Hilton Honors American Express Credit Card Review: Simply Ordinary

Hilton Hotels has a strong partnership with credit card issuer American Express. The hotel chain offers a slew of co-branded credit cards with a no-fee, mid-tier($95 fee), and luxury($450 fee) personal option along with a business option($95 fee). I currently hold the no-fee Hilton Honors credit card and will be reviewing this rather unspectacular credit card today. While many other “travel writers’ think this card is a strong contender or a good credit card, I beg to differ. Unless there’s a crazy sign up bonus, there should be 0 reasons to get this card. Here’s why and my full review.

The 4 Hilton co-branded credit card options offered by American Express

Sign Up Bonus

The current sign up bonus on the Hilton Honors credit card is a nice 80,000 Hilton points with $1,000 of spend in the first three months. This may seem like a nice bounty, but room rates at top hotels can reach 120,000 for a standard award.

When I signed up for this card, there was the same 80,000 point bonus. In addition, a free night certificate was also included after spending $1,000. This offer was exceptional and I was able to redeem this free night certificate on a recent trip at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabo Pedregal where base rooms average $1,500.

Earning Rates

The American Express Hilton Honors Credit Card earning rates is as follows:

  • 7X on Hilton Hotels
  • 5x at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets
  • 3x on Everyday spend

These earnings rate seem great at first glass, but Hilton points are valued at a fraction compared to Hyatt points thanks to their award chart. Read the redemption section to get a full understanding of Hilton points valuation.

Redemption Values

While not directly related to the card, points earned in the Hilton Honors program follow a dynamic pricing structure where standard award space still follows the award chart. In addition, Hilton runs an official award chart with properties topping off at 120,000 points per night. To get a full range of the award pricing for a hotel, check out Hilton’s point explorer tool.

3 Hotels in San Francisco and their respective Cash Rates
3 Hotels in San Francisco and their award rates

For the Parc 55 San Francisco, 70,000 points gets you $284 in value. This bring you to about .4 cents per point in redemption value. For the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, the redemption value is about .38 cents per point. This helps you get a general sense of how to value Hilton points and why the increase earning rates balances out the higher redemption rates. In contrast, I typically get upwards of 2 cents per point with Hyatt hotels. As a result, Hilton points are far less valuable than Hyatt, so this is something you should always take into consideration when looking at credit card earning rates.

Final Thoughts

Unless you truly hate annual fees and is in desperate need of a card without an annual fee, I think there are better options to consider.

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