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Updated June 28, 2018

Hilton Credit Card Review: $0 Annual Fee Worth It?

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Hilton Honors American Express Card is a popular hotel credit card. So what's the catch? Read on to see if the Hilton AMEX is worth applying for.

American Express Hilton
Apply Now

Overall Score

4.0

Rewards

4.5

Fees

4.5

Benefits

3.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Bonus points
  • No annual fee
  • Honors Silver status
  • Not Visa/Mastercard

Bottom Line

Good secondary credit card to earn points for hotel stays

We have to say: it's rare to find a travel credit card with no annual fee. It's nice to see that the Hilton Honors card from American Express goes against the grain with no annual fee (See Rates & Fees).

What it offers: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.

That's a straightforward way to save money on your next Hilton hotel stay, but is this card worth the space it will take up in your wallet? Keep reading to see what we like (and dislike) about this card.

We'll also discuss below how this offer compares to other hotel credit cards.

Is Hilton American Express Worth It?

In our opinion: the Hilton Honors Card from American Express could be a smart addition to your wallet if you tend to stay at a Hilton property when you travel and you want a way to save up for future hotel stays.

However, if you want your next new credit card to be an all-around, good-for-everything purchasing tool, you may want to think twice.

We feel the Hilton Honors AMEX is best suited as a secondary card — view it as a supporting actor to the star of your wallet, which should be a credit card that offers a broad set of reward options and a variety of redemption opportunities.

Let's dig into the details about why you should consider packing this card for your next trip and why you may want to leave it at home.

Reasons to Get the Hilton Honors Credit Card

Hilton Cancún
Hilton Cancún © Christian Van Der Henst S. (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

We've broken down the card's benefits and features that impress us.

  1. You can get a bonus. Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.

    That's a lower threshold than many other travel cards.

  2. You won't pay an annual fee. A lot of travel credit cards charge an annual fee, but not in this case. With this card, you don't have to worry about using it often enough to justify an annual fee.

  3. You'll score points on hotel stays. You can rack up significant rewards if you're an habitual Hilton user. Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.

  4. You'll earn Hilton Honors points on everyday purchases. You'll earn 5 points for each dollar you charge on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.

  5. And you get points elsewhere. The card will give you 3 points per dollar on other eligible purchases.

  6. You can usually find a place to stay with your rewards. You don't have to worry about blackout dates when it comes time to redeem your Hilton Honors points. As long as there's a standard room available, you can redeem your points for it.

    If you're willing to stay at what may be viewed as a lesser hotel (considered a category 1 by Hilton), your points can go further. A category 1 hotel costs 5,000 points a night while a category 2 hotel costs 10,000 points a night. The highest category rated hotels will eat up 70,000 to 95,000 points per night.

  7. You'll get points when you book online. Aside from the points you'll earn when you pay for your hotel stay, you also get a 500-point bonus when you use your card to reserve a room through a Hilton website.

  8. You get travel benefits. This card comes with several features that are designed to make your trip run a little more smoothly, including travel accident insurance, baggage insurance, roadside assistance, and access to the 24-hour global assistance hotline.

  9. You get hotel perks. New cardholders automatically reach Silver Status for their Hilton Honors membership. This means you can get the 5th night free if you redeem your rewards to stay in a standard room for at least 5 nights. Another plus with this status: complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs during stays (this may not apply for properties with a resort charge). And if you charge $20,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year, you'll get Gold Status through the end of the next calendar year.

  10. No foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees). This card comes with no foreign transaction fees for international purchases. If you regularly travel outside the U.S., this is a nice benefit.

  11. Your purchases are protected. Members get complimentary purchase protection on eligible purchases against theft or damage as well as an extended warranty on eligible purchases. You also get return protection in case you need to return an eligible item but the merchant won't take it back. Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of the card.

REASONS TO LOOK ELSEWHERE

Intrigued by the Hilton Honors card but not sure how much you will benefit? There are reasons the card is a turnoff for some travelers:

  • Your choice of hotels is limited. While you can earn points with this card at places other than Hilton hotels, it's really designed for travelers who prefer Hilton to other brands. If you don't want to be tied to a particular brand, take a look at other cards on the market.

    Related: Hotel Credit Cards

  • There's no introductory rate (See Rates & Fees). A big reason consumers apply for new cards is to get a 0% interest deal for a limited time. You won't find that with this card.

    Related: Credit Cards with 0% APR Promotions

HOW IT COMPARES

It's always smart to shop around. These a few popular alternatives to the Hilton Honors card that also offer the potential for free hotel stays.

Hilton Honors Surpass:

BOTTOM LINE

Hilton Hotel In Belfast
Hilton Hotel In Belfast © William Murphy (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

A obvious prerequisite for wanting the Hilton Honors card is that you're a fan and, secondly, that you'll have opportunities to stay at Hilton properties in the months and years ahead (the bonus offer will help with that).

When you use your rewards credit cards strategically (by always using this card for Hilton charges as well as charges at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations while using another rewards card for your other purchases), you can rack up a significant number of rewards that can be redeemed for a future vacation.

Terms and limitations apply.

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

For rates and fees of the American Express Hilton card, please click here.

Disclaimer: The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.


Hilton Honors American Express Card
Apply for Hilton Honors American Express Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn up to $100 in Statement Credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Enjoy international travel without additional fees on purchases made abroad.
  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card. Plus, spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn an upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
18.74% - 27.74% Variable
$0

Compare American Express Hilton to:

Compare American Express Hilton vs Delta SkyMiles Gold
Apply for Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
18.74% - 27.74% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99

Compare American Express Hilton vs American Express Platinum
Apply for The Platinum Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/ASee Pay Over Time APR
$695
Leave a comment about Hilton Credit Card Review: $0 Annual Fee Worth It?




About CreditDonkey
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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