The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Is Worth So Much More Than the Annual Fee!

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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Is Worth So Much More Than the Annual Fee!

Erin LizzoThe Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Is Worth So Much More Than the Annual Fee!Million Mile Secrets Team

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I’ll admit it.  I used to cringe when realizing that a credit card had an annual fee.  I mean, who wants to pay an annual fee for simply owning and using a credit card?  “Shouldn’t I be reimbursed?” I would think.  Isn’t that a huge waste of money?  What am I even getting for this fee?

But…then I started to notice something interesting about these cards with annual fees.  In most cases, the larger the annual fee, the more benefits are offered to the cardholder.  And if you’re trying to get the most from your points, rewards, and status, there’s a good chance that your best bet really is a card that offers all of this and charges an annual fee.

So let’s take a look at one of the most popular hotel cards, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.  Our question today is, is it worth the annual fee?

Stay at the Hilton with a view of the Motlawa River in Old Town Gdansk, Poland

Here’s Why the Hilton Honors AMEX Business Card Annual Fee Is Worth It

Apply Here:   The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Read our review of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

It always makes sense to weigh the monetary benefits versus what you’re paying each year for your credit card.

For example, if you know that your card offers a $300 travel credit and a $200 credit towards groceries (I don’t know if this card exists, but if it does, I want it), and the annual fee is $450, that’s easy math.  You’ll probably want to apply for that card.

Let’s outline the benefits of the AMEX Hilton Small Business card.  Yes, there is a relatively small annual fee of $95 (See Rates & Fees), but here’s what you’ll receive in return:

  • 125,000 Hilton point bonus – When you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.  This translates to free hotel rooms, and Hilton offers this handy calculator to give you a general idea of where you can stay and for how many points
  • Complimentary Hilton Gold Elite status – In addition to a variety of great perks, like free breakfast and 80% bonus points, Hilton elite status gets you your 5th night free on award stays of 5+ nights
  • 12X points on Hilton travel portfolio purchases, 6X points on select travel purchases (including US gas stations!), 3X points on all other purchases.  These points really add up fast
  • 10 Priority Pass lounge passes per year – This is a hidden bonus for anyone who is traveling through an airport.  These airport lounges average to about $50 a visit.  So that alone is a potential $500 value for a $95 annual fee.  Plus, when you’ve got a long layover, lounge access can make your travel experience so much more pleasant.  This perk alone makes the card completely worth it, in my opinion.
How about a winter escape to the Maldives with a stay at the Hilton Island Resorts? Sounds like a great idea to me

Here’s What You Get for the AMEX Hilton Honors Business Annual Fee

Here’s the total value of the main perks that come with this card:

  • 10 Priority Pass airport lounge visits = Potentially $500
  • 125,000 Hilton rewards points = ~$625 (this one is tougher to quantify, but Hilton points are generally worth an average of 0.5 cents each, and you can book some rooms for as little as 5,000 points)
  • Gold Elite Status = Free breakfast at all Hilton hotels, 5th consecutive award night free, tons of bonus points.  You’d have to complete 20 stays or 40 nights to qualify for Gold Elite Status without this card

Everyone’s situation is different, so I’m curious to know – when you do the math, does the AMEX Hilton Small Business card seem worth paying the annual fee?  I think it’s worth applying for this card if:

  • You know you can spend at least $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months to earn the bonus
  • You know you will want to stay at a Hilton hotel at least 2 nights this year.  Or one night if you’re headed somewhere fancy

With all the benefits outlined above, I feel like this card is worth way more than $95 a year.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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For rates and fees of the The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please click here.

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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card: 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary Gold status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • Relax with 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | 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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We just stayed one night on sign up points at the Hilton waterfront in Auckland and also got free breakfast for my wife and I (a $28 per person cost) effectively free.

The 10 priority visits are worth $28 each at restaurants, a better deal than the clubs, thus 10x$28=$280.

And if there are 2 of you, you both count as separate visits.

The annual fee for my Hilton AMEX card is coming up and I will probably not renew it since I also have the Ascend card.

Has anyone been offered any retention bonuses to keep the card?

I just returned from Hawaii and the breakfast benefit at the Hilton Waikoloa Village alone saved me over $300 on a five night stay. I also got an upgrade and used 4 of the lounge passes. This is definitely a good card if you are going to stay in Hilton properties!

Hi ej,

Wow that sounds like a really great trip you had! Very happy to hear you were able to take advantage of those perks, well done!

I have this card, but it has been less than a year. I used to travel frequently for work, but since purchasing my business, I travel little for business. The value for the signing bonus on this card is highly subjective. I generally fly direct or have short layovers (Denver provides excellent flight options). So the priority pass value is conditional.

As far as the breakfasts go, yes, a couple Hilton/Hilton Garden Inn breakfasts carry some value. I’ve not seen any other Gold benefits, and across probably 75 Hilton Stays while a gold member (other cards and the hard way a couple of years) I received 1 room upgrade.

What this card SHOULD include is annual HHonors points or a 1-5 Category free night–like every other Hotel credit card offered with an annual fee. I don’t get it.

Half of my Hilton stays will likely be in the intermountain-west via car staying at Hampton Inns in places Like Jackson, Silverthorn and Durango. There is Zero benefit in those stays with this card. Strong incentive to switch to Marriott or Hyatt.

Hi Greg!

Ahh, sorry to hear that the card hasn’t been as valuable for you. I will agree that it seems like it really does vary depending on the specific hotels you’ll be staying.

The free night certificate without any huge spending requirement would definitely be a huge plus if they implemented it!