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

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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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