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Hilton Honors American Express Card Review 2024

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Updated April 4, 2024

You can find a Hilton hotel almost anywhere in the world. This makes Hilton points uniquely valuable. You’re almost certain to be within proximity of a points-eligible hotel as long as you’re not venturing too far away from civilization.

Hilton’s portfolio includes popular brands such as Hampton Inn, DoubleTree, Home2 Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, and Homewood Suites. It also harbors some of the world’s fanciest hotels with its luxury brands Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, and LXR. No matter the occasion, you can probably find a Hilton that fits the theme of your trip.

The annual_fees-annual fee card_name (Rates & Fees) is one of the best credit cards to rack up Hilton points in a hurry. In no time, you’ll find that you’ve got enough rewards to book your next hotel stay for practically free.

TIME's Take

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We give the card_name a solid 3.8 out of 5 stars. When it comes to no-annual-fee credit cards, the card is above average due to its incredible welcome bonus and ability to unlock Hilton’s “fifth-night free” perk when redeeming points to book five or more consecutive nights.

However, the card’s lack of any other meat-and-potatoes Hilton benefits means it’s not a good option for Hilton regulars. Other cards, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, can garner you significantly more value—though you’ll have to pay an annual fee.

Who is the card for?

If you’re just beginning in the world of travel credit cards, the card_name is a no-risk way to start your journey. The card doesn’t charge an annual fee, so there’s nothing to lose, even if you later decide that the card’s not a good fit for you.

The card comes with a large welcome bonus: bonus_miles_full. That’s potentially enough for up to over two weeks of free stays at Hilton hotels, depending on which properties you choose to redeem your points. Once you’ve reserved a free night for the first time, you’ll understand the allure of hotel points.

The card_name is an introductory card for travelers keen to earn free hotel stays from their spending without any upfront cost. If you book Hilton hotels regularly, the card_name might not be the best option. Other annual fee-incurring Hilton credit cards offer much better benefits, some of which could potentially net you over $1,000 in value each year.

Rewards structure

Earning Hilton points

The card_name earns points at the following rates:

  • 7 points per dollar spent at a Hilton hotel or resort.
  • 5 points per dollar at eligible U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets.
  • 3 points per dollar for all other eligible purchases.

This is a solid return rate for a no-annual-fee card. You can quite easily rack up points for your most common expenses, namely groceries and restaurants. Even a family of two should be able to accrue over 50,000 points per year from these expenses alone.

Redeeming Hilton points

You can generally book Hilton hotels for between 5,000 points per night (for an extremely basic roadside hotel) and 95,000 points per night (for the Instagrammable, overwater-bungalow, powdered-sugar-beach-touting resorts). There are even a handful of resorts that charge up to 150,000 points. Prices vary based on the hotel, time of year, and cost of the room.

Hilton points don’t have a flat value. The return you’ll get from them depends on which property you use them for. For example, the Home2 Suites in Dayton usually cost around $200 after taxes. But you can pay 40,000 points to stay for free. That means you’ll get a value of approximately 0.50 cents per point.

On the other hand, when we checked the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Maui, it cost $1,525 per night after taxes, including the $50 nightly resort fee, or 110,000 points, plus the $50 fee. This translates to a value of 1.34 cents per point.

You can also use your points in other ways, though you’re almost certain to get a poor value for them. You can:

  • Transfer them to over 20 airline partners. The transfer ratio is often 10:1.
  • Redeem them for Amazon purchases at a rate of 0.2 cents per point.
  • Redeem them to offset your Lyft rides at a rate of 0.22 cents per point.
  • Donate them to charity at a rate of 0.25 cents per point.

Returns on these alternative options are low, so it’s best to use them only if you don’t have enough Hilton points for a free night—and you don’t foresee yourself earning more. It’s better to get some value from your points instead of never using them.

Be aware, however, that Hilton allows you to pool points for free with up to 10 friends and family members. Transferring points to a loved one may be a smarter idea if they can extract better value from them

Additional hidden perks

Silver elite status

This card provides automatic Hilton Silver elite status. This isn’t particularly valuable: highlights include things like a 20% bonus on eligible Hilton purchases and free bottled water.

However, Silver status does come with one dynamite perk that can save you tons: You’ll receive the fifth night free when booking award stays of five or more consecutive nights. I used this perk to book five nights at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi and racked up 150,000 points during a single stay.

Ability to earn Gold elite status

Hilton Gold status is much more valuable than Silver status. It comes with breakfast credits when staying at a domestic Hilton and free breakfast when international. It also gives you 80% bonus points on Hilton purchases and room upgrades when available.

