Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express Review

"A Powerful Way To Boost Honors Points With No Annual Fee"

This card has no annual fee but earns 3-7x points at Hilton and U.S. gas stations, supermarkets, and restaurants. You'll also get an elite status boost and more!

Card Summary Table

The Ideal Cardholder

You can’t beat a comfy king-sized bed and room service. For many travelers, it’s the hotel that really makes or breaks an experience. If you’re one of those people, you’ve probably stayed at a Hilton hotel.

Whether your visits are for work or pleasure, the Hilton brand has you covered with over 4,600 locations in 100 counties and territories.

To enjoy a host of great benefits, you may want to apply for the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express.

Comfy King Sized Bed at a Hotel
This comfy king sized bed is just missing your body! Get a Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express before your next stay to earn a ton of extra Honors points.

Sign-Up Bonus, Points, and Silver Elite Status

Spend the required money in the allotted amount of time (see above) to earn bonus points under the current bonus offer from the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express.

Then, earn 7 points for every $1 you spend on hotel or resort stays within the Hilton Portfolio and 5 points for every $1 at U.S. supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations.

All other purchases earn you 3 points per $1. Hilton Honors bonus points are automatically posted to your Honors account.

While these points may not be applied toward elite status, card members automatically enjoy Silver status.

At Hilton, Silver status cardholders receive a 15% bonus on points earned from each stay (not from purchases), and perks like a 5th night free (on standard 5-night redemptions) plus complimentary access to health clubs or fitness centers where available.

Bottom Line: Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express members earn 3-7 points per dollar, and get automatic Silver Status in Hilton Honors!

Hilton Gold Status Benefits

With the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, you can also advance through the loyalty program tiers. As noted above, just being a member earns you Silver elite status, and from there it’s on to Gold!

Earn Gold status after spending $20,000 within a calendar year. By charging regular monthly purchases to your card, you can quickly bank points and meet this goal easier than you thought.

Another way to reach Gold status is with 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 Hilton Honors base points (not bonus points) within a calendar year.

This can be a good way for frequent travelers to qualify!

Under Gold status, you receive all of the benefits of Silver status plus a 25% bonus on Hilton Honors base points, room upgrades at participating hotels, and high-speed in-room WiFi.

For even more fantastic benefits, become a Diamond Member. It takes 30 stays, 60 nights, or 130,000 base points to reach this elite status tier.

Bottom Line: You can earn Gold status when you spend $20,000 or more per calendar year with the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express.

Other Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express Perks

Unlike most loyalty cards, the card has no annual fee. That in itself really sets it apart from other cards of this nature!

Plus, there are extra opportunities to earn points. For instance, every time you book a stay online at a participating Hilton Portfolio hotel or resort and pay with your card, you’ll receive 500 bonus points.

Don’t forget, this is an American Express card. So you get all the travel, entertainment, and shopping benefits from their program too. Perks like roadside assistance, extended warranties, and purchase protection greatly improve the value of the card.

Deciding whether to apply is a no-brainer since there’s not much not to dislike about the loyalty program.

Bottom Line: The Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express has no annual fee and also comes with extra perks like bonus points for booking online and many different card insurances.

Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express Downside

While you can earn points at a higher with rate the card, you’ll also need to redeem more points for a reward than with other loyalty programs.

For instance, although 5,000 points can get you a one-night stay, you are limited to rooms in Hotel Category 1. Pricier hotels cost more points. That’s because the standard reward value is only $4.00-$6.00 per 1,000 points.

So mid-level rooms usually require 20,000-60,000 points per night. if you want a room that usually goes for $200-$300 a night, expect to spend 50,000 points.

The highest tier is Hotel Category 10, which requires 70,000-95,000 points for 1 night…a considerable difference!

Bottom Line: The downside of this card is that the Hilton Honors program typically has some of the least valuable loyalty program points. However, you can earn lots of bonus points using the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express.

Card Review Conclusion

No annual fee, plenty of opportunities to earn points, and decent perks make the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express a solid option for most people.

