Hilton Honors Card From American Express Review (2020)

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Card Reviews
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5x points
at restaurants
5x points
at gas stations
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Hotel credit cards can be incredibly valuable. Typically the cards have reasonable annual fees, and offer outsized value, ranging from annual free nights to status. What’s rare is to see a hotel credit card that offers perks in spite of not having an annual fee, though in this post I wanted to look at one such card.

I’ve reviewed the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. In this post I wanted to take a look at the no annual fee (Rates & Fees) Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express.

Is this card worth having, or is it worth getting a card with an annual fee instead? After all, you have several Hilton cards to choose from.

Hilton Honors Card From American Express Basics For March 2020

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express is Hilton’s entry-level personal credit card. Let’s look at a few aspects of this card, including the points earning potential, the welcome bonus, and the perks.

75K Point Welcome Bonus

The card is offering a new member bonus of 75,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $1,000 within the first three months. That’s a reasonable spending requirement, as some other cards require $4,000+ of spending to get the bonus.

I value Hilton Honors points at ~0.5 cents each, meaning that I value the 75,000 points at ~$375. That’s really good when you consider that this card has no annual fee.

Redeem Hilton Honors points at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives

Eligibility For Bonus

The welcome offer on this card is not available to those who currently have or who have had this card.

You are eligible for the bonus if you have had any other Hilton card, though, including any of the personal cards with an annual fee, or the business card.

Amex Application Restrictions

I find that Amex cards are fairly easy to be approved for, for those with excellent credit. Just make sure you know that:

  • You can be approved for at most two Amex cards in a 90-day period
  • You can have at most five American Express credit cards at any point (this doesn’t include charge cards)

See this post for all major credit card application restrictions to be aware of.

Annual Fee

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express has no annual fee, and you can even add additional cardmembers with no annual fee.

You can’t beat holding onto a no annual fee card long term. Holding onto credit cards long term helps your credit score, as it helps you increase your average account age. If you’re going to hold onto cards long term, you might as well make them no annual fee cards whenever possible to minimize your out of pocket.

Earning Points With The Hilton Honors Card From American Express

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers some bonus categories for spending, though they’re not quite as robust as you might find on other cards.

The card offers anywhere from 3-7x Honors points per dollar spent, depending on the category you’re spending in.

The card also offers some status perks, and you can earn even more status perks if you spend money on the card.

7x Points At Hilton Hotels

The card offers 7x Hilton Honors points for spending at Hilton properties globally. This includes all Hilton brands, from Hampton Inn to Waldorf Astoria.

I value Hilton points at ~0.5 cents each, so to me, that’s like a 3.5% return on hotel spending. That’s pretty good for a no annual fee card, though ultimately there are better credit cards for hotel spending.

5x Points Bonus Categories

The Hilton Honors Card offers 5x points per eligible dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.

That’s the equivalent of a 2.5% return on spending in those categories, which is also fairly good for a no annual fee card.

Earn 5x points on supermarket purchases

3x Points On Other Purchases

The card offers 3x points on all other eligible purchases, which I value at a return of ~1.5%. There are definitely better cards for everyday spending.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The Hilton Honors Card has no foreign transaction fees, which is pretty good for a no annual fee card.

Hilton Honors Card Benefits

Despite having no annual fee, the Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers some potentially valuable benefits. You get status just for having the card, and can receive elevated status if you spend enough on the card.

Let’s look at the details of those benefits.

Hilton Honors Silver Status

Just for having the Honors Card you get complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status. This is Hilton’s entry-level status, and while the perks are limited, it’s nice that they give it to you on a no annual fee card.

The benefits of Hilton Honors Silver status include the following:

  • Fifth night free on award stays
  • 20% points bonus
  • Two bottles of water

Hilton Honors Gold Status With Spending

You can earn Hilton’s mid-tier Gold status for spending on this card. If you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year you’ll earn Hilton Honors Gold status, which comes with the following perks:

  • Free breakfast and/or executive lounge access
  • Late check-out, subject to availability
  • Preferred rooms
  • 80% points bonus

Hilton Honors Gold members receive complimentary breakfast

Purchase And Extended Warranty Protection

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers some potentially valuable purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. While you’ll want to check your cardmember agreement for all the details, you can potentially expect:

  • Purchase protection, offering protection on eligible purchases that are accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost; valid for up to 90 days, and $1,000 per occurrence, and $50,000 per calendar year
  • Extended warranty, where you can get up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty, for warranties of five years or less

Amex Offers

One of my favorite features of Amex cards is access to Amex Offers, which offers savings on purchases with all kinds of retailers. There’s huge value to be had in getting as many Amex cards as possible, so that you can get these offers on multiple cards.

