Why This Is Probably the Best Hotel Card for Big Spenders

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Hilton Amex Business

Hilton Amex Business Card

I don’t take loyalty too seriously, but the closest I get to that with hotels is Hilton Honors.  I enjoy Hilton’s wide availability of properties, Diamond benefits, and points earning and redeeming options, among other things.  Not surprisingly, I’ve been into pretty much all of their credit cards for years.  I say “pretty much” because there’s one I didn’t get around to picking up until earlier this year – the Hilton Amex Business card.  In my view, this is the sneaky-good card in the Hilton portfolio, perhaps the best.  And it’s an excellent hotel card for big spenders, especially right now.  Here’s what I love about the Hilton Amex Business card.

Source: American Express.

Outstanding Welcome Offer

New cardholders can currently obtain 130k Hilton Honors points by spending $5k within three months.  Ho hum – better and worse point offers have existed.  And some past offers have even provided statement credits for Hilton charges.  But it’s much better than that right now.  The current welcome offer also offers a free night certificate by spending $10k total in the first six months.  When taking into account the 130k points and the potentially lucrative value of the free night certificate, this may be the best welcome offer ever on the Hilton Amex Business Card for big spenders.

Multiple Free Night Certificates on Spend?  Yes, Please!

In addition to the limited time welcome offer, the Hilton Amex Business card offers two more annual free night certificates as big spend bonuses.  Cardholders receive an additional certificate once they reach $15k and $60k annual spend.  But that’s a lot of spend – what makes these free night certs so great, anyway?

Hilton Amex Business
I enjoyed using Hilton free night certificates at the Foundry in Asheville, NC.

The Best Free Night Certificates Out There

In my view, Hilton free night certificates have been the best for years, and they’ve recently gotten even better.  First off, unlike those of other chains, Hilton certs are good at virtually all of their properties (here are the exceptions).  Most of those excluded locations are time share properties, so many won’t care about those properties, anyway.  Free night certificates can be widely used across Hilton brands, including Waldorf Astoria and LXR properties, which can easily approach $1k nightly.

Historically, Hilton certs have only been redeemable on weekend nights.  During the pandemic, Hilton loosened up on that limitation, temporarily allowing use of certs any night of the week.  The utility of Hilton certificates skyrocketed recently, when Hilton announced this any day of the week use as a permanent change.

The biggest complaint that many have about Hilton certs is that a member must call in to book stays.  But for all the positives that come with these certs, calling in is no big deal for me and many of you, I imagine.

Generous Status Benefits

Holding the Hilton Amex Business automatically grants the primary cardholder Hilton Honors Gold elite status.  In my view, this is the best mid-tier hotel elite status out there, unlocking daily food and beverage credits and other benefits.  Big spenders can take it a step further by reaching top-tier Diamond status with $40k annual spend.

Useful Bonus Categories

The Hilton Amex Surpass gets a lot of attention for its 6x earning at supermarkets.  But beyond that category, the Hilton Amex Business card measures up admirably, and even better, in other areas.  Here’s the Business card’s earning structure:

  • 12x at properties within the Hilton portfolio
  • 6x at US gas stations, restaurants, shipping, and wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers
  • 6x on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel and car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
  • 3x everywhere else

I don’t overly focus on valuations, but Miles to Memories values Hilton Honors points at 0.5  cents each.  Generally, I’ve had no problem finding that value with a bit of flexibility.  I appreciate the overall ease to earn Hilton Honors points, and many will find the business version useful for topping off balances for specific rewards.

Reasonable Annual Fee

The Hilton Amex Business card’s annual fee is $95.  From my perspective, that’s a tremendously reasonable amount for a card that packs so many benefits and bonuses for big spenders.  Of course, I’ll always go for a retention offer when the time comes, but this $95 pill won’t be tough to swallow if I must.

Conclusion

Another aspect I love about this card is how the same spending counts toward multiple big spend bonuses simultaneously.  For instance, the $5k welcome offer gets one closer to the limited time $10k cert, but also the $15k cert, $40k Diamond status, and $60k cert.  And on it goes down the line.  Taking into account the current welcome offer, a big spender could obtain the 130k points welcome offer, Diamond status, and a five free night certificates on one $95 annual fee.  And that doesn’t even include the everyday points on those purchases and any card referral bonus for those in two player mode.

And while I generally play a high turnover game with most Amex cards, the Hilton Amex Business card looks like a long term keeper for me.  Perhaps it will be for you, as well!  Do you hold the Hilton Amex Business card?  What’s your favorite aspect of the card?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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7 COMMENTS

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Benjy, a throuple of questions if you’d be so kind:

    How long are certificates valid for?

    Have you had problems using the certificates as the above commenters have?

    Is there a way to check availability for certificates without actually having certificates?

    Thanks!

    • Shawn,
      The $15k and $60k certs are based on calendar year spend. One can theoretically pick up each of those up twice before the second year annual fee hits.

  2. I got this card for the referral on P2 and the SUB. After that, it doesn’t hold much value for me. $60k is a lot of spend that could go towards earning other SUBs. One and done for me.

  3. I have had bad luck trying to use Hilton free night certs. Every date that I ever checked was not available in a “standard room”…

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