American Express No Annual Fee Hilton Honors Card Reveiw

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A no annual fee card with a decent earning structure and a couple nice perks.
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Hilton Honors Card From American Express Review

Hilton Honors Card From American Express Review

The American Express Hilton Honors card is the only no annual fee card currently offered by Hilton (since Hilton has parted ways with Citibank).  It comes with a decent earning structure for a no fee card.  Where the Hilton Honors Amex falls short is a lack of meaningful perks of cardmembership.


Current Sign Up Bonus vs Historical High

Through 10/4/17 American Express has increased the offer on their Hilton Honors card. The 75,000 Hilton points offer comes close to matching the highest offer in the history of the card (80,000 Hilton points).

The bonus is as follows:

  • Earn 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you make an additional $1,000 in purchases with your new Card within your first 6 months.

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Hilton Honors Card From American Express Review
Hilton Lake Buena Vista

Bonus Restrictions

Note that American Express currently has a “one bonus per product per lifetime” policy and you are only eligible for this bonus if you have not had this card before.

Hilton Honors Card From American Express Earning Structure

The Hilton Honors Amex has the following earning structure:

  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

Hilton Honors Card From American Express Cardmember Perks

The Hilton Amex card comes with a few perks they are as follows:

  • Enjoy complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status with your Card.
  • Spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • Earn 500 Hilton Honors Bonus Points when you use your Card to both book online and pay for your Hilton stay.
  • Access to valuable Amex Offers.

Hilton Honors Card From American Express Review


While the Hilton Honors card from American Express does not have an annual fee it does come with a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

Sign Up Bonus Value – $300

Hilton Honors points are worth $0.004 a piece.  That would put the value of the 75,000 point sign up bonus at $300.

While Hilton Honors has gone partially revenue based, there is still some outsized value in their lower category properties, especially in the developing world.

Hilton Honors Card From American Express Review
Hilton Los Cabos Resort


The Hilton Honors card from American Express comes with a pretty nice earning structure for a card with no annual fee.  It earns the same base of 3 points per dollar as the $75 a year Surpass card.  The 5x categories are only 1 point less per dollar than the Surpass card, and they include high spend areas for most people.  The 7x earning at Hilton hotels is lackluster (2.8% return).

Being able to access Amex Offers without having to pay an annual fee is a big plus.

Having foreign transaction fees are an minus, but not unexpected since the card comes with no annual fee.  American Express even has the foreign transaction fee on their premium Surpass card.

Long Term Keep Or Cancel?

The American Express Hilton Honors card is pegged as a long term keeper.  It has a decent earning structure, keeping it open improves your average age of accounts, and it comes with access to Amex Offers. All of this without having to pay an annual fee.

The real benefit of keeping this card long term is the opportunity to upgrade the card to the American Express Surpass.  American Express rolls out upgrade offers which enable you to get a large bonus even if you have previously had the Surpass card.

Make sure you have previously received a sign up bonus on the Surpass card before using an upgrade offer.  Upgrading to the Amex Surpass will make you ineligible for a Surpass sign up bonus.


The Hilton Honors card from American Express is a decent no annual fee card.  The sign up bonus, even while at it’s historical high, is pretty pedestrian from a value standpoint.  The earning structure is above average for a no annual fee card.  Having said that, you can get a better return in the 5x categories with a different premium card.

The perks are lackluster and the complimentary Silver status doesn’t get you much at Hilton Hotels. Gold status after $20,000 in spend isn’t very inciting either.  Mainly because Gold status comes complimentary with the American Express Surpass card and it’s $75 annual fee.

Where the Hilton Honors card by American Express shines is being able to access Amex offers at no cost and the upgrade potential to the Surpass.  Taking advantage of the 100,000 point upgrade offers allow you to essentially circumvent Amex’s “once per lifetime” rule.

The American Express Surpass card’s offer of 100,000 Hilton Honors points and a free night after 12 months is the better offer.  We advise you to sign up for the Surpass card first.  If you have already had an Amex Surpass card and are looking to increase your Hilton point stash then this is an offer worth considering.



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  1. 75000 points isn’t quite the highest in history. AmEx had a public offer for 80000 points on the no annual fee card earlier this year.

  2. I keep mine cause there’s no annual fee, credit history, Amex offers, and those targeted upgrade offers that seem to come every year without the lifetime language.

    • Check you amex offers section it should be in there if you have one available. I don’t think there is a “public” offer on the upgrades this time. Have you had the fee free one for more then 12 months?

        • I am not entirely sure what you are asking so I will answer you both possible ways.

          If you have never had the Surpass and you upgrade your no annual fee card to the surpass then you will not longer be able to get a sign up bonus on the Surpass in the future.

          If you have had the surpass before and you also currently have the no fee amex then yes you can get the bonus again for upgrading. You should see the offer in your email or amex offers if it is available to you.

          I hope this helps….thanks!


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