Editorial Review

Hilton AmEx Review: Solid Rewards for No Annual Fee

This card doesn't come with premium travel perks, but it's a good value for occasional travelers who enjoy staying with Hilton and earning points on everyday purchases.

Kimberly PalmerApril 12, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: If you’re loyal to Hilton properties and don’t want to pay an annual fee, then this card offers decent value. But don’t expect premium benefits.

American Express Hilton HonorsTM Card from American Express Credit Card

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

recommended credit score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • High rewards rate

  • No annual fee

Cons
  • Few premium travel perks

Alternate Pick: 2 miles back on everything

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Flat-rate rewards, no loyalty required

This card offers 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for travel and can be used toward any travel purchase.

Read our review

Full Review

If you frequently stay at Hilton properties — and there are a lot to choose from, with over 5,000 around the world — the Hilton Honors American Express Card could be a good choice for you, especially if you're not interested in paying an annual fee.

In addition to earning Hilton Honors bonus points at a healthy clip for Hilton hotel or resort stays, you'll also be rewarded for using the card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. Plus, the card grants you automatic Silver status, which means a 20% bonus on Hilton Honors points earned and a complimentary fifth night when you book a stay of five nights or more at a Hilton property using only points.

Of course, if you’re spending that much time at Hilton hotels, you might be better off upgrading to the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, which comes with a $95 annual fee but also offers a more generous rewards rate, plus perks like airport lounge access.

Key benefits of the Hilton Honors American Express Card

Card type: Hotel.

Welcome offer: 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. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: The ongoing APR is 17.99% - 26.99% Variable APR.

Ongoing rewards:

  • 7 Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar spent on eligible purchases with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio. Terms apply.

  • 5 points per dollar spent on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. Terms apply.

  • 3 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

  • Points are worth 0.4 cents each on average, according to NerdWallet valuations.

(Keep in mind that the points you accrue with this card are in addition to the Hilton Honors base points you already earn for every eligible dollar spent on Hilton rooms. Also note that those base points will get a boost thanks to the automatic status you'll get via the Hilton Honors American Express Card. More on all of this below.)

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Other benefits:

  • The card comes with complimentary Silver status, which gives you a 20% bonus on Hilton Honors base points as well as a fifth night free whenever you use points to book five or more nights at a Hilton property.

  • You can upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status if you spend $20,000 or more on your card in a calendar year. That gives you an 80% points bonus, as well as complimentary breakfasts at all hotels, plus room upgrades where available.

Reasons to get the Hilton Honors American Express Card

You're a Hilton loyalist but can’t stand paying annual fees: Annual fees can be well worth it if the benefits you get from the card exceed the cost of carrying it. Still, for some people, any kind of annual fee is a deal breaker. If you fall into that category, the Hilton Honors American Express Card might be for you, particularly when you consider that you'll still earn decent rewards and perks with the card.

You want to collect points quickly: Speaking of those rewards, the Hilton Honors American Express Card earns them not just on Hilton stays but also on a wide range of everyday spending categories, including U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. Terms apply. And don't forget that the points you earn on Hilton stays with the card are in addition to the 10 Hilton Honors base points you earn for every eligible dollar spent on Hilton rooms, not to mention the 20% boost you get on those base points via your Silver status.

You don’t travel enough to warrant upgrading to a premium card: If you're only an occasional traveler, you may not be interested in luxury perks like airport lounge access or automatic higher-level status, both of which are available via the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card — for an annual fee.

Reasons to pass on the Hilton Honors American Express Card

You enjoy comparing hotel rates across various brands to get the best deal: The Hilton Honors American Express Card is not a good fit for someone who avoids loyalty to any single hotel brand. If you prefer searching on discount travel sites for the best deal, you probably want to pick a card that will reward you for your comparison shopping habits.

You travel enough that luxury perks are worth itIf you travel so much that hotels feel like your second home, you might want to consider a card that will grant you greater comfort and richer rewards. The aforementioned Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card offers some of those benefits, but even it lacks one of the most valuable perks of all. Speaking of ...

You want a free automatic award night: Neither the Hilton Honors American Express Card nor the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card will grant you a free automatic award night each year — an otherwise common benefit among co-branded hotel cards that, all by itself, can easily make up for the cost of an annual fee. If you're looking for such a perk, and if you don't mind straying from the Hilton brand, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card may be worth a look. The Marriott chain is virtually ubiquitious, and the card's annual fee is $95.

Is the Hilton Honors American Express Card right for you?

If you're opposed to cards with annual fees and you’re loyal to Hilton properties when you travel, the Hilton Honors American Express Card  could be a good choice to help you earn and redeem points. But if you’re a frequent traveler who likes to compare your hotel options, other cards can offer higher rewards and better perks.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, please visit this page.