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Amex Hilton Credit Card Review: This Might Be the BEST No Annual Fee Hotel Credit Card (Now With Increased Bonus!)

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Amex Hilton Credit Card Review: This Might Be the BEST No Annual Fee Hotel Credit Card (Now With Increased Bonus!)

Alex CurtisAmex Hilton Credit Card Review: This Might Be the BEST No Annual Fee Hotel Credit Card (Now With Increased Bonus!)Million Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: This card comes with automatic Silver Hilton status, which gets you the fifth night free on award stays of five or more consecutive nights.

Hilton brand hotels include more than 5,200 locations all over the world, ranging from affordable family destinations to five-star luxury resorts. Hilton’s reward program, Hilton Honors, is a valuable way to earn free nights regardless of where your travels take you.

The no-annual-fee Hilton Honors American Express Card (See Rates & Fees) is offering an increased bonus of 90,000 Hilton points after meeting minimum spending requirements. This limited-time offer ends August 28, 2019.

I’ll show you how you can redeem that bonus for a weekend on the strip in Las Vegas, or multiple nights at a budget-friendly Hampton Inn!

Here’s our Amex Hilton credit card review.

Find out how to use Hilton points at locations like the Hilton Curacao in our Hilton credit card review. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Hilton Credit Card Bonus

Apply Here: Hilton Honors American Express Card

With the increased offer on the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you’ll earn 90,000 Hilton points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This limited-time offer expires August 28, 2019.

A conservative estimated value of that welcome bonus is at least $450 in Hilton stays. That’s because the value of Hilton points is usually 0.5 cents each or more (90,000 points x 0.5 cents per point). However, if you use Hilton points for stays at expensive properties, it’s easy to receive far more value than that.

Award prices can vary depending on the location, brand and season, and there’s no longer a Hilton award chart. The Hilton Points Explorer tool can give you an idea of the minimum and maximum number of points you’ll pay at a specific location. Team member Joseph likes to use Hilton Honors points at low category hotels, because he finds it’s the easiest to get a good value for his points. He uses other points for ultra-luxury hotel stays.

Benefits and Perks of the Hilton Credit Card

Hilton Status

You’ll receive complimentary Silver Hilton status just for having the Amex Hilton card, which gets you a 20% bonus on top of the base points you’ll earn at Hilton hotels. That’s on top of the 10 Hilton points per dollar you get as a Hilton Honors member by booking your room directly with the hotel (5 points per dollar at Home2 Suites and Tru), and 7 points per dollar you earn by using this card for the reservation. So altogether, you can expect to earn 19 Hilton points per dollar at most Hilton hotels.

Plus, you’ll earn Hilton Gold status if you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases with your card in a calendar year (valid through the end of the next calendar year after it’s earned). That comes with all the Silver Status benefits, but better. For example, you’ll get an 80% bonus on base points for staying at Hilton, as well as free breakfast at Hilton hotels, and room upgrades when available.

If it’s Gold status you’re after, though, you’re better off with a card like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, which comes with automatic Gold status. Here’s our review of the Hilton Surpass.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

Pay for your eligible car rental with the Amex Hilton card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver, and you’ll receive secondary coverage for damage due to collision or theft. You can check out important restrictions here.

Travel Accident Insurance

If the unthinkable happens while you’re traveling, the Amex Hilton card offers accidental death or dismemberment insurance. To be eligible for this insurance, you must pay for your entire fare (cruise, airline ticket, etc.) with your card. Find out about what’s covered here.

Roadside Assistance Hotline

If you run into trouble on the road, the Amex Hilton card comes with access to a 24-hour Roadside Assistance Hotline. They’ll help you arrange services for free, but you will be charged for any help you need, including:

  • Towing
  • Winching
  • Jump starts
  • Flat tires (when you’ve got a working spare)
  • Delivery of up to two gallons of fuel
  • Lockout service when the key is in your vehicle

Here’s more information about the Roadside Assistance Hotline.

Extended Warranty

Pay for an eligible item with your Amex Hilton card and you could be covered up to two additional years on eligible warranties of five years or less. Some items don’t qualify, so read the important exclusions here.

