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The entry-level Hilton Honors Credit Card from American Express doesn’t get a lot of attention because it’s a simple that card doesn’t offer any amazing or eye-catching benefits…but it’s still a very good a card that shouldn’t be overlooked. With a good welcome offer and no annual fee, it can be a fantastic starter card for anyone new to the miles and points game or a great backup card for infrequent visitors to Hilton properties worldwide.
Here’s what you need to know about the Hilton Honors Credit Card from American Express:
- Receive 75,000 Hilton Honors Points after you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months after you open your account.
Note: The welcome offer is not available to applicants who have or have had this card in the past.
- 7 points/dollar at all properties in the Hilton portfolio
- 5 points/dollar at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
- 3 points/dollar on all other eligible purchases
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status
- Cardholders can earn Hilton Honors Gold status after spending $20,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year
- No foreign transaction fees
Why I Like This Card
The Welcome Offer
For a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, the welcome offer is generous. I value Hilton Honors points at 0.4 cents each (based on how I use them and how easy I find them to use) and that values the welcome offer at an impressive $300. The relatively simple target for the welcome offer ($1,000 of spending in 3 months) and the fact that this card offers bonus points for spending at US supermarkets, this is a bonus that should be straightforward and economical to earn.
Access To Hilton’s 5th Night Free Benefit
The Hilton Honors Credit Card bestows Hilton Honors Silver status on a cardholder and if you have elite status with the Hilton Honors program, the 5th night of all award stays is free (see how the 5th night free is calculated). Even if you ignore all the other aspects to this card, this benefit alone makes it a card that’s worth having – it’s a money saver.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Not only does the Hilton Honors Credit Card cost nothing to hold but it also doesn’t punish cardholders when they use the card outside of the United States. There aren’t very many cards that don’t charge an annual fee and that waive foreign transaction fees but this card is one of them and it’s a great benefit to have.
Effective Every Day Rebates
The Hilton Honors Credit Card earns cardholders 5 points/dollar at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations and those are spending categories that most people use in their everyday lives. Based on my earlier valuation of Hilton Honors points (0.4 cents each) this card offers a 2.0 cent/$ (or 2%) rebate in all three of those categories. That’s not bad for a card that costs absolutely nothing to hold.
Access To Amex Offers
The Hilton Honors Credit Card is issued by Amerian Express and all American Express cards give cardholders access to Amex Offers which can easily save them hundreds of dollars a year. Here are a few links to various Amex offers I highlighted earlier this year to give you an idea of what the deals look like (link 1, link 2, link 3).
Access To Amex Shop Small
Every year Amex runs it’s “shop small” campaign in which it offers statement credits for spending at smaller establishments around the country. This year the campaign* is offering $5 back on $10 of spending at participating locations (up to $50 back in total) and every Amex card in a person’s wallet is eligible for this promotion (if you have 4 Amex cards you could earn up to $200 back). A free-to-hold card like the Hilton Honors Credit Card is eligible for $50 of credits in the same way as the $550/year Platinum Card is, but with the Platinum Card, the credits just help to offset part of the annual fee while with the Hilton Honors credit card the credits are effectively free money…and who doesn’t like free money? 🙂
*Registration for this year’s Shop Small promotion has now closed
I really like this card and it’s a card I held until April last year when Amex offered me 150,000 bonus points to upgrade to the Hilton Honors Surpass Credit Card. If you’re a frequent visitor to Hilton properties this isn’t the most efficient card to use to collect Hilton Honors points (a card like the Surpass card may be better), but if you’re an infrequent Hilton guest (as I was) or new to the miles and point world, this is a great card to hold.
It’s simple, it’s economical and the welcome offer will get you a free night at a lot of very nice Hilton properties around the globe. What more do you want from a card that costs nothing to hold? 🙂