Normally, Gold status requires that you achieve one of the following in a calendar year:

  • Stay 40 nights with Hilton.
  • Complete 20 stays with Hilton.
  • Earn 75,000 base points (Hilton awards 10 base points per dollar at most hotels).

card_name holders, however, can earn Gold status by making at least $20,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year with the card.

This would be a notable benefit if Gold elite status weren’t so easy to earn with other cards. For $95 a year, both the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the card_name come with automatic Gold elite status—and the ability to upgrade to top-tier Diamond status after meeting minimum spending requirements.

Amex Offers

This perk is not unique to the card_name. All Amex cards (even its debit cards) come with Amex Offers. However, it’s still one of the best ongoing American Express credit card benefits around.

Amex Offers are targeted statement credits or bonus points-earning opportunities that reward you for everyday spending.You can find them in your online account. When you find one that fits your spending habits (for example, earn $15 back when spending at least $100 on your wireless phone bill), simply add it to your card, and the offer will automatically activate when you’ve satisfied the terms.

You can potentially carry hundreds of Amex Offers on your card at once.

Travel protections and assistance

As this is a travel credit card, you can expect to receive some sort of travel insurance and emergency assistance. No-annual-fee cards aren’t known for elite coverages, and the card_name is no exception. You’ll receive:

  • Secondary car rental insurance, which covers anything that your primary insurance will not if your rental car is damaged or stolen.
  • Global Assist Hotline, which provides you with medical, legal, and other services when you’re at least 100 miles from your home.

No foreign transaction fees

When transacting with a merchant from outside the U.S., many cards will charge you a foreign transaction fee, which is often foreign_transaction_fee (Rates & Fees)of your purchase.The card_name waives this fee, meaning it’s a great card to bring with you when traveling abroad.

Purchase protections

There are two benefits that make the card_name a good payment option when making large purchases:

  • Extended warranty protection: Up to one year is added to manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less. You will receive up to $10,000 in coverage per eligible purchase (up to $50,000 in total payouts per account each calendar year).
  • Purchase protection: Eligible items are covered against theft or damage for 90 days after the purchase date. You’ll get up to $1,000 per item (up to $50,000 per account each calendar year).

Card alternatives

There are several other Hilton credit cards to choose from—and also a collection of non-Hilton cards that are handy for Hilton hotel stays.

Here’s a look at cards that compete with the card_name, along with a few of their best features.

Credit cardWelcome bonusRegular APRAnnual feeCredit score
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $2,000 on the card in the first three months of card membership.
$95
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
150,000 points after spending at least $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
$450
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type (Rates & Fees)
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type (Rates & Fees)
annual_fees (Rates & Fees)
credit_score_needed
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
$0
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
annual_fees
credit_score_needed
bonus_miles_full
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
annual_fees
credit_score_needed
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
10,000 Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first six months of account opening
$0

Bottom line

If you’re a bit skeptical of the notion that you can potentially travel for free with rewards credit cards, consider trying the card_name. This card is a perfect gateway product that will let you earn an astonishing number of points for relatively low effort and annual_fees annual fee.

That said, if you’re a Hilton junkie, it may be worth paying extra for the Amex Hilton Surpass or the Amex Hilton Aspire. Both these cards charge an annual fee but offer more Hilton-specific benefits.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What credit limit and minimum credit score are required to open the card_name?

You’ll need what is considered a “good” credit score to have the best shot at being approved for the card_name. That means a score of at least 670. However, it’s a good idea to refrain from opening travel rewards cards like this until your score is at least 700. At that level,, you’ve exhibited to yourself healthy credit habits and will be more confident in responsibility using credit.

American Express has been known to issue a credit line of as little as $1,000 with this card—even to people with credit scores that are very good.

How do I connect the card_name to my Hilton Honors dining account?

Hilton operates a program called Hilton Honors Dining, which gives you bonus Hilton points when dining at eligible restaurants. This is a great way to double-dip your rewards earnings: You’ll earn points from the dining program on top of the points you’ll earn from your credit card.

card_nameHilton Honors American Express Card to your Hilton Dining, log into your Hilton Dining account and click on the profile icon at the top right of the screen. You’ll then see a button that says “Linked cards.” This will take you to the page where you can add and set as default the card that you want the Hilton Honors Dining program to track. After completing this process, you’ll get bonus points when using your card at eligible restaurants.

Is the card_name made of metal?

No, the card_name is made of plastic.

How do you log into your card_name account online?

The card_name is issued by American Express. That means you’ll have to head to the American Express website (not the Hilton website) and enter your credentials to view your account.

What are my approval odds for the card_name?

As long as your credit score is 670 or above, you have a good chance of being approved. Just note that credit card issuers will look at other factors beyond your credit score, such as your income and the number of American Express credit cards you currently have.

It’s also worth noting that you aren’t eligible to earn this card’s bonus if you’ve earned it in the past.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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