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Updated June 28, 2018

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

Read more about Hilton Honors American Express Card from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
This article contains references to products from our partners. We receive compensation if you apply through links in our content. You help support CreditDonkey by reading our website and using our links. (read more)

Hilton Honors American Express Card is a hotel credit card with no annual fee, so what's the catch? Read on to see if the Hilton AMEX is worth applying for.

American Express Hilton
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Overall Score

4.3

Rewards

4.5

Fees

4.5

Benefits

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Bonus points
  • No annual fee
  • Honors Silver status
  • No intro APR

Bottom Line

Good secondary credit card with no annual fee 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.

What it does have: 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card 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. This card offers new cardmembers 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card 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. You'll get 7 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases at a Hilton hotel or resort.

  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, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.

  5. And you get points elsewhere. The card will give you 3 points per dollar on other 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. 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 for the first 90 days as well as an additional one-year extended warranty. You also get up to $1,000 per year in return protection in case you need to return an eligible item but the merchant won't take it back.

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. 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 Ascend:

 Hilton Honors American Express CardHilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
 Apply NowApply Now
 

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

 

Summary

 
  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and 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
  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
 

Interest Rates and Fees

Purchase APR17.74% to 26.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors17.74% to 26.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR17.74% to 26.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors17.74% to 26.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$95 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsIntroductory Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.Introductory Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Bonus Hotel Rewards Bonus Hotel Rewards: Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
Hotel RewardsHotel Rewards: Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.Hotel Rewards: Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
Airline Status Airline Status: Complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership for access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide. Enrollment required for Priority Pass Select. 10 complimentary lounge visits every year once enrolled. Subsequent visits are subject to a fee of $27 per person per visit.
Hotel StatusHotel Status: 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.Hotel Status: Enjoy complimentary Gold status with your Hilton Honors Ascend Card. Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
Gas RewardsGas Rewards: Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations.Gas Rewards: Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. gas stations.
Grocery RewardsGrocery Rewards: Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. supermarkets.Grocery Rewards: Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. supermarkets.
Dining RewardsDining Rewards: Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants.Dining Rewards: Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants.
 Apply NowApply Now

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

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. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped travelers make savvy decisions. (read more)

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.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on November 13, 2015. This content may have been updated on June 28, 2018. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check American Express website for updated information.

More from CreditDonkey:

More Articles in Reviews

Hilton Honors American Express Card
Apply for Hilton Honors American Express Card
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and 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
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsHotel RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsDining RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection Baggage InsuranceTravel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.74% - 26.74% Variable
$0

Compare American Express Hilton to:

Compare American Express Hilton vs Starwood Preferred Guest
Apply for Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 6 points for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® and Marriott Rewards® hotels and 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Select hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy complimentary, unlimited Boingo Wi-Fi on up to four devices at more than 1,000,000 Boingo hotspots worldwide. Enrollment required.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Hotel RewardsBonus Airline RewardsBonus Hotel RewardsHotel RewardsNo Limits on RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn Protection Travel Accident Insurance$0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.74% - 26.74% Variable
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

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