How to Get the Most from the Hilton Honors American Express Card

The Hilton Honors AmEx is one of the rare hotel cards without an annual fee that comes with elite status.
Rand Shoaf
By Rand Shoaf 
Edited by Jeanette Margle
How to get the most from the Hilton Honors American Express Card

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.

If you just became the newfound owner of — or are considering applying for — the Hilton Honors American Express Card, make sure you're maximizing your new card.

You’re probably already savvy to the basics that this card offers if you’ve done some research. However, if reading the fine print isn't one of your hobbies, that's what we're here for. We read it for you, so you'll know how to maximize the card’s full potential.

Here are the most important things you need to do in order to maximize your Hilton Honors American Express Card.

Maximize the welcome offer

American Express has a strict rule that allows you to earn the welcome offer only once per card in your lifetime. Credit card welcome bonus offers can change over time. So to get the most value, keep an eye on the Hilton Honors American Express Card welcome bonus offer and apply for the card when the bonus is high.

Happily, now could be a good time: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. Hilton Honors points are worth 0.6 cent each according to NerdWallet’s current miles and points valuations. Because this card has a $0 annual fee, it’s a prime way to quickly rack up extra Hilton Honors rewards points. Terms apply.

Just make sure you actually meet the requirement to earn that welcome offer. Set a calendar reminder a couple weeks out from the deadline to earn the offer to make sure you've actually spent enough to earn it. If you haven't, you might want to start paying for all your friends' dinners out, ASAP.

Use your perks

The Hilton Honors American Express Card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status. Although this isn't considered a top-tier elite status level (in fact, it's pretty meh), it can get you a few extra perks when you stay at Hilton hotels. Terms apply.

Noteworthy benefits of Hilton Honors Silver status include:

  • Fifth night free on award stays.(more on that later).

  • Earn 20% bonus points on stays.

  • Two free bottles of water.

  • Elite rollover nights.

Many Silver status benefits revolve around earning and using points, rather than getting treated like an A-list celebrity during your stays. With this card, you can earn Hilton Honors points faster and stretch your points further when it’s time to redeem free nights.

Book five consecutive award nights to get the fifth night free

This is really the most valuable Hilton-specific perk. You'll get your fifth night free on reward stays as a holder of Hilton Silver status. Depending on your personal accounting, that's akin to a 20% points discount on five-night stays. If you hold this card, ideally, you're someone who unpacks and stays in hotels for at least five days rather than jumps from hotel to hotel every night so you can get that sweet discount. What's more, the benefit applies to increments of five nights. So, if you've got an extended stay on your calendar, you can get every fifth night free four times (so you'd stay in a hotel 20 nights total). Likewise, a 15-night stay entails three free nights.

Earn even more Hilton Honors points

You’ll earn points every time you use this card to make purchases, but you’ll earn the most when you use it to pay for Hilton stays booked directly through the hotel. You’ll also earn solid rewards in several everyday spending categories. Terms apply.

With the Hilton Honors American Express Card, you’ll earn:

  • 7 Hilton Honors bonus points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.

  • 5 points per $1 spent on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

Considering we value one Hilton point at 0.6 cent each, you're looking at a roughly 3% return on spending at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. Especially for a card with a $0 annual fee, that's a swell deal and makes this a primo way to earn Hilton points for that everyday spending.

Just one annoying note: this card won't be the best choice for these types of purchases when traveling internationally because restaurant, supermarket and gas station bonus earnings are in the U.S. only. Terms apply.

The bottom line

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is a great option if you’re focused on earning oodles of Hilton points for your daily spending more so than just having fancy elite status. If you jump on a high welcome bonus offer, then you'll already be off to a strong start. Then, use the card to make purchases in the categories where you’ll earn the most points and look for opportunities to enjoy a fifth night free on award stays.

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 2023, 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.