How to Get a Hilton Credit Card

The right Hilton card for you will depend on your spending habits and willingness to pay an annual fee.
Jun 16, 2022

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

As one of the biggest hotel chains in the world, Hilton offers plenty of properties for your next vacation. Whether you’re traveling to California or South Africa, there’s a Hilton hotel for rest after a day of adventures.

With such a wide variety of locations, you may be thinking about getting a Hilton credit card. For Hilton enthusiasts, there are several co-branded credit cards to choose from, including one with a no-fee option.

Here's a look at how to get a Hilton credit card, the different options and what to consider before applying.

Hilton credit card options

There are four options — three personal cards and one business card — for people who want to apply for a Hilton credit card, each offered by American Express.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

American Express Hilton HonorsTM Card from American Express Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More
  • Welcome offer: 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. Terms Apply.

  • Annual fee: $0.

  • Earning rates: 7x at hotels in the Hilton Honors program, 5x on U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3x everywhere else.

  • Automatic elite status: Silver.

  • Earned elite status: Gold after spending $20,000 in a calendar year.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors Ascend
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More
  • Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Annual fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

  • Earning rates: 12x at hotels in the Hilton Honors program, 6x on U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3x everywhere else.

  • Automatic elite status: Gold.

  • Earned elite status: Diamond after spending $40,000 in a calendar year.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Other benefits: Earn a free weekend night certificate after spending $15,000 in a calendar year and receive 10 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits each year. Enrollment required.

Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Annual fee: $450.

  • Earning rates: 14x at hotels in the Hilton Honors program, 7x on flights booked directly with airlines or AmEx Travel, on U.S. restaurants and on car rentals booked directly with select companies and 3x everywhere else.

  • Automatic elite status: Diamond.

  • Complimentary weekend night certificate each year after renewal.

  • Statement credit: $100 Hilton resort credit each year.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Other benefits: Earn a second free night certificate after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year, Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required) and $250 annual airline fee credit.

Terms apply.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More
  • Welcome offer: Welcome Offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Annual fee: $95.

  • Earning rates: 12x at hotels in the Hilton Honors program, 6x on U.S. gas stations, U.S. wireless telephone service, U.S. shipping, flights booked directly with the airline or AmEx Travel and on car rentals booked directly with select companies and 3x everywhere else.

  • Automatic elite status: Gold.

  • Earned elite status: Diamond after spending $40,000 in a calendar year.

  • Foreign transaction fees: None.

  • Other benefits: Earn a weekend free night certificate after spending $15,000 in a calendar year, a second free night certificate after spending $60,000 in a calendar year and 10 complimentary Priority Pass visits each year. Enrollment required.

Terms apply.

How to apply for a Hilton credit card

To begin the application process for a Hilton credit card, click the "Apply Now" button on each card’s review page:

The questions on your application will depend on the card you’re applying for; business cards may require additional information about your business and its earnings. Be sure to have your personal information on hand to simplify the process.

Things to ask before applying for a Hilton credit card

There are a variety of Hilton credit cards available for every kind of traveler, but which one is right for you? Consider these questions to help you decide.

Do you want to pay an annual fee? How much?

Hilton’s credit card offerings include a no-fee option, which can be an excellent choice for those looking to minimize their costs. Along with Silver elite status, the Hilton Honors American Express Card allows you to earn Hilton points on all your purchases. However, benefits on the card are quite limited. Terms apply.

On the other end of the spectrum lies the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, which charges $450 per year but comes with $350 in credits, Diamond elite status and a free weekend night each year. This bevy of benefits more than makes up for the annual fee if you can use them — but you’ll still end up paying the $450 fee each year, which may put off more casual travelers. Terms apply.

Which card has bonus categories that overlap with your frequent expenses?

The bonus categories for these cards differ depending on which card you hold. If you’re often spending a lot of money on groceries, gas and restaurants, one of the lower-tier cards may be a good option for you.

But if you’re a frequent Hilton customer and you tend to book a lot of flights, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card could be a better fit — you won’t find a better return on Hilton spending anywhere else. Terms apply.

Should you opt for a different credit card?

If you don’t want to earn Hilton points on all your purchases, you may instead want to look for a travel credit card with more flexible points. American Express Membership Rewards transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio, which means one AmEx point becomes two Hilton points (and there are sometimes transfer bonuses which can increase this number). Terms apply.

However, you’ll want to consider the value of transferring your points; Hilton points tend to be worth less overall than AmEx points, so it may not be a good value to do so.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5x AmEx points on flights, which you can convert into twice as many Hilton Honors points — more than the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers. Terms apply.

How hard is it to get a Hilton credit card?

AmEx has its own rules when it comes to getting a credit card, and each card has different approval requirements. However, some things that may affect your eligibility are having applied for a specific card previously and your credit score.

AmEx has a once-per-lifetime rule that limits the number of times you can earn a card’s welcome offer. This means that if you’ve applied for and received a welcome offer on one of these Hilton cards before, you won’t be eligible to do so again.

Each of these credit cards requires a good to excellent credit score, which is in the FICO 690-850 range. If your credit isn't in that range, you may have to build your credit before applying for a Hilton credit card.

Hilton Honors credit card credit score requirements

You’ll find the same credit score recommendations for each of Hilton’s four credit cards: 690 -850. These scores don’t guarantee that you’ll receive a card if you apply, but they do improve your chances of success.

If you’re looking to apply for a Hilton credit card

Hilton’s lineup of co-branded credit cards offers a broad selection of options, no matter how often you travel. If you’re not inclined to pay for an annual fee, the Hilton Honors card may be a good option for you. Otherwise, both the mid-tier Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the high-end Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offer strong benefits in exchange for their fees. Terms apply.

If you’d prefer to have a card with more flexible rewards, AmEx points can be transferred over to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio, giving you more flexibility on your travel options. If you do transfer AmEx points, however, be sure to first verify if it constitutes a good use of your points. Terms apply.

Photo courtesy of Hilton.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page. All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. To view rates and fees of The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, see this page.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.