Hilton Honors American Express Credit Cards


Hilton Honors Cards – Which Card Is Best For You?

In 2020 Hilton Credit Cards were switched from Citi to American Express.  With this change came new cards and new card benefits.  American Express provides personal consumers with three choices for Hilton Honors Reward Credit Cards.  This includes the Hilton Honors Card, The Hilton Honors Ascend Card, and the Hilton Honors Aspire Card.  Additionally, American Express also offers the Hilton Honors Business.  Each card caters to different needs for consumers.

Hotel Reward Cards are very popular among travelers.  Consumers often try to find a card that matches their preferred Hotel or Resort.  Hilton offers locations throughout the world and is one of the most popular and well respected chain of hotels around.

There are several important factors to keep in mind when choosing which card is best for you.  In general you should first decide if a travel rewards card is the best option for you.  Second, decide how you plan to use your new card.  Third, determine what level of annual fee you are comfortable paying.  Finally, decide which card will provide you with the most value.  We will take a look at all three cards keeping these aspects in mind.

Hilton Honors Card

Hilton Honors Card
Hilton Honors Card

The Hilton Honors Credit Card is the “entry level” credit card of the AMEX Hilton Honors family of cards.  The biggest thing consumers will notice about this credit card is that there is zero annual fee.  For some cardholders, this is going to be the deciding factor.  If you are looking for a straightforward credit card to earn Hilton Honors Points without fees, this may be the choice for you.  With this said, it does lack some of the more exclusive features available with the other options (more on this below).

Hilton Honors Card Benefits

  • Zero annual fee
  • 75,000 Hilton Honor Points Sign Up Bonus
  • 7x Points When spending with Hilton
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Silver Status

Customers who are primarily interested in an easy sign up offer and the ability to earn Hilton Honor Points will find this card appealing.  The sign up bonus is very easy to obtain.  New cardholders need only spend $1,000 on their new credit card in the first three months of opening their new account.  Relatively, this is a very low spending threshold.  Most consumers who make this their primary credit card will easily obtain the 75,000 Hilton Honors Sign Up Bonus.

Hilton Customers will find that the automatic Silver Status and 7x Points are great benefits as well.  Hilton Honors Points will accumulate quickly for consumers who regularly stay at Hilton.  Additionally, the extra perks provided with Silver Status may make their stays even more enjoyable.  Overall, this credit card provides nice earning potential and a strong sign up offer that is easily obtainable.  With no annual fee there are many reasons why Hilton fans will find this card to be a must have.

Hilton Honors Ascend Card

Hilton Honors Ascend Card
Hilton Honors Ascend Card

Hilton Honors Ascend Card Benefits

  • $95 Annual Fee
  • 125,000 Hilton Honor Points Sign Up Bonus
  • 12x Points When spending with Hilton
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • Weekend Night Reward ($15,000 annual spending)
  • Access to Priority Pass Select (Airport Lounge Access)
  • Global Assist Hotline Access and Travel Insurance Benefits

Unlike the Hilton Honors Card, The Ascend Card has an annual fee of $95.  With this said, you can see the list of benefits is quite a bit longer.  Additionally, many of the benefits are a step up from the Hilton Honors Card.  First, cardholders will earn 125,000 if they meet the new cardholder sign up bonus requirements.  New customers will need to spend $2,000 in the first three months of opening their account.  This is double the spending requirement of the Hilton Honors Card but is still a very achievable threshold.

Furthermore, there are other important benefits which make this card quite a bit more premium than the lower tiered version.  Customers will receive 12x Hilton Honors Points for all Hilton purchases (up from 7x).  Cardholders will receive complimentary Gold Status with their Hilton Honors Account.  Additionally, cardholders are eligible for one free weekend night after completing $15,000 in annual spending.

This credit card provides additional benefits for consumers who are looking for a little more out of their Hilton Rewards.  The annual fee can easily be offset by the free Weekend Reward Night and the increased sign up bonus represents a substantial upgrade.  Airport lounge access, global travel assist, and travel insurance are further benefits customers will receive with the Hilton Honors Ascend Card.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Hilton Honors Aspire Card
Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Hilton Honors Aspire Card Benefits

  • $450 Annual Fee
  • 150,000 Hilton Honor Points Sign Up Bonus
  • 14x Points When spending with Hilton
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Diamond Status
  • Weekend Night Reward provided annually
  • Access to Priority Pass Select (Airport Lounge Access)
  • Premium Global Assist Hotline Access and Travel Insurance Benefits
  • Annual $100 on site credit at participating Hilton Locations
  • $250 Annual Airline Incidental Fee Credit
  • Premium Roadside Assistance

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is the most premium of the three consumer credit cards offered for Hilton.  This is most evident with the $450 annual fee.  At first glance this fee may seem very high.  The card does provide some serious perks that help to offset this charge.

