Earn 130,000 Bonus Points With The Hilton American Express Credit Card

Earn 130,000 Bonus Points With The Hilton American Express Credit Card

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Our quick take: The Hilton Honors American Express Card helps travel enthusiasts rack up Hilton points without having to pay an annual fee. The welcome bonus is enough for several free nights on its own, but this card’s exceptional earning rate on Hilton stays and everyday spending really help it stand out.

Pros:

Earn 7 points for every dollar you spend on Hilton purchases Earn 5 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations Earn 3 points per dollar on all other purchases Complimentary Silver elite status with the Hilton Honors program No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) No annual fee (see rates and fees) Cons:

No VIP perks other than Hilton Silver status Hilton Honors points are worth less than some competing hotel loyalty programs Current welcome bonus: Earn up to 130,000 bonus points split into two tiers: 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months after opening the account, and another 50,000 bonus points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first six months.

Best for: Infrequent travelers who want a way to earn Hilton Honors points without paying an annual fee.

The Hilton Honors program lets you redeem points for hotel stays at more than 5,000 properties around the world. This includes luxury properties like the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels and Resorts, yet you can also redeem points for stays at everyday hotels like Hilton Garden Inn and DoubleTree properties. You can book a free night at a roadside motel, or you can save up your points for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in luxury destinations like the Maldives or Bora Bora. The choice is yours.

If you’re interested in earning free hotel stays at properties like these but you’re not a full-fledged Hilton enthusiast, the Hilton Honors American Express Card could be an exceptional fit. This card lets you rack up points in the Hilton Honors program without paying an annual fee, so it’s a good card to keep for the long haul regardless of how often you travel.

The Hilton Amex Card offers a generous rewards rate on Hilton stays and on regular spending, with 5 points for every dollar you spend at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases. However, Hilton Honors points aren’t worth as much as other major hotel loyalty programs, so it’s important to keep in mind the actual value of your rewards.

Hilton is easily one of the best hotel loyalty programs to consider if you’re someone who likes to combine points with other family members before you redeem them. This program lets you pool your points with up to 10 other program members with no fees attached.

The Hilton Amex Card currently features one of the highest welcome offers we’ve ever seen on it. New card members can earn up to 130,000 bonus points split across two tiers. You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months after opening the account, and another 50,000 bonus points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first six months.

Considering free hotel stays with Hilton start at just 5,000 points per night, it’s easy to see how this bonus could be the starting point for a ton of free travel.

Hilton Hotels

Redeem the points you earn with the Hilton Honors American Express card at spots like the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas.

Not only does the Hilton Amex Card earn points in the program with no annual fee, but you’ll also get automatic Silver elite status with the Hilton Honors program. While this is Hilton’s lowest-status tier, you’ll still qualify for benefits like complimentary internet access, late checkout and two complimentary bottles of water whenever you’re staying at a Hilton property.

If you want to climb up toward higher levels of status with more benefits, you can also earn Hilton Gold status when you spend $20,000 on the Hilton Amex Card within a calendar year. However, in that case, you might be better off with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, which comes with complimentary Gold status but also carries a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Related: Read CNN Underscored’s review of the Hilton Surpass Amex credit card.

The biggest disappointment of the Hilton Amex Card is the fact that it comes with meager benefits for travel enthusiasts. You’ll get automatic Hilton Silver status and a few basic hotel loyalty perks, but not much else. The only other benefits of note are secondary auto rental coverage, a Global Assist hotline and no foreign transaction fees.

Also keep in mind that this card is relatively weak when you compare it to other Hilton credit cards that offer bigger welcome bonuses and more generous earning rates. However, all other Hilton credit cards in the American Express portfolio carry an annual fee — the Hilton Amex Card is the only one that doesn’t, which may be more appealing to some people than extra benefits.

It’s also important to keep in mind that not all travel rewards are equal, and Hilton Honors points are worth less than many other airline and hotel loyalty programs. Frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Hilton Honors points at just 0.6 cents apiece, so even if you’re earning 3 points per dollar on all your everyday purchases with the Hilton Amex Card, that’s an effective return of only 1.8%, which is lower than the return you’ll get with our benchmark credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Related: Read CNN Underscored’s review of the Citi Double Cash Card.

CNN Underscored uses the Citi Double Cash Card as our “benchmark” credit card. That doesn’t mean it’s the best credit card on the market — rather, it means we use it as a basic standard to compare other credit cards and see where they score better, and where they’re worse.

Here’s how the Hilton Amex Card card scores against our benchmark. The features of each card in the below chart are colored in green, red or white. Green indicates a card feature that’s better than our benchmark, red indicates the feature is worse than our benchmark and white indicates the feature is either equivalent or cannot be directly compared to our benchmark.

KEY DETAILS Citi Double Cash Card Hilton Amex Card Card type Mastercard American Express Sign-up bonus None Up to 130,000 Hilton Honors points: 80,000 points when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, plus an additional 50,000 points when you spend $5,000 total in the first six months REWARDS Earning rate 2% on all purchases(1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it off) 7 points per dollar on Hilton purchases, 5 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, and 3 points per dollar on all other purcha

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