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Points of View: Which credit card should you use for Hilton stays?

Sept. 26, 2022
8 min read
Entrance of Hilton Cancun in Mexico
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There are multiple cobranded credit credit cards from Hilton Honors, and we often hear people ask which one is best for their situation. After comparing the available Hilton credit cards, you may be ready to pull out one of these cards to pay for your next stay at a Hilton hotel.

Let's take a look at some popular cards you might use to pay for your next stay at hotels in the Hilton Honors program and what these cards can offer you in terms of return on spending and perks during your stay.

Comparing credit cards for a Hilton hotel stay

Aside from using a Hilton cobranded credit card, you might also consider using a good travel rewards card that earns transferable points on travel purchases, such as a hotel stay. Let's look at some common options and what you could get when using these cards.

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Card nameEarning rate at Hilton hotelsValue of the rewards earned*Hilton-related benefits from the cardAnnual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card14 points per dollar.8.4 cents.
  • Automatic top-tier Diamond status for cardholders, providing room upgrades when available (including suites), lounge access and late checkout and early check-in when available.
  • Earn 100% bonus points on paid stays, meaning paying with your card would also earn an additional 20 points per dollar (12 cents in value per dollar spent).
  • Up to $250 per cardmember year in Hilton resort statement credits for incidentals charged to your room.
  • Up to $100 in on-property credit when you book a two-night paid stay at select hotels using an exclusive link for card members.
  • Enrollment is required in advance for select benefits.
$450 (see rates and fees).
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card12 points per dollar.7.2 cents.
  • Automatic Gold status with Hilton Honors, offering perks like room upgrades, early check-in and late checkout when available, plus free breakfast or food and beverage credits, depending on the property.
  • Earn 80% bonus points on paid stays, meaning paying with your card would also earn an additional 18 points per dollar (10.8 cents in value per dollar spent).
  • Enrollment is required in advance for select benefits.
 $95 (see rates and fees).
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card12 points per dollar.7.2 cents.
  • Automatic Gold status with Hilton Honors, offering perks like room upgrades, early check-in and late checkout when available, plus free breakfast or food and beverage credits, depending on the property.
  • Earn 80% bonus points on paid stays, meaning paying with your card would also earn an additional 18 points per dollar (10.8 cents in value per dollar spent).
  • Enrollment is required in advance for select benefits.
$95 (see rates and fees).
Hilton Honors American Express Card7 points per dollar.4.2 cents.
  • Automatic Silver status, which offers free bottled water at many properties.
  • Earn 20% bonus points on paid stays, meaning paying with your card would also earn an additional 12 points per dollar (7.2 cents in value per dollar spent).
$0 (see rates and fees).
American Express® Green Card3 points per dollar.6 cents.None.$150 (see rates and fees).
Chase Sapphire Reserve3 points per dollar (or 10 points per dollar if booked via the Chase travel portal).6 cents (or 20 cents).None.$550.
Citi Premier® Card3 points per dollar.5.4 cents.None.$95.

* Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

The information for the Hilton Aspire and Amex Green cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Which credit card earns the most points for Hilton stays?

Which card should you use?

Consider two parts of this conversation when choosing a credit card for your next stay at a Hilton property: the benefits you enjoy during your stay and the points you earn on the card when paying for your stay.

The first part is relatively simple. Your elite status perks will apply regardless of whether you use a specific card for your stay. As an example, you don't actually need to pay with the Amex Hilton Aspire card in order to enjoy your Diamond status benefits during your next Hilton stay.

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(The one exception is booking a paid stay at a Hilton hotel using the Sapphire Reserve through the Chase travel portal. This will generally count as a third-party booking, so while you'll earn 10 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the purchase, you'll likely forgo any perks of Hilton elite status.)

The Conrad Maldives. HILTON

When it comes to earning points from spending money at hotels that participate in Hilton Honors, using your Hilton credit card is actually a good option. These provide a better rate of return than using a Marriott credit card at a Marriott hotel, for example. However, the value to be had here is subjective in some ways. Do you prefer to earn the maximum value according to our monthly points valuations? Are you OK with that even if it means earning points that are stuck in a single program and can only be used with Hilton (or transferred to airlines in such a way that you lose a lot of value)?

Or do you prefer to earn transferable points because you know how to maximize these for first- and business-class flight awards, obtaining outsized value for your points? In this case, using a card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points may be your best bet, since you could access the full range of transfer partners and still have the option to transfer to Hilton Honors if you're a few points shy of your next redemption.

Related: From newbie to expert: 6 ways to up your mileage redemption game

Bottom line

Deciding which credit card to use on any given purchase can sometimes require tradeoffs. Maybe you earn more points but sacrifice some benefits. Or perhaps you're willing to earn fewer points but access a valuable insurance benefit by using a particular card.

Luckily, the choice of which credit card to use when staying at a Hilton hotel is pretty simple. Due to high earning rates from Hilton credit cards, you should be able to earn a high value in rewards while also enjoying their benefits — without the tradeoffs required by making this decision at some other hotel chains.

Editor’s note: “Points of View” is a series evaluating decisions on which credit card to use. If you’re facing a dilemma about which card is best for an upcoming payment, email us at tips@thepointsguy.com.

Also in this series:

For rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Aspire card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Surpass card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Hilton card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Business card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, click here.

Featured image by BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023