First, this card offers the biggest sign up bonus at 150,000 Hilton Honors Points after $4,000 in spending in the first 3 months.  The downside is that this is a much higher spending threshold than the other cards.  This would amount to about $1,333 in spending each month.  For consumers willing to fork over a $450 annual fee this may not be a sweat.  However, some customers will find this requirement prohibitive.

In terms of offsetting your annual fee, The Aspire Card provides several avenues.  Cardholders will receive annually a $100 credit for on site Hilton spending.  Bookings must be made for at least 2 nights through HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard in order to be eligible.  Customers will also receive $250 in airline incidental fees.  This will easily be met for frequent travelers and will go a long way towards offsetting your annual fee.

Other perks include Hilton Honors Diamond Status, Roadside Assistance, and 14x points for Hilton purchases.  While this card may not be for everyone, it does provide some very attractive rewards and benefits.

Hilton Honors Business Card

Hilton Honors Business Card
Hilton Honors Business Card

Hilton Honors Business Card Benefits

  • $95 Annual Fee
  • 125,000 Hilton Honor Points Sign Up Bonus
  • 6x Points When spending with Hilton
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • Weekend Night Reward ($15,000 annual spending)

The Business version of the Hilton Honors Credit Card is similar to the Hilton Honors Ascend Card.  The annual fee and sign up bonuses are identical in value.  One difference though, is that cardholders will need to spend $3,000 in the first three months instead of $2,000.  Similar to the Ascend Card, customers will receive Hilton Honors Gold Status and an annual Weekend Night Reward if spending requirements are met.

Which Hilton Honors Card Comes Out On Top?

For frequent Hilton customers, the top card goes to the Hilton Honors Ascend Card.  First, cardholders will earn 50,000 additional Hilton Honors Points right off the bat.  The low spending requirement ($2,000) to earn this reward is not prohibitive for many consumers who are interested in this credit card.  Furthermore, cardholders will receive a free weekend night each year after spending $15,000.  This will likely be achieved every year if this is your primary credit card.

For casual travelers the Hilton Honors Card is going to be the obvious choice.  Cardholders will receive a very nice sign up bonus which can be used towards free nights with Hilton.  You will also have no annual fee to worry about making this a more worry free option.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is primarily designed for frequent traveler can who can make use of the benefits.  It does indeed pack a serious punch with features like the $250 annual airline incidental coverage.  Checked baggage alone will often result in far more than this expense for regular travelers.  With the biggest rewards, this card will certainly appeal to a segment of customers who can take advantage of all that it offers.

Finally, the Hilton Business Credit Card is of course going to appeal to business owners.  Having a separate account for your business expenses is always a good idea.  The card provides strong rewards at a level almost identical to our top pick, The Hilton Ascend Card.

Applying For A Hilton Honors Credit Card

Consumers can visit the main American Express Hilton Honors Page to compare cards and apply for their selected option.  In most cases, a credit decision will be issued in as little as 30 seconds after submitting a completed application.  Applying will require basic credit background information such as:

  • Your full contact information
  • Basic financial information (income, housing payments, etc)
  • Agreeing to the terms of service when applying with AMEX
  • Optional Hilton Honors Number

Accessing Your Hilton Honors Account

Once you been approved for your card and begin spending your points will be added to your Hilton Honors Account.  Customers can visit the to login to your account.  Online access will require users to set up a username and password.  Additionally, customers can sign in using their Hilton Honors Account Number.

Once you have set up your online account and log in, you will be able to manage all of your account settings.  Customers will have the option to view their balance, view recent point accumulation, spend their points for Hilton stays, and much more.

Hilton Honors Point Transfers

One additional feature to address is the ability to transfer points to and from your Hilton Honors Account.  There are many options to customers to transfer other reward points to their Hilton Honors Account.  For instance, Hawaiian Airline Reward Points can be transferred at a rate of 1:1.5.  Additionally, other American Express Reward Points can also be transferred to your Hilton Honors Account.

Conversely, customers can also transfer their Hilton Honor Points towards other reward partners.  For example, you can use your Hilton Honors Points ff you need additional airline miles to book a flight with a partner program.  For a full list of transfer partners, transfer rates, and Hilton Honors Transfer Policy you can find their transfer page here.

Final Thoughts – Hilton Honors Family of Credit Cards

Customers who love Hilton Properties are going to find this line of credit cards very attractive.  Given the wide range of benefits, there will be a card that suits nearly everyone’s needs.  The best advice when deciding to apply for one of these cards is to ensure you meet the sign up bonus requirements.  The points provided for new customers is going to a huge draw and no matter which card you get it should not be missed out on.

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Elizabeth Weintraub
Elizabeth Weintraub is a former writer for The Balance. She has an extensive background in real estate spanning more than 40 years, including experience in related industries such as title and escrow. Weintruab began in the real estate business in 1974 as a title searcher at First American Title in Boulder, Colorado. After moving to Newport Beach, California, she became an escrow officer in 1976 and advanced to certified status as designated by the California Escrow Association.