Amex Offers could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can access these offers by logging into your account and scrolling down to the bottom of your account summary page.

What’s especially awesome is that this card has no annual fee, so Amex is basically paying you to have this card when you consider the savings opportunities.

Is The Hilton Honors Card From American Express Worth It?

For a no annual fee card, I think the Hilton Honors Card from American Express is pretty awesome. The card has a good welcome bonus, it gives you access to Amex Offers (which can save you a lot of money), it offers Hilton Honors Silver status (which gets you a fifth night free on awards), and more.

The bonus categories are pretty good too for a no annual fee card, like being able to earn 7x points on Hilton stays, and 5x points on supermarket, gas station, and restaurant purchases.

For someone who absolutely doesn’t want to pay an annual fee but who also likes Hilton Honors, I think this is a great card to consider.

Why You Should Consider The Surpass Card Instead

While I do think this is a great no annual fee card, if I were to only get one card I would instead apply for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card, which has a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees).

Why would I instead apply for this card?

  • It offers a much larger welcome bonus of 125,000 points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card within three months
  • You get Gold status for as long as you have the card, which offers perks like upgraded rooms, free breakfast, and more
  • You can earn free weekend night rewards, which are potentially extremely valuable

Redeem the weekend night reward at the Conrad Bora Bora

There are other reasons, but I think those are the primary reasons that should put this into perspective.

Here’s the other thing. Say you really want a no annual fee card long term. After 12 months you could downgrade the $95 annual fee card to the no annual fee card by phoning up Amex.

I really do think the Surpass Card is worth trying. If you don’t like it you can always downgrade it after a year, and you’ll maintain your credit line, etc.

Best No Annual Fee Card?

If I could recommend just one no annual fee card, I’d recommend the Citi® Double Cash Card. The card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase. Best of all — and this is truly what makes the card remarkable — rewards can be converted into Citi ThankYou points (in conjunction with other cards) at the ratio of one cent per point.

Amex Hilton Honors Card Summary

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express is a good no annual fee card. The card has a solid welcome bonus, offers 3-7x points per dollar spent, gets you Honors Silver status, and gives you access to Amex Offers.

For someone looking for a no annual fee card, this is a great option.

However, personally, I would apply for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card. The card has a much better welcome bonus, offers bigger bonus categories on spending, and gives you Hilton Gold status. If you find the card isn’t worthwhile, you can choose to downgrade it after a year.

If you want to learn more about the Hilton Honors Card from American Express or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees).

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
  1. Have a question maybe someone can help me. I just recently booked conrad Manila but with chase saphire card. When i get now Amex with hilton gold status am i able to get the free breakfast when at the time of booking i was not a gold member? Are those breakfast mean breakfast buffet too? They cost about 22$ PP.

  2. Yes, you will still qualify for free breakfast. it depends on hotel if they extend it to full buffet or just continental breakfast. Some will also give golds lounge access, but don’t have to. Lounge access is only guaranteed for diamonds.

  3. DP: Husband has Surpass, and I recently cancelled him as an AU on my no-fee Hilton Card. He just tried to apply for the no-fee card using a referral bonus from me and got the pop-up saying he was not eligible for the bonus. Income is high, FICO in the 810-825 range. He has 3 active AMEX cards (Surpass, Marriott (SPG conversion) and Delta Blue no-fee which he has had for many years) but cancelled the Delta Gold one year ago after holding it for 2 years. I am assuming that the 2 closures and having the Surpass are part of the reason.

  4. I am yet to find a $375 for 75,000 points within 1,000 miles if anywhere I’ve been. Remember Lucky’s value if Hilton Points is for those who can find some remote place with a 1 in a 100 (or may 1,000) opportunity to use your points at that value.

  5. @ Ben — There is really one one reason to get this card — the initial bonus! After that, one should be obtaining the other benefits via Hilton Aspire!

  6. The breakfast does vary. One Hilton hotel would give us the cold breakfast but charge extra for omelets, etc. I’m not much of a breakfast person so a cold breakfast (fruits, cereal, pastries, cheese, ham) works fine for me.

    It is always annoying when I check out and they want to charge me extra even though I never use the hot breakfast.

  7. I now am done with these HILTON points as I can not use the 340k I have for any of my favorite locations- they have ZERO availability or cost 500k per night… Put all Hilton cards in the trash and just get the Amex Gold or Green card for the MS at grocery stores.

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