Elite perks on a budget: A review of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is one of the most valuable hotel business cards on the market. With mid-tier Hilton Gold elite status, it provides useful premium benefits at just a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees). If Hilton is your business’s hotel chain of choice, the card is a worthwhile addition to your wallet. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
The Hilton Honors Amex Business Card is built for small business owners, but you don’t have to have an office with dozens of employees to apply. A side hustle or consulting gig that requires travel is more than enough to qualify you for a small business card.
One of the best perks of this Hilton Business Card is the automatic Hilton Gold elite status that comes with the card. From free breakfast to room upgrades (based upon availability), this card can actually provide meaningful benefits right from the get-go.
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Let’s take a closer look at this business card to see if it’s a fit for you.
Who is this card for?
This card is a great option for those who stay — or plan to stay post-pandemic — with Hilton while running a business. The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card comes with a solid welcome offer and nice perks for business travelers, including automatic Gold elite status at Hilton properties. With a low $95 annual fee (see rates and fees), it’s easy to justify adding this card to your wallet if you know you’ll take advantage of the benefits it offers.
Related: Best Hilton cards of 2020
Welcome offer: Worth $780
Currently, Amex is offering 130,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months of account opening. TPG values Hilton Honors points at 0.6 cents each, which means this bonus is worth $780 in value.
If a consumer card is more up your alley, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, with a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) is currently offering the same 130,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 within the first three months of card membership. Meanwhile, the premium Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — at a $450 annual fee per year (see rates and fees) — does come with a weekend night reward every year and the ability to earn an additional free weekend night after you spend $60,000 on your card in a calendar year.
Each of these consumer cards also gets a one-time $100 statement credit after using your new card to purchase an ExpertFlyer Premium annual subscription ($99.99 plus applicable taxes, followed by automatic renewal) within your first year. ExpertFlyer is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures.
However, neither of these consumer cards obviously comes with the business tools available to business cardholders.
With the Hilton Honors Amex Business Card, you’ll earn 12x points on eligible Hilton purchases, which gives you a solid 7.2% return according to TPG valuations. You’ll also earn 6x points on the following purchases:
- U.S. gas stations
- Wireless phone services purchased from U.S. providers
- U.S. shipping purchases
- U.S. restaurants
- Flights books directly or through the Amex portal
- Car rentals booked directly through select car rental companies
The card offers 3x points on all other eligible purchases.
In addition to earning points, you can also earn up to two free weekend night awards each year with your card. Earn the first after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card and a second after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases.
As with all of Hilton’s cobranded credit cards, you’re getting the best return on Hilton purchases. For your other business-related purchases, the American Express® Business Gold Card or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card will offer a better value. Plus, Amex Membership Rewards allow you to transfer points to Hilton, which makes the Business Gold a great supplement to this card.
Related: Review of the Amex Business Gold
You have quite a few options when it comes to redeeming your Hilton Honors points. You can book award night stays, redeem points for Hilton event discounts (although at a terrible rate) or Hilton Experiences, transfer points to airline partners and even use your points on Amazon purchases.
As is the case with most hotel loyalty programs, you’re going to get the best value when you use points on award night stays.
In recent years, Hilton has expanded its portfolio with both luxury and budget properties. While they don’t have a published award chart, the Points Explorer tool on the Hilton website can help you check the maximum points required to book a room at a specific property. If you’re willing to do the research, you can find some great redemption options for your points.
If you’re looking to maximize your Hilton redemption options, check out these three guides:
- The award traveler’s guide to Hilton Honors
- How to redeem points with the Hilton Honors program
- Maximizing redemptions with Hilton Honors
For just $95 each year, the Hilton Honors Amex Business Card offers a nice array of perks and benefits to cardholders.
Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold elite status: With Gold status, you’ll get perks such as an 80% points bonus on Hilton stays, fifth award nights free, elite tier rollover nights, complimentary breakfast at all hotels, room upgrades (when available) and more.
Upgrade to Diamond status: You can reach Diamond elite status when you spend $40,000 with your card in a calendar year. Diamond status comes with even more benefits, such as better upgrades (when available), executive lounge access, a 48-hour room guarantee and more.
Free weekend night rewards: You can earn up to two free weekend night rewards each year, the first when you spend $15,000 in a calendar year and the second when you spend $60,000 in that same calendar year. Note that in order to redeem free weekend night rewards, you must call to book your stay.
Priority Pass visits: The Hilton Honors Amex Business Card comes with 10 free Priority Pass entrances to airport lounges every year.
Expense management tools: As a business cardholder, you’ll have access to tools such as the American Express® Business App, Quickbooks integration, Vendor Pay and more.
Which cards compete with the Hilton Honors Amex Business Card?
If you’re also booking stays with Marriott throughout the year, you might consider the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, with its $125 annual fee (see rates and fees). It currently offers 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.
You’ll earn fewer points with Marriott (6x points on eligible Marriott purchases, 4x points on select business purchases, 2x points on everything else), but Bonvoy points are worth more according to TPG valuations. If you’re splitting your time across Hilton and Marriott, it’s worth comparing benefits to see which card you can get the most value from.
The Ink Business Preferred is another card to consider. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are incredibly valuable (worth 2 cents each according to current TPG valuations). You’ll earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent on combined travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, social media advertising and paid search advertising each account anniversary year.
The Ink Business Preferred is part of the Chase trifecta and offers incredible value — especially if you have other Chase credit cards. As hotel chains and airlines continue to devalue programs and switch to dynamic pricing, it’s always a good idea to have a card like the Ink Business Preferred that earns flexible rewards points.
If you don’t already have the Ink Business Preferred, you should grab it before applying for a cobranded Amex card. Chase cards are beholden to the 5/24 rule, so you want to make sure you’re adding any Chase cards to your wallet before those five slots fill up and make you ineligible for any Chase personal or business cards.
For business travelers who frequently stay with Hilton, there is a lot to love about the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. You’re getting a solid return when you use the card on Hilton purchases, and it comes with a nice array of perks. If you apply now, you’ll also get to take advantage of its 130,000-point welcome offer.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, please click here.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
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