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Hilton Honors is one of the premier hotel loyalty programs. Their Hilton Honors American Express cards deliver more value than any other hotel card on the market and every traveler should have a Hilton Honors credit card.

Hilton Offers Excellent Properties… Everywhere

There are many hotel chains with niché markets that offer properties in well-populated areas, but Hilton offers a greater breadth than many other chains. Hilton Worldwide consists of 18 brands in 119 countries on every inhabited continent on earth spread of more than 6,100 properties. 

But the brand has been particularly helpful in offering more than just the major cities. Hilton is one brand that a rural salesman or road trip-friendly family can utilize in small towns in between the larger cities.

Hilton Honors Credit Card members can accrue points with smaller properties spread far and wide while still holding the advantage of spending those accrued points on high-rise city properties or luxurious overwater bungalows in the Indian ocean. 

The Value of Hilton Honors Points

Many experts in the travel and credit card industry value Hilton Honors points at 0.4¢/point. However, as stated in another post “Everything You Wanted to Know About Hilton Honors“, points value is personal. 

Point values can range from 0.2¢/point when spent on Amazon purchases up to more then 1¢/point when redeemed for certain high end hotels. 

Redemption rates change from time-to-time and cash rates for hotel nights are variably-priced (they change based on occupancy, time of the year, and for special events) so likewise value per point changes too. 

The best way to determine value is to shop for a future Hilton Honors redemption. Pick a hotel at your destination and determine the cost per night in points and for cash rates then divide the cash price by the number of points required.

Try this for a few potential redemptions so that your personal valuation is accurate. 

Hilton Honors American Express Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors’ offers a tremendous value in the Hilton Honors American Express Card. The card doesn’t charge an annual fee, offers 75,000 miles after spending $1,000 on the card within the first 90 days, and comes with the experience of being an American Express cardholder. 

The card offers excellent accelerated earning especially on Hilton purchases. Cardholders earn the following:

  • 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort with the Hilton portfolio. 
  • 5x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. 
  • 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

Considering a scenario in which a cardholder spent $500 at Hilton hotels, $300 at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets and $200 on other items in the first 90 days, the cardholder would receive:

  • 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with their new Card
  • 5,000 total Hilton Honors points for their Hilton Hotels stay (7x 500 plus 3x 500)
  • 2,400 total Hilton Honors points for their U.S. gas station and supermarket purchases (5x 300 plus 3x 300), and;
  • 600 Hilton Honors points for their other purchases. 

That comes to 83,000 Hilton Honors points or enough to spend more than two weeks at the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport soaking up the sun and surfing in Bali. It’s difficult to find a more generous Card without a hefty annual fee. 

Click here to apply today.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card adds even more earning capabilities and benefits for a low annual fee of $95. The Card offers 125,000 miles after spending just $2,000 on the card within the first 90 days, like the others, comes with the experience of being an American Express cardholder.

Perhaps the best advantage is the automatic Hilton Honors Gold status for cardholders. 

In another post, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Hilton Honors”, I discussed that Hilton Honors Gold was among the most generous mid-tier status offerings in the business. Gold status entitles the guest to free breakfast, upgrade (if available) at check-in, and additional bonus points.

If a cardholder spends $40,000 on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card in a calendar year, the cardholder is granted Diamond status which comes with further benefits. 

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass cardholders earn points at the following rates:

  • 12x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort with the Hilton portfolio. 
  • 6x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. 
  • 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Included secondary car rental insurance (with the option to upgrade to primary car rental insurance)
  • Theft and accidental damage purchase protection
  • No foreign transactions fees
  • Return protection

Assuming a scenario in which a cardholder spent $1,000 at Hilton hotels, $300 at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets, and $700 at restaurants within 90 days of opening the Card, the cardholder would receive:

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with their new Card
  • 15,000 total Hilton Honors points for their Hilton Hotels stay (12x 1,000 plus 3x 1,000)
  • 9,000 total Hilton Honors points for their U.S. gas station and supermarket purchases (5x $300 plus 3x $300)

That comes to 149,000 Hilton Honors points or enough to offset a night at the ultra-luxurious Waldorf-Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi – with nightly rates starting at more than $1,800. That’s a tremendous value for any traveler!

Click here to apply today.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The premium Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card lives up to its name. The Card offers 150,000 miles after spending $4,000 on the card within the first 90 days. In addition to enhanced earning, the card offers a slew of additional benefits that far outweigh its $450 annual fee. 