Great Card If

  • You enjoy staying at Hilton hotels and want a card that will quickly rack up points
  • You will use your card to make all purchases so you can earn even more bonuses
  • You want a card with no annual fee that doesn’t skimp on benefits
  • You plan to earn Gold status quickly to take advantage of added benefits

Don't Get If

  • You don’t usually stay at hotels, or you prefer to stay somewhere besides Hilton when you do travel
  • Your primary goal is to transfer airline points

U.P. Pro Tips

As an owner of the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, you can earn tons of bonus points and take advantage of occasional offers for double or triple bonus points (on top of the Earning Style option).

Think about it: you can earn as many as 10 to 20 extra points per dollar by using your card!

Earn Two or Three Times Bonus HHonors Online
Take advantage of online bonus offers to double or triple the points you would normally earn for your stays!

How To Use the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express: The Upgraded Way™

Best Way To Maximize Points

Earn points in several different ways when you use your Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express.

Keep in mind that with this loyalty program, many of the most attractive rewards require a lot of points, so bank as many as possible by using multiple strategies!

Tip #1: Always use your card when you book a room at any of the many Hilton hotels. That way, you’ll earn 7x points on the card, plus bonus points for your elite status (15% for Silver, or 25% for Gold).

Tip #2: During your stay, charge all services to your room bill so they earn Hilton Honors points for their categories.

Tip #3: Visit the front desk each time you stay to ask about current elite status offers so you don’t miss out on extra points.

Tip #4: Sign in to your Honors profile and set your My Way Earning Style preference for extra points. Earn 10 base points plus 5 extra bonus points OR 1 mile per every $1 spent on your room (depending on the carrier.)

Tip #5: Make all of your regular purchases on the card. Remember, you earn 5 points per every $1 you spend at U.S. supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations. That really adds up from month to month, and it can propel you to the next elite status level!

Tip #6: Don’t limit supermarket purchases to household use. Why not buy food for the office too? Either way, you get 5x the points.

Tip #7: Be on the lookout for extra promotions. Hilton sporadically offers to double or triple your points per stay or purchase.

Bonus Tip:  Sign up to the dining program to earn lots of extra points for places you already eat!

Use Your HHonors Amex at Gas Stations
The next time you fill up your tank, you may want to use your Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express. You’ll get 5x points at the pump!

Best Way To Redeem Points

The complexity of the Honors system can make redeeming points earned with the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express a real challenge. Avoid the confusion by following our suggestions in this section.

Tip #1: Redeem for awards that require the fewest points (the minimum amount to redeem is 5,000). Your points will last longer this way.

Tip #2: Because room quality can vary widely among chains, ask the hotel if there are comparable rooms available at a lower redemption rate. Check reviews, too, so you have an idea of the room quality before redeeming your points.

Tip #3: Compare Points & Money rewards with the standard redemption option to determine which is the better value. Honors allows you to book standard reward stays with a combination of Honors points and cash instead of points only.

Tip #4: For example, you can redeem 50,000 points for a one-night stay at a Level 9 hotel. However, the Points & Money option allows you to redeem only 20,000 points plus pay $85 for the very same room.

Tip #5: Before redeeming points for a Premium Room award, calculate the cost of a Standard Room award. In most cases, the value is lower for a Premium award.

Our calculation found the value of a Standard award and Premium award to be $0.003 and $0.004, respectively. When redeeming for an award, every point counts!

Tip #6: One of the most popular Hilton promotions is the 5th night free option. Ensure you get the best value by always booking in multiples of 5, so that every 5-night redemption will equal a 1-night discount!

Hilton allows you to use this to get up to 4 free nights on a 20-night consecutive stay. Even better, this perk is automatically awarded during redemption.

Tip #7: Book your stay during off-peak periods to get a significant discount on points. Thousands of hotels allow you to book Standard Room awards for fewer points depending on when you visit.

The exact discount depends on the location and demand of each hotel. However, it’s possible to stay at a hotel that would usually cost 50,000 points for only 30,000 points during off-peak season.

Tip #8: Book your reservation online and pay for your stay using your card to earn 500 bonus points for each qualifying stay.

