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Just in time for the holiday travel season, the Hilton American Express is increasing its signup bonus to 65,000 HHonors Points, which we value at $325. Goodbye, in-laws’ couch, hello, swanky hotel room! The offer – on the no-fee Hilton HHonors card, no less – is up from 40,000 points worth $200. But the offer’s only good through November 30th, so if you’re looking to save on holiday hotel stays, get on it!
Previously, you’d get 40,000 bonus points for spending $750 in the first 3 months of card membership. Now, you’ll still get the 40,000 for spending $750 in 3 months, but you’ll get an additional 25,000 if you spend $3,000 in 6 months. That’s an increase in value of $125 – nothing to scoff at.
Please note: This deal isn’t offered by NerdWallet (shh!) so please triple-check the terms and conditions. While we make every effort to provide solid information, we can’t guarantee any promotions that don’t come through us.
No-fee Hilton American Express offers quick rewards and solid perks
For having no annual fee, the Hilton HHonors Credit Card packs quite a punch:
- Automatic Silver elite status for the life of the card
- 6 HHonors Points for every $1 spent on Hilton hotels, groceries, drugstores, gas and cable/utilities/phone bills
- 3 points per $1 spent elsewhere
Since we value HHonors Points at 1/2 cent apiece, that works out to a 3% bonus rewards rate and 1.5% base rate. Given the breadth of the bonus categories, we’d say that for Hilton guests, the card is well worth it.
Hilton HHonors Surpass raises rewards rate on hotel stays
Not to be outdone, the American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass is upping its rewards rate on Hilton spending, beginning on November 1st. (Existing cardmembers will see this increase from their November billing statement onward.) It now gives 12 HHonors Points per $1 spent at the hotels, up from 9. For a $75 annual fee, the card features:
- Complimentary Gold status in the first year
- Priority Pass lounge access (valued at $99 by itself)
- 12 points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels
- 6 points per $1 spent on groceries, drugstores, gas and cable/utilities/phone bills
- 3 points per $1 spent elsewhere
- A 60k-point signup bonus: 40k with your first purchase, and 20k when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
It used to be a clear-cut decision: The Surpass, well, surpassed the no-fee card. However, with this promotion, those who don’t stay at the Hilton enough to justify the fee can get a reasonable value out of the no-fee Amex. Want to snag the bonus and never look back? The no-fee card’s the way to go, at least for now. But if you’re the kind who’d like access to 600+ airport lounges worldwide (and who isn’t?), the Priority Pass membership alone is enough to tip the scales in the Surpass’ favor.
Downsides of the Hilton Amex cards
Of course, the Hilton Amex cards aren’t perfect. Here are a few drawbacks:
- They’re American Express. This means they face lower acceptance rates than do Visa and MasterCard. Two Hilton-branded Visa alternatives are the Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card and the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. It’s generally a good idea to keep a no-fee Visa or MasterCard just in case the merchant doesn’t take Amex.
- They have a foreign transaction fee. Both cards have a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, so if you travel abroad, check out our list of cards with no F/X fee. (Some of those have no annual fee as well).
- If you don’t stay at the Hilton, your points will be devalued. Of course, the cards are meant for frequent Hilton guests (or the people who use the bonus to get a free stay, then never touch the card again). More general travel cards include the Capital One Venture Rewards (2 easy-to-redeem miles per $1) and the Starwood American Express (2.3% rewards if you redeem for Starwood hotel stays, 1.25% rewards if you redeem for airline miles).
But if you’re a fan of the Hilton hotels, take advantage of this bonus offer to snag some HHonors Points risk-free. Remember – the deal ends on November 30th.