Hotel credit cards can be invaluable. Typically, the cards have reasonable annual fees and offer outsized value, ranging from annual free nights to elite status. What’s rare is to see a hotel credit card that offers substantial benefits despite having no annual fee, although in this article I wanted to review one.
I reviewed the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Revision) and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Revision). In this article, I wanted to take a look at the Hilton Honors Card with no annual fee from American Express (Rates and Fees).
Is it worth having this card or is it worth getting a card with an annual fee instead? After all, you have many Hilton Cards to choose from.
American Express Basics Hilton Honors Card for February 2022
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express is Hilton’s entry-level personal credit card. Let’s take a look at a few aspects of this card, including point earning potential, welcome bonus, and perks.
Welcome bonus of up to 130,000 honor points
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers a two-part welcome bonus:
- Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Points after spending $1,000 in the first three months
- Earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first six months
I value Hilton Honors points at about 0.5 cents each, which means I value the 130,000 points at about $650. This is an incredible bonus considering that this card has no annual fee.
Bonus Eligibility & Amex Application Restrictions
The Welcome to the Hilton Honors Card offer is not available to current cardholders, or cardholders who have had this card in the past. You are eligible for the bonus if you have had any other Hilton card, including one of the personal cards with an annual fee, or the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (revision).
I find Amex cards to be quite easy to approve, for those with excellent credit. Just make sure you know Amex’s general application restrictions:
- You can be approved for up to two Amex cards in a 90 day period
- You can have at most five American Express credit cards at any one time
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express has no annual feeand you can even add additional cardholders at no annual fee (Rates and Fees).
You can’t do better than to keep a card with no annual fee for the long term. Holding on to credit cards for the long term improves your credit score because it helps you increase the average age of your account. If you’re going to keep your cards for the long term, you might as well make them no-annual-fee cards whenever possible to minimize your personal costs.
Earn points with the Hilton Honors Card from American Express
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers some categories of spending bonuses, though they’re not as robust as you might find on other cards. The card offers between 3 and 7 times the Honors points per dollar spent, depending on the category you spend in.
The card also offers status benefits, and you can earn even more status benefits if you spend money on the card.
7x points at Hilton hotels
The Hilton Honors Card offers 7x Hilton Honors Points to spend at Hilton properties worldwide. This includes all Hilton brands, from Hampton Inn to Waldorf Astoria. I value Hilton points at about 0.5 cents each, so to me that’s like a 3.5% return on hotel spend. That’s pretty good for a card with no annual fee, although ultimately there are better credit cards for hotel spending.
5x point bonus categories
The Hilton Honors Card offers 5x points per eligible dollar spent at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations. This equates to a 2.5% return on spend in these categories, which is also ideal for a card with no annual fee.
3x points on other purchases
The Hilton Honors Card offers 3x points on all other qualifying purchases, which I estimate at a return of around 1.5%. There are definitely better cards for everyday spending.
No foreign transaction fees
The Hilton Honors Card has no foreign transaction fees, which is ideal for a card with no annual fee. I’ll take it a step further – I consider it the best Amex card with no annual fee for overseas purchases. Even many Amex cards with annual fees have foreign transaction fees, so this is a remarkable advantage of this card.
Hilton Honors Card Benefits with No Annual Fee
Despite having no annual fee, the Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers some potentially valuable perks. You get status just for having the card and can receive high status if you spend enough on the card.
Let’s look at the details of these benefits.
Hilton Honors Silver Status
Just for having the Hilton Honors card, you get free Hilton Honors Silver status. It’s Hilton’s entry-level status, and while the perks are limited, it’s nice that they give it to you on a card with no annual fee.
Benefits of Hilton Honors Silver status include the following:
- Fifth night free on reward stays
- 20% bonus points
- Two bottles of water
Hilton honors gold status with spending
You can achieve Hilton Intermediate Gold status by spending with the Hilton Honors Card. If you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll earn Hilton Honors Gold status, which includes the following benefits:
One of my favorite features of Amex cards is access to Amex offers, which offer savings on purchases from all kinds of retailers. There’s huge value in getting as many Amex cards as possible, so you can get those deals on multiple cards.
What’s particularly great is that this card has no annual fee, so Amex is essentially paying you to have this card when you consider the savings opportunities.
Is the Hilton Honors Card from American Express worth it?
For a card with no annual fee, I think the Hilton Honors Card from American Express is pretty awesome. The card has a huge welcome bonus (seriously, that’s an amazing bonus for a card with no annual fee), it gives you access to Amex offers (which can save you a lot of money), it offers Hilton Honors status Silver (which gets you a fifth night free on rewards), and more.
Bonus categories are also great for a card with no annual fee, such as the ability to earn 7x points on Hilton stays and 5x points on purchases at supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants. Combine that with no foreign transaction fees, and it’s one of the best cards with no annual fee to use abroad.
For someone who absolutely doesn’t want to pay an annual fee but also loves Hilton Honors, I think this is a great card to consider. It could also be a good option if you’re looking to downgrade one of Hilton’s premium credit cards.
Best card with no annual fee?
If I could recommend just one card with no annual fee, I would recommend the Citi® Double Cash Card (review). The card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase. Better yet – and this is really what makes the card stand out – rewards can be converted into Citi ThankYou points (in conjunction with other cards) at the rate of one cent per point.
The Hilton Honors Card from American Express is a great card with no annual fee. The card offers a great welcome bonus, offers 3-7 points per dollar spent with no foreign transaction fees, gives you Hilton Honors Silver status, and gives you access to Amex offers. For someone looking for a card with no annual fee, this is a great option. This is more true than ever, given the current bonus.
If you would like to learn more about the Hilton Honors Card from American Express or would like to apply, follow this link..
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for the American Express cards mentioned. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates and Fees).