Partners

Hilton Honors has many travel partners worldwide that help you earn points, including the following companies:

Hilton Brand Hotels: Embassy Suites, Hilton, Curio, DoubleTree, Canopy, Conrad, Homewood Suites, Waldorf Astoria, Hampton, Home 2, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, tru by Hilton

Other Partners: Budget, Avis, Europcar, Car Club, National, Alamo, Sixt, CruisesOnly, One SimCard, Travelling Connect, Shop-to-Earn Mall, e-miles, DirecTV, LifeLock, NRG Home, Energy Plus, Hilton Honors Dining, Priority Pass

Airline Partners: American Airlines, Air China, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Australia.

Find a complete list of partners at the Hilton Honors website.

Exchange Points for Miles: Airline Partners

You can exchange the points you earn on the card to miles with certain Hilton Honors airline partners. With enough points, you can enjoy a reduced fare or even fly for free.  

Most partners require a minimum of 10,000 points to make a transfer, but the exchange rate varies according to the airline.

Here are the Points for Miles exchange rates for Hilton Honors airline partners in North America:

Points for Miles PartnerHilton Honors PointsExchange
AEROMEXICO25,0006,500 Premier Kilometers
AMERICAN AIRLINES10,0001,500 AAdvantage Miles
DELTA AIR LINES10,0001,000 Delta Miles
JETBLUE10,0001,000 TrueBlue
UNITED10,0001,000 MileagePlus
AEROPLAN (AIR CANADA)10,0001,000 Aeroplan Miles
FRONTIER AIRLINES10,0001,500 EarlyReturns Miles
ALASKA AIRLINES10,0001,000 Mileage Plan Miles
HAWAIIAN AIRLINES10,0001,500 HawaiianMiles
VIRGIN AMERICA10,0001,000 Elevate Points

Card Math

Hopefully, you’ve found this Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express review useful so far!

Now, let’s see how the card stands up to math. After all, benefits are terrific, but it’s hard to argue with cold, hard numbers!

How You Earn Points in Honors

First, we need to mention that the Honors program can be quite confusing compared to other loyalty programs. We’re going to try to break it down for you in a manner that makes sense.

  1. Base points: Typically, you will earn 10x points per dollar spent on rooms; we list the exceptions below.
  2. Choose a “My Way Earning Style”*: Earn bonus points or bonus miles by choosing a  “My Way Earning Style.” You are always free to change it again.
  3. Elite status bonus: Each elite status earns you bonuses on purchases: Silver is 15%, Gold is 25%, and Diamond is 50%. Bonuses only accrue as points and are calculated from the base.

*Hot Tip: You will not be automatically enrolled, so you must sign up in your Honors account to get this benefit. While the standard is 1x mile, bonus miles vary per carrier. There are dozens of partners from which to choose.

Here is a summary table of the points you can earn at each of the different tiers.

Choose Your Style Bonus (Choose One)
TierBase PointsElite Status Bonus PointsBonus PointsBonus Miles
Blue10051+
Silver101.551+
Gold102.551+
Diamond10551+

The exception is Home2 Suites, where you earn 5 base points plus the following bonus points: 0.75 (Silver), 1.25 (Gold), and 2.5 (Diamond).

Please read the FAQ to learn more. We will use normal rates for the math examples.

A Sample Calculation of Earned Points

You have the potential to rack up thousands of points just through hotel spending with the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express. Let’s take a look at how many you could earn using our trusted families as points of reference.

We’ll assume the Kennedys have Silver status, the Jetsons are Gold, and the Hartnells are Diamond. In this scenario, let’s also assume all of the families choose the points earning style.

FamilySpendCard RateHonors RateTotal Rate (Card + HH)Honors Points Earned
The Kennedys$1,8007x(10x + 1.5x + 5x) =  16.5x23.5x42,300
The Jetsons$6,0007x(10x + 2.5x + 5x) =  17.5x24.5x147,000
The Hartnells$10,5007x(10x + 5x + 5x) =  20x27x283,500

*Total rate of earning is calculated from all sources; then the total points are calculated for each family’s hotel spending.

The above families earn between 42,300 and 283,500 points per year. We’ll explain more about what that means in a moment.

Additional Methods of Earning

But that’s not all folks! Gold and Diamond members earn even more bonus points (measured per stay, not dollar) for stays at certain hotels.

The number of extra bonus points you can earn varies and just about every chain is different. The range we provide is the full range available.