In “Everything You Wanted to Know About Hilton Honors”, I outlined the benefits of Diamond status, an included amenity with the Card. That alone makes the card worth it to me, however, there are additional benefits:

  • Up to $250 annual credit for airline incidental fees (like checked luggage)
  • Up to $250 Hilton resort statement credit each cardmember year valid at participating resorts
  • Priority Pass Select Membership (access to more than 1,200 lounges worldwide) with up to two free guests per visit
  • One free weekend night reward within your first year, and each year with renewal
  • A second free weekend night reward when spending $60,000 or more within a calendar year
  • Baggage loss and damage insurance

As well as the other benefits from the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card:

  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Included secondary car rental insurance (with the option to upgrade to primary car rental insurance)
  • Theft and accidental damage purchase protection
  • No foreign transactions fees
  • Return protection

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire cardholders earn points at the following rates:

  • 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort with the Hilton portfolio. 
  • 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. 
  • 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

Assuming a scenario in which a cardholder spent $2,500 at Hilton hotels, $300 at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets, and $700 at restaurants, and $1,000 on everything else within 90 days of opening the Card, the cardholder would receive:

  • 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with their new Card
  • 42,500 total Hilton Honors points for their Hilton Hotels stay (14x 2,500 plus 3x 2,500)
  • 10,000 total Hilton Honors points for their U.S. gas station and supermarket purchases (7x 1,000 plus 3x 1,000)
  • 3,000 total Hilton Honors points for their other purchases. 

In this scenario, a cardholder would have 200,000 Hilton Honors points or enough to secure four nights at the Hilton Waikaloa in Kona, Hawai’i plus Hilton’s fifth night free for all guests on redemptions. They could extend their stay to seven nights by utilizing their free weekend night reward and using their $250 resort fee credit. In addition, those guests and up to four in their party would enjoy a free daily buffet breakfast ($25/each) avoid checked luggage fees, use the airport lounge to and from Hawai’i and potentially receive an upgrade if available at check-in due to their Diamond status. It’s hard to beat a week in Hawai’i. 

Click here to apply today.

Advantages of American Express Membership

American Express is the exclusive provider of Hilton Honors cards. That alone offers advantages over other banks. American Express is well-regarded in the industry for its excellent customer service centers, and customer protection. 

American Express service centers often have low hold times for customers and offer exceptional “member experience.” Customer protections, especially those offered with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire cards are among the best in the industry. 

Should an American Express cardholder choose to add another card to their portfolio, American Express will not run a “hard pull” of their credit. This allows customers to update their wallet with American Express products that make sense while avoiding interference with other aspects of a customer’s credit report.

For example, should an American Express customer choose to add another card to their account while they are refinancing their mortgage, the mortgage will be unaffected by the change because the “hard pull” of the customer’s credit is never taken. For other banks, this would cause huge concern. 

What Card Do I Recommend?

I personally recommend the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card due to its many benefits outside of just Hilton Honors points accrual.

Hilton Honors Diamond status has been extremely valuable to me and my family, allowing us to make the most of our family trips for less money. Holding Diamond status also gives us access to the Hilton Honors Diamond Desk customer service phone line, accelerated earnings within the program for our Hilton stays and a better customer experience. 

Each year, I pay for conveniences with airlines just to arrive at my destination. Whether that’s a luggage charge, an upgrade fee, or onboard wifi, I spend more than $250 on these costs alone. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card puts that money back in my pocket. 

It’s also hard to argue with a free weekend reward night credit, the inclusion of Priority Pass Select membership, and the protections in place that the card offers. The hefty welcome bonus also ensures that travelers are able to get the most out of their cardholder experience, and keeps delivering value every time the card is swiped. 

Why Every Traveler Should Have A Hilton Honors Credit Card

American Express and Hilton Honors deliver more value than the cost of holding the card at each level. To achieve the earning rates of the Hilton Honors American Express Card without an annual fee including 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with just $1,000 spend threshold in 90 days is extremely rare. 

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card allows cardholders to access the many protections American Express offers while including a sizable bonus for spending $2,000 in the first 90 days and adding Gold status. A family of four could offset the $95 annual fee in one day just with the breakfast amenity alone included with Gold status. 

For road warriors or travelers that spend their full allotment of vacation time every year, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the clear winner. Its $450 annual fee is quickly worth its weight in gold with included statement credits, insurances, lounge access, and of course, Hilton Honors Diamond status. Any traveler spending at least seven days in a hotel can reduce their overall accommodation cost with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. 

Conclusion

The Hilton Honors American Express family of cards offers exceptional values for cardholders. At each level, American Express and Hilton Honors deliver exceptional value that exceeds the cost of membership. These cards are unique in the breadth of the benefits offered as well as status levels associated with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire cards.

Among all of the cards available for hotel loyalty programs, none ascend to the number of benefits and value fo the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

Do you find yourself staying at Marriott properties from time to time, wondering if you should have something besides the Hilton Honors Credit Card? Be sure to keep a Marriott Bonvoy credit card handy as well. 

What do you think? Do you hold any Hilton Honors American Express cards? Which one did you choose and why?