics to manage, so making sure your hotel stay is as comfortable as possible is key to making your vacation a success.
Having one of the best hotel credit cards can go a long way towards earning points for free hotel stays (and who doesn’t like free, right?). Many cards also come with benefits like automatic elite status and bonus points earning.
But there’s one hotel credit card that stands above the rest for families. The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card comes with an excellent welcome bonus, but more importantly, family-friendly perks like Hilton Gold elite status, which gets you free breakfast at all Hilton hotels, and airport lounge access. And it won’t cost you a fortune like other high-end cards.
Here’s why I think every family should keep the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card in their arsenal.
The Best Hotel Credit Card for Families: AMEX Hilton Honors Ascend
Apply here: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
1. Redeem Points From the AMEX Hilton Ascend at Thousands of Hotels to Suit Every Travel Style
With the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, you’ll earn 125,000 Hilton points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. That’s more than enough points for a luxury night at top-tier Hilton resorts, and plenty for several nights at family-oriented brands like Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites, or Homewood Suites.
Hilton is an ideal chain for families to focus on, because they’re one of the largest in the world – you can find a Hilton brand hotel just about anywhere you go, including:
- Embassy Suites
- Hampton Inn
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Homewood Suites
- Waldorf Astoria
In my experience traveling with 3 children, Hilton has always been outstanding in making sure the kids feel especially welcome. From providing upgrades to a larger room to offering treats at check-in, the kids always rave about our Hilton stays. (And don’t get them started about the DoubleTree cookies!)
Hilton’s also got a good thing going with their hotels that offer free breakfast (to everyone) – in fact they’ve got more brands with free breakfast than other major chains like Hyatt, Marriott, or IHG:
- Canopy by Hilton
- Embassy Suites
- Hampton Inn
- Home2 Suites
- Homewood Suites
But if you really want to up your Hilton breakfast game, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is the way to make it happen.
2. Automatic Hilton Gold Status Elevates Your Stays to the Next Level
The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend comes with automatic Hilton Gold elite status just by having the card. Joseph wrote a compelling post about why Hilton Gold elite status is by far the best mid-tier elite status among any hotel chain.
Here’s why: No other mid-level hotel elite status offers free breakfast at all hotels, even at the fanciest resorts. If you’re not staying at a Hilton brand that includes complimentary breakfast, this can translate into a huge cost savings and convenience when you’ve got kids in tow.
I know the last thing I want to do on vacation is wrangle the kids out of bed early and get them cleaned up and dressed to go get breakfast outside the hotel. It takes a lot of time and is akin to herding cats, especially if the kids are sluggish and grumpy from a long travel day beforehand. Getting a free breakfast right in the hotel is a lifesaver.
No other mid-tier credit card offers elite status that guarantees free breakfast. Do keep in mind that Hilton’s terms say the free breakfast applies to yourself and one additional guest, but many folks report getting a free meal for their kids, too (I’ve had the same experience). At very least, children’s breakfasts are usually discounted, so worst case, you could use the freebies for the adults in your party and pay only for the additional children’s meals.
Hilton Gold status also gets you perks like:
- 80% bonus points on paid stays
- Room upgrades (up to executive room level) when available – the extra space from an upgrade is terrific for families
- 5th night free on award stays – awesome for those longer vacations and a great way to stretch your points
3. Make Your Airport Experience More Civilized, Too
There are lots of credit cards that offer airport lounge access, but most of them come with annual fees of $450 or more. That can be expensive for lots of families, especially if you don’t travel often enough to make the most of the perk.
That’s where the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend is an easy win. It’s only got a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) but comes with Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership including 10 free visits including guests (each guest counts as a visit).
I know plenty of families who might only take one or two big trips with the kids each year due to school and extracurricular activity schedules. So having 10 free lounge visits included with the AMEX Hilton Ascend is often enough to meet their needs.
Having a quiet place to relax and enjoy food and drinks with your family before a flight – away from the noisy terminal – can get your vacation started right. My kids seem to look forward to the lounge nowadays (unlimited desserts and soda!) more than they do the flight. 🙂
4. Earn a Weekend Night Each Year You Meet a Spending Requirement
Quite a number of hotel credit cards, like The World Of Hyatt Credit Card and IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, come with a free night each account anniversary. But these are limited to hotels costing below a certain number of points per night.
I’d love to see the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend add an anniversary free night as an automatic benefit. That doesn’t mean you can’t earn an anniversary night – you’ll just have to spend some for it.
When you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year with your AMEX Hilton Ascend card, you’ll earn a weekend night valid at almost any Hilton hotel, including luxury Conrad resorts like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. If you’re careful to use your weekend night at an incredibly expensive hotel, you could even get $1,000+ in value.
This would be an amazing way to treat your family to a surprise stay at a super-fancy hotel. Or maybe leave the kids at home and enjoy a romantic splurge with your significant other.
Having one of the best hotel credit cards will make your family travel experiences more affordable and enjoyable. But one card, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend, offers value above and beyond when you’re traveling with your crew.
The AMEX Hilton Ascend comes with a hefty welcome bonus (enough for multiple free nights at family-friendly Hilton hotels). And here’s where the card really shines:
- Automatic Hilton Gold status (free breakfast at ALL Hilton hotels, room upgrades when available, bonus points, 5th night free on award stays)
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership with 10 free visits a year (without having to pay a premium price like other cards charge for lounge access)
- A weekend night at almost any Hilton hotel when you spend $15,000+ on the card in a calendar year
As one of the largest hotel chains, Hilton has brands that cater to just about any travel style, including family-friendly locations with spacious suites and activities for children. My kids and I have had wonderful stays with Hilton and made memories for a lifetime.
For the rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend, please click here.