FamilyTierExtra Bonus Points per stay (tier)Number of StaysTotal Bonus Points
—————Blue0n/an/a
The KennedysSilver0n/a0
The JetsonsGold100-1,00066,000
The HartnellsDiamond100-2,000816,000

*Potential bonus points that could be earned for higher level elite status members.

Let’s add the extra arrival gift bonus points to the previous points earned to arrive at a final tally:

FamilyGrand Total
The Kennedys42,300
The Jetsons153,000
The Hartnells299,500

*Total points earned from card purchases made at hotels plus bonus points for elite status arrival gifts.

Putting the Points into Perspective: Awards Rates

Hope you are still following along! Let’s put these point totals into perspective by looking at some examples of room calculations.

Fortunately, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express has no annual fee, so there’s no need to calculate for that.

While room awards are just as confusing as points, Hilton provides a table for reference.

Getting a free room depends not only on each hotel category but also the time of year you stay. You also have the option of splitting rewards through Points & Money, which can save you on both.

HOTEL CATEGORYHONORS POINTS REQUIRED FOR ONE FREE NIGHT
15,000 Points
210,000 Points
320,000 Points
420,000 to 30,000 Points
530,000 to 40,000 Points
630,000 to 50,000 Points
730,000 to 60,000 Points
840,000 to 70,000 Points
950,000 to 80,000 Points
1070,000 to 95,000 Points

*This chart was taken from the Hilton website, however the Hilton Award Chart is no longer available online and this chart might be outdated.

Here are the Points & Money costs for stays at each tier:

Points & Money Comparison
Hotel CategoryRewards PointsPoints & Money
15,0002,000 pts + $30
210,000 pts 4,000 + $35
320,000 pts 8,000 + $40
430,000 pts12,000 + $50
540,000 pts16,000 + $65
650,000 pts20,000 + $85
760,000 pts24,000 + $100
870,000 pts28,000 + $125
980,000 pts32,000 + $150
1095,000 pts38,000 + $200

Free Nights Earned in a Year

Now that you understand how many points you can earn and how much awards can cost, let’s calculate how many free nights you could earn over the year!

The table below details how many free nights each family could get from this level of earning, assuming they stay in a minimum Category 3 hotel.

Family# Free Nights
The Kennedy’s1-2
The Jetson’s2-7
The Hartnell’s3-14

If the minimum cost of a Category 3 room is $99, your free nights can be worth anywhere from $99 to $1,386!!

Using Points with Airline Partners: Comparing the Value

Of course, you also have the option of earning miles instead of points. The miles earnings for our families are 1,800, 6,000, and 10,500 miles respectively. Not an overwhelming number of miles, but enough to possibly boost you to an award.

Take note that you earn 5 bonus points versus 1 mile. If you use the example above ($0.004 per point), 5 Honors points are collectively worth $0.02.

Typically, this value is the minimum redemption for an air mile, so we can consider 1 mile equal to 5 Hilton Honors points. But now we are splitting our earnings between 2 different currencies.

When we looked at an example transfer ratio for points, we found you can get 1,500 AAdvantage miles for 10,000 Honors points.

If you apply the same value, the 10k points are worth $40 (although in reality it would be more because this is the minimum for a Category 2 free night) versus the $30 AAdvantage value of $0.02. In this case, the Honors points win hands-down.

Bottom Line: Don’t transfer points to airline miles without first considering the value of your options. In some cases, you may find hotel points to be more valuable than airline miles once you consider transfer and earning ratios.

Weigh the Value of Your Points Versus Miles
Before blindly choosing miles over points, determine which one earns you more value. You may be surprised to find Honors points more valuable than the airline miles you can earn!

Math Conclusion and Value of the Card

For a card with no annual fee, you get a pretty good value for the free nights you earn with the card.

Also, since the math was already complicated enough, we didn’t take into account the additional credit card points you would earn if you made purchases in several of the other spending categories.

By adding in the 5x points you can earn for U.S. gas station, drugstore, and supermarket purchases, you can earn even more free nights.

Bottom Line: The Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express offers value in 1-14 nights per our calculations. If you go through the trouble of setting up an account and make an effort to earn all of your bonus points, you can earn plenty of free nights.

The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know

This is a charge card, and you cannot carry a balance forward without permission.

On this card, the sign-up bonus is available to new cardmembers only. Once you meet the minimum requirements, your bonus points should appear in your account within 4-6 weeks.

