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If you're a Hilton loyalist who doesn't want to pay an annual fee for a credit card, then the Hilton Honors American Express Card fits the bill. As is likely no surprise, its $0 annual fee also means downsized perks in comparison to other Hilton credit cards. Terms apply.
Here's how to know whether the Hilton Honors American Express Card is worth getting, or if it’s better to get an annual-fee Hilton credit card to double down on valuable perks.
» Learn more: Hilton Honors: The complete guide
A welcome offer worth potentially a couple free nights
What’s not to like about a no-annual-fee card that offers a sizable welcome offer?
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. NerdWallet's recent evaluation determined that Hilton Honors points are worth 0.5 cent each.
Although the co-branded Hilton Honors credit cards that have an annual fee typically come with at least 125,000, the welcome offer on the humble Hilton Honors American Express Card is incredible considering you won’t have to fork over a fee. Terms apply.
What to consider: Does it make sense to upgrade to an annual fee card to earn a larger welcome bonus?
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best no-annual-fee credit cards
Perks at no cost
Like most no-annual-fee credit cards, you won’t find any earth-shattering benefits on the Hilton Honors American Express Card. But it offers a few extra perks for those who don’t hold any level of Hilton Honors status.
The card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status, which gets you:
Fifth night free on reward stays.
20% bonus points on stays.
Two free bottles of water.
Elite rollover nights.
NerdWallet calculated the value of the benefits offered by the major hotel elite status tiers and found that Hilton Honors Silver is worth $23.
What to consider: If you are a Hilton loyalist it may be worth paying a higher annual fee to enjoy the A-list perks that come with a premium co-branded Hilton credit card such as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (annual fee of $450). With those cards, better perks include free breakfast, room upgrades and more. If you're buying breakfast anyway, you may find the annual-fee versions worth it to cover those expenses alone.
Earn solid rewards
The Hilton Honors American Express Card’s earning rates break down like this:
7 Hilton Honors bonus points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at hotels and resorts 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.
With Hilton points valued at 0.5 cent each, you’ll be earning the equivalent of 2.5 cents per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. With the additional 20% bonus points earned with Silver status, you’ll earn 19 points (worth about 7.6 cents) per $1 when you use your card to pay for Hilton stays.
What to consider: If you are not a Hilton loyalist but stay at the occasional property in Hilton’s portfolio, this card may be the perfect choice to earn extra points on Hilton stays.
Is the Hilton Honors American Express Card worth applying for?
Earning bonus points from a welcome offer on a credit card with no annual fee is never a bad deal. However, there are some considerations for determining whether this Hilton Honors American Express Card is worth getting, including the fact that this card will take up a 5/24 slot — meaning a chance to earn welcome bonuses on Chase branded credit cards — or if you value the additional benefits that come with a premium co-branded Hilton Honors credit card.
The bottom line is that this card is worth getting if you’re not a Hilton Honors loyalist but periodically stay at Hilton properties. With this card, you’ll be ready to rack up extra points earnings when you stay with Hilton without paying a fee every year. If you already stay at Hiltons regularly, or already have Silver status, consider one of their fee-based cards for elevated perks.
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:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card