Return Protection

If you try to return an item purchased entirely with your Amex Hilton card and the merchant won’t take it back, you may be covered by return protection.

This coverage applies to eligible items purchased within 90 days and may refund you up to $300 per item up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year. Certain items like motorized vehicles, jewelry, computer software and perishable items don’t qualify, so read the restrictions here.

Purchase Protection

It’s the worst when you’ve just bought an expensive item and you break it. When you buy an eligible item with your Amex Hilton card you’ll get purchase protection for up to 120 days for accidental damage or theft. You can be reimbursed up to the amount you charged to your card or a maximum of $1,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per account per calendar year. Find out more about what’s covered here.

Free ShopRunner Membership

Cardholders also get a complimentary ShopRunner membership. ShopRunner is a third-party service that gives you free two-day shipping and free returns at more than 140 (and growing) online stores. ShopRunner is normally a $79 per year membership, but is yours complimentary with this card.

Don’t forget to enroll for ShopRunner after you apply for and receive your card.

Access to Amex Offers

You can add Amex Offers to the card, which are statement credits or bonus points you’ll receive when you enroll your card for targeted offers at merchants. Many Million Mile Secrets team members save hundreds each year just from this one perk!

Is the Hilton Credit Card Worth the Annual Fee?

The Amex Hilton card has no annual fee. So it’s free to keep forever.

I wouldn’t recommend applying for the Amex Hilton Card (or any of the best travel credit cards) unless your credit score is at least 700.

Also, you can not receive the welcome bonus on this card if you’ve already had it, because Amex only allows folks to earn a bonus once, per card, per lifetime. However, if you’ve already had a different Hilton card (like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card) you’re still eligible for the bonus on this one.

How to Earn Points With the Hilton Credit Card

The Amex Hilton Honors Card also earns:

  • 7 Hilton points per dollar spent at any Hilton portfolio hotel or resort
  • 5 Hilton points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations
  • 3 Hilton points per dollar spent on everything else
  • Terms Apply

The 5 Hilton points you’ll earn per dollar on US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations can help you get your next vacation sooner by racking up large amounts of points. It’s an easy way to work towards your next trip.

You’ll earn 5 Hilton points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, so your points will add up quickly. (Photo by Jasmin Baron/Million Mile Secrets)

How to Use Your Hilton Honors Points

You can use points across all 14 of the Hilton hotel brands:

These brands give you a range of options no matter where you go or your travel style. I like to stop at Hampton Inn or DoubleTree during road trips when I need a comfortable bed to crash on for the night, and I really love the Elara by Hilton Grand Vacations during the ~10 weeks a year I spend in Las Vegas.

Hilton also offers a cool program that allows you to pool your Hilton points together with up to 10 friends or family each year. You can transfer up to 500,000 points every year to them for free, to vacation for longer or stay at a more upscale hotel. Another option is to use your points to pay for part of your award stay and pay for the rest with money to lower the cost of a luxury hotel stay.

Because Hilton doesn’t publish an award chart like other hotel chains do, you will need to search for your travel dates and destination to find the best deals.

Here’s our complete guide to how to use Hilton Honors points for more details.

To find award pricing, visit Hilton’s website and search for a hotel room like you normally would. By default, it will show you cash pricing (remember to log in to see Hilton Honors member pricing). To change prices to award points pricing, flip the toggle on the top right of the page. This makes it easy to switch between cash and points prices to compare value.

I’ve found rooms in Las Vegas for as little as 26,000 Hilton points per night. Those who are looking for a bit more culture and style can enjoy a room in Paris at the Hampton by Hilton Paris Clichy starting at 40,000 Hilton points per night. Or consider the Hilton Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport for only 36,000 Hilton points per night, while flying in or out of the city.

Because the Amex Hilton card earns you complimentary Silver Hilton status, you are eligible for your fifth night free when you book five or more consecutive award nights. This is effectively a 20% discount in point cost for longer stays that you are planning.