Don’t risk missing out on your 5x points. Make sure merchants are properly coded for purchases at U.S. gas stations, drugstores, and supermarkets ahead of time.

As you have probably gathered by reading this review, the program can be somewhat confusing. In addition to signing up for all of the benefits we discussed, always confirm that you’re receiving the maximum points for your stay.

Other Unique Features

Here are the rest of the features and benefits you get from being an Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express member:

Complimentary Silver status in Honors – Silver status is an automatic perk. Without this, you would have to stay 10 nights or complete 4 stays to earn it on your own.

The value of this benefit alone can make the card worth signing up for, especially when considering there is no annual fee. Plus, with Silver status, you earn 15% bonus points on all stays.

Always ask the desk agent to add your bonus points to your Honors account for stays at Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites, Home2, and Hilton Grand Vacations.

Earn Gold status  – Make at least $20k in purchases to reach this tier and take advantage of the Gold status benefits. Or become a Gold member after 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 Hilton Honors base points in 1 year.

Earn 10,000 bonus points – For each year that you spend $1,000 or more on Hilton brand stays, your account is credited 10k bonus points. Your card must be open and in good standing at the end of the year to earn these points.

Car rental insurance – Decline the collision damage waiver when you rent a car with the card, and you’re covered if the vehicle is damaged or stolen.

Travel accident insurance Get coverage for accidental death and dismemberment when you charge your entire fare to the card.

Baggage insurance – You’re eligible for up to $1,250 if your baggage is lost, damaged, or stolen when you charge your entire fare to the card.

Dispute resolution American Express will assist you in resolving any fraudulent charges posted to your account.

Return protection – If you can’t return an item to the original merchant within 90 days of purchase, get reimbursed up to $300 per item, with a maximum of $1,000 per year.

Global assist hotline Use this free emergency hotline when traveling abroad to receive referrals and other emergency services.

Purchase protection – This insurance plan is for purchases that are broken, lost, or stolen within 90 days of purchase.

Extended warranty Get an extended warranty of 1 year for original manufacturers’ warranties less than 5 years.

Entertainment access – You’ll have access to a number of different types of events with exclusive ticket presales.

Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
King Sized Bed: Sutichak/Shutterstock
Bonus Graph: Constantin Stanciu/Shutterstock
Woman Getting Gas: Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock
Value Card: pathdoc/Shutterstock

Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express

Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express

FAQ

What are the benefits of the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express?
The card gives you automatic Silver status. You can earn Gold status by spending more than $20,000 on the card in one year.

In addition, you earn 3-7 points per dollar spent and a sign up bonus if you spend the required amount in the allotted time after signing up.

Not only do you receive benefits through a variety of Hilton Honors partners, you also receive American Express benefits such as travel and baggage insurance, return protection, and extended warranties.

How do I upgrade to the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express with Gold Status?
Become a Gold Status member after spending $20,000 on the card in a calendar year. Another way to qualify is with 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 Hilton Honors base points (not bonus points) within a calendar year.

Then you’ll receive all of the Silver status benefits plus a 25% bonus on points.

When do Hilton Honors points expire?
As long as your account remains active, your Hilton Honors points will not expire. To keep your account active, you need to stay at a Hilton hotel or redeem points every 12 months.

What are the differences between the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express vs Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card?
While both cards give you complimentary Silver status, there are some differences.

The Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card offers fast-track to Gold status after 4 stays at any Hilton hotel within your first 90 days of account opening OR when you make $20,000+ in purchases each calendar year.

However, the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express allows you to earn 3-7x points, while you can only earn 2-6x points with the other card.

Is the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express worth it?
With the card, you receive a variety of benefits, opportunities to earn tons of points, and a great sign-up bonus. Plus, there’s no annual fee.

Not only do you get complimentary Silver status, you also get a number of benefits through the American Express program.

There are no real negatives to owning the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express.

It is important to note that international travelers may not want to use this card overseas since it does have a foreign transaction fee.

Does the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express have a foreign transaction fee?
Yes, there is a 2.7% transaction fee after conversion to U.S. dollars.

How do I upgrade the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express to the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express?
Card holders can apply to upgrade to the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express card by calling their customer service line.