American Express Hilton Cards Will Not Earn 6X Bonus Points at Drug Stores From May 2013

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American Express Hilton Cards Will Not Earn 6X Bonus Points at Drug Stores From May 2013

Million Mile SecretsAmerican Express Hilton Cards Will Not Earn 6X Bonus Points at Drug Stores From May 2013Million Mile Secrets Team

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The American Express Hilton card as well the Surpass version both earn 6X Hilton points at drug stores and pharmacies such as CVS.  This is very useful for folks who make large purchases at drugstores.  Or even those who buy gift cards at drugstores and them use them elsewhere.

Hilton Card Bonus Changes
Hilton Card Bonus Changes

And 6X points for gas purchases wasn’t too bad either.  Even if you value 1 Hilton point at about 0.5 cents per points, 6X points per $1 means 3 cents (0.5 cents X 6) per $1 spent.

You currently earn:

  • 6 Hilton points per $1 at Hilton hotels (12 points with the Surpass at Hilton hotels), supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations, and phone/internet/cable
  • 3 Hilton points per $1 for everything else

But starting from May 1, 2013 or whenever your statement starts in May, you won’t earn the 6X points for purchases at pharmacies.

Instead you will earn:

  • 7 points (12 with the Surpass card) at Hilton Hotels
  • 5 points at restaurants
  • 5 points at gas stations
  • 5 points at supermarkets
  • 3 points for everything else

So this will be a bad news for folks who made large purchases at CVS or other pharmacies.  But you can still earn at least 3X points for purchases at drugstores with the American Express Hilton cards.

You can usually buy gift cards to other stores at supermarkets and gas stations.  And 5X points at gas stations and supermarkets could be worth it to some.

The terms & conditions say that eligible purchase do NOT include “purchases or reloading of prepaid cards.”

In my experience purchases from a drugstore or a grocery store are usually coded as originating from a drugstore or grocery store and earn the bonus points.  But it seems that the intent of the terms and conditions is to not award bonus points for those purchases.

The terms and conditions also say that bonus points will only be awarded for restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets within the US.  But that doesn’t really matter since both the Hilton cards charge foreign transaction fees for using them for non-US purchases and shouldn’t be used for those transactions.

Bottom Line

The American Express Hilton cards will change their bonus categories from May 1, 2013.  But the fee free Hilton card may still be worth keeping for access to discounted Hilton award nights and to help your credit score age.

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I received the reduction from 6 points/dollar to 3 points/dollar at drugstores starting with my February statement, do you think it is worth pointing it out to AMEX that this was not suppose to occur until May 1 billing statement. Or am I just setting myself up for extra scrutiny by AMEX?

Michael Belisle

how is prioriyclub visa useless? don’t you get a free night every year with that?

Hilton AMEX becomes as useless as Priority club Visa.

The reduction in Hilton AMEX point earnings plus the gross devaluation of Hhonors points makes this card almost worthless, unless they have reasonably priced AXON awards. I’m not holding my breath, though. The only upside is that it will now be that much easier to meet spending minimums for bonuses on new cards or spending thresholds for other cards.

With the possible exception of the restaurant bonus — and, really, that one is only useful for die-hard HHonors fans — there is no reason to put any spend on an HHonors card after the May changes. This is particularly true if you consider the recent increases in many award prices. I’m not one of the people who is “outraged” by the changes, and there are still some good awards in the program, but accumulating those points through credit card purchases is foolish, IMO. You can simply get “more bang for your buck” using a different loyalty card or cashback card. The new bonus levels are simply not lucrative enough.

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