Hotel credit cards can be valuable. Typically the cards have reasonable annual fees and offer outsized value, ranging from annual free nights to elite status. What’s rare is to see a hotel credit card that offers substantial perks despite not having an annual fee.
I’ve reviewed the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review). In this post, I wanted to look at the no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees).
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 December 2022
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.
Welcome Bonus: 80,000 Points
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express is offering a welcome offer where you can earn 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months.
I value Hilton Honors points at ~0.5 cents each, meaning that I value the points at $400. For a no-fee card, this is a solid bonus.
Eligibility For Bonus & Amex Application Restrictions
The welcome offer on the Hilton Honors Card is not available to those who currently have this card or those who have had this card in the past. 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 Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (review).
I find that Amex cards are fairly easy to be approved for, for those with excellent credit. Just make sure you know Amex’s general application restrictions:
- 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 hybrid or charge cards)
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express has no annual fee, and you can even add additional cardmembers with no annual fee (Rates & Fees).
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, you might as well make them no annual fee cards whenever possible to minimize your out-of-pocket cost.
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 Hilton Honors 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 great for a no annual fee card.
3x Points On Other Purchases
The Hilton Honors Card offers 3x points on all other eligible purchases, which I value at a return of ~1.5%. There are better cards for everyday spending.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The Hilton Honors Card has no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), which is great for a no annual fee card. I’ll take it a step further — I’d consider this the best no annual fee Amex card for purchases abroad. Even many Amex cards with annual fees have foreign transaction fees, making this a noteworthy perk of the card.
No Annual Fee 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 Hilton 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 the Hilton Honors 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 (for 2022 you get a daily food & beverage credit in lieu of this at properties in the United States)
- Late check-out, subject to availability
- Preferred rooms
- 80% points bonus
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.
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 nice welcome offer, 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. Furthermore, holding onto some cards for a long time is good for your credit score, and you might as well do that with no annual fee cards, whenever possible.
The bonus categories are pretty good as well for a no annual fee card, like being able to earn 7x points on Hilton stays, and 5x points on U.S. supermarket, U.S. gas station, and U.S. restaurant purchases. Combine that with no foreign transaction fees, and this is one of the best no annual fee cards to use abroad.
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. It could also be a good option if you’re looking to downgrade one of Hilton’s premium credit cards.
Best No Annual Fee Card?
If I could recommend just one no annual fee card, I’d recommend the Citi® Double Cash Card (review). The card offers 1x ThankYou points when you make a purchase and 1x ThankYou points when you pay for that purchase. Those rewards can be redeemed for one cent each toward a statement credit, or alternatively you can potentially get travel rewards.
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express is a great no annual fee card. The card has a nice welcome offer, offers 3-7x points per dollar spent with no foreign transaction fees, gets you Hilton Honors Silver status, and gives you access to Amex Offers.
For someone looking for a no annual fee card, this is a great option.
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).