Folks who are willing to search around can find amazing deals that are hard to match elsewhere. Here’s our rundown of the best ways to use Hilton points.

Does the Hilton Credit Card Have a Foreign Transaction Fee?

No! (See Rates & Fees)

Cards Similar to the Hilton Credit Card

Hilton offers more American Express cards than just this one. While the Amex Hilton Card is the only one with no annual fee, there are other options that offer larger welcome bonuses and more bonus points on spending.

Stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village with your Hilton points and enjoy a bucket-list vacation on Waikiki Beach. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

For example, you can open:

  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
    • Read our review of the Hilton Business Credit Card
      • Limited-time offer through August 28, 2019: 130,000 Hilton points and a weekend night certificate after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening

For a few notes of comparison, the Amex Hilton Honors requires you to spend $20,000 in a calendar year to earn Hilton Gold status. If you stay with Hilton a lot, consider the Hilton Honors Surpass Card with its higher bonus, complimentary Hilton Gold status, higher bonus point earning rates, airport lounge access with Priority Pass Select and a weekend night when you spend $15,000 or more in a calendar year.

The Hilton Gold status will earn you 80% bonus points during hotel stays, complimentary breakfast for you and a guest and space-available room upgrades.

You can get these benefits for only a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), which is probably a better deal for most people.

You could also consider the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, which comes with complimentary Hilton Diamond status, higher bonus point earning rates, credits for airline incidental fees each calendar year, statement credits each year on eligible purchases at participating Hilton Resorts, airport lounge access with Priority Pass Select, a weekend night reward when you receive the card and more.

The Hilton Diamond status will earn you 100% bonus points during hotel stays, complimentary breakfast for you and a guest, executive lounge access, 48-hour room guarantee and space-available room upgrades.

This card has a $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), but you can achieve many of the same benefits as the Amex Hilton Surpass if you’re a big spender. Team member Jasmin has already gotten over $750 in value from having the card in less than a year.

Bottom Line

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express has a limited-time bonus of 90,000 Hilton points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. This offer ends August 28, 2019.

The Amex Hilton Honors card will earn you complimentary Silver Hilton status and 7 Hilton points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels. You can also earn additional Hilton points from everyday purchases like 5 Hilton points per sollar at US restaurants, US grocery stores and US gas stations, plus 3 Hilton points per dollar on everything else.

This is a terrific card to consider if you prefer no annual fee and don’t stay at Hilton hotels often. But if you frequently stay with Hilton, you might instead consider a card like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass. It includes complimentary Gold Elite Status (which comes with perks like an 80% points bonus on Hilton stays, free breakfast, space-available room upgrades and more), a weekend night after spending $15,000 in a calendar year, and 10 complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge visits. These additional benefits make it worth the $95 annual fee for that card.

Want to learn more about Hilton points? Check out our guides:

For the latest tips and tricks on traveling big without spending a fortune, please subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets daily email newsletter.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, click here.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Earn 90,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

More Info

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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I tried to apply for this, but before I clicked “submit” i got a message saying “based on your history with AMEX welcome offers and the number of cards you have opened and closed, you are not eligibile to receive the welcome offer. We have not yet performed a credit check. Would you still like to proceed?” I have the Bonvoy AMEX card. I wonder if that means I can’t get this one. Bummer!

So if I have the American Express Ascend cars. Now Surpass. I can still get this 90k bonus?

I signed up for this card to get a couple free nights at the Hampton in Texas while visiting family. It was worth it but don’t think I would stay at that location again, bad CS.

Yeah, I’ve had good experiences in Hampton Inns everywhere EXCEPT in Texas. Stayed in a really sleazy/run down one in San Antonio

Have had this one for over 10 years – definitely a keeper.

The first picture is Hilton Curaçao, NOT Puerto Rico…

Good eye! Thanks for letting us know.

I’m still a bit confused regarding the priority pass with the old ascend and now to be surpass card. I know that I can use available lounges for 10 times in a calendar year (the restaurant option is going away in August) but can I also count my spouse as one of my complimentary lounge access points? I think not that I’m the only one that can use it and that he would need to pay a fee.