The AMEX Hilton Honors Might Be the BEST No Annual Fee Hotel Credit Card

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The AMEX Hilton Honors Might Be the BEST No Annual Fee Hotel Credit Card

AlexThe AMEX Hilton Honors Might Be the BEST No Annual Fee Hotel Credit CardMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Hilton brand hotels include more than 5,200 locations all over the world, ranging from affordable family destinations to 5-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 currently comes with 75,000 Hilton points after meeting minimum spending requirements.  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!

You can apply for the AMEX Hilton Card here.

Stay at the Hilton Curaçao With Points!

Hilton Honors American Express Card Review

Apply Here:   Hilton Honors American Express Card

With the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you’ll earn 75,000 Hilton points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  A conservative estimated value of that welcome bonus is ~$375.  That’s because you’ll almost always receive a value of 0.5 cents or above when you redeem your points (75,000 points X 0.5 cents each).

But Hilton award prices can vary quite a bit depending on the location and brand, and they no longer publish an award chart.  If you’re willing to search around, you’ll find hotel nights where your points are worth 2+ cents each!  Find a great deal like that, and the value of this bonus instantly shoots up to $1,500 (75,000 points X 2 cents each).

Team member Joseph likes to spend Hilton 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.  For example, the Hampton Inn & Suites Holly Springs can cost ~$190 per night.  But it only costs 10,000 Hilton points!  That’s a value of 1.9 cents per point ($190 per night / 10,000 points).

How to Earn Points With the Hilton Honors American Express Card

The AMEX Hilton Honors Card also earns:

  • 7X Hilton points per $1 spent at any Hilton portfolio hotel or resort
  • 5X Hilton points per $1 at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
  • 3X Hilton points per $1 spent on everything else

The 5X Hilton bonus points you’ll earn per $1 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 a no-brainer way to work towards your next trip!

Best Grocery Credit Card
You’ll Earn 5X Hilton Points per $1 at US Supermarkets Towards Free Hotel Stays

How to Use Your Points

You can use Hilton points across all 13 of their hotel brands. These include:

This is a large selection of hotel brands to give you a range of options no matter where you go or what you are looking for.  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 8 to 10 weeks a year I spend in Las Vegas.

Hilton also offers a cool program to allow 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.  Luckily, their site makes it really easy to find places to stay with points, because you can search across all of their brands in one place, and you can toggle dollar amounts and point amounts back and forth quickly on the side.  This lets you compare the savings you are earning with your welcome bonus!

Easily Switch between cash and Points on Hiltons website
You Can Switch Between Cash Prices and Points, by Pressing the Toggle at the Top. This Makes It Convenient to Shop Award Pricing With Hilton

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.

If you want to experience Las Vegas, I found rooms at Hilton Grand Vacations on Las Vegas Strip for only 26,000 Hilton points per night in the middle of summer!  So you can stay for 2 nights at the center of the Las Vegas strip for only 52,000 points.  You will have earned this with your welcome bonus if you take into account the $1,000 spending you have to do at the base 3X bonus points multiple.

Las Vegas Is About Much More Than Just Gambling.  Team Member Joseph Spent an Evening Dueling the Various Superheroes in Front of the Fountains of Bellagio

Those who are looking for a bit more culture and style can enjoy a room in downtown Paris at the artsy Niepce Paris Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton.  This is a romantic boutique hotel in the heart of the city for as little as 62,000 Hilton points.  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.

And because this card earns you complimentary Hilton Silver status, you are eligible for your 5th night FREE when you book 5 consecutive nights together using Hilton points.  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.  If you are looking for more inspiration or ideas on how to use your Hilton points, check out these posts:

Benefits of the Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors Elite Status

You’ll receive complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status just for having this 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 $1 you get as a Hilton Honors member by booking your room directly with the hotel, and 7X points per $1 you earn by using this card for the reservation.  So altogether, you can expect to earn 19 Hilton points per $1 at Hilton hotels!

Plus, you’ll earn Hilton Honors 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.

Free ShopRunner Membership

Cardholders also get a complimentary ShopRunner membershipShopRunner is a 3rd-party service that gives you free 2-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.  This is especially surprising, considering that this card itself has no annual fee!

Emily used her complimentary ShopRunner membership to find the perfect swimsuit and get it delivered days before an upcoming trip.  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, that can save you money at local or online shops that you might already be using.  Team member Jasmin saved nearly $200 with one of her AMEX cards last year!

Is the Hilton Honors American Express Card Worth the Annual Fee?

The card has NO annual fee.  So it’s free to keep forever!

Does the Hilton Honors American Express Card Have a Foreign Transaction Fee?

No!

Who Is Eligible for the Hilton Honors American Express Card?

I wouldn’t recommend applying for the AMEX Hilton Card unless your credit score is at least 700.  That’s where you want to be as a miles & points enthusiast.  If you’re not there yet, that’s okay!  Take some time to nurture it to 700, and then apply.

Also, you can NOT receive the welcome bonus on this card if you’ve already had it.  Because AMEX only allows folks 1 bonus per card per LIFETIME.

Cards Similar to the Hilton Honors American Express 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 El Conquistador Resort & Golden Door Spa for Free With Hilton Points

For example, you can open:

For a few notes of comparison, the AMEX Hilton Honors requires you to spend $20,000 in a calendar year to earn Gold status.  If you stay with Hilton a lot, consider the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express with complimentary 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 Gold elite 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, which is probably a better deal for most people.

Bottom Line

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express earns 75,000 Hilton points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.

The AMEX Hilton Honors card will earn you complimentary Silver Elite Status and 7X Hilton points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels.  You can also earn additional Hilton points from everyday purchases like 5X Hilton points per $1 at US restaurants, US grocery stores, and US gas stations, plus 3X Hilton points per $1 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 Ascend card.  Because it includes complimentary Gold Elite Status (which comes with its own perks like 80% bonus spending during hotel 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 will make it worth the $95 annual fee for that card.

What is your favorite card for Hilton stays?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 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 Honors portfolio of brands.
  • 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
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

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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 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.