American Express Hilton Honors Card

Best Hotel Credit Card Without an Annual Membership Fee

American Express Hilton Honors Card

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Pros
  • No annual fee - ever
  • Generous sign-up bonus makes it easy to rack up points fast
  • Automatic upgrade to Silver status for new members
Cons

Some cardholders aren’t happy that the card charges a cash advance fee plus a high APR for cash advances. However, this is a credit card and not a debit card, so many people expect these fees.

Highlights
  • Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors™ after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Offer ends 05/31/2017.
  • 7 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent with a participating hotel or resort
  • 5 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent spent at US restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations
  • 3 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent otherwise
  • Redeem Hilton HHonors points towards free hotel nights without blackout days
  • Complimentary Silver status with credit card
  • Account upgraded to HHonors Gold status after spending more than $20,000 on the Card during the year (benefits: 25% bonus on HHonors Base Points, room upgrades when available, and free high-speed Internet and health club access)
  • +500 HHonors Bonus Points when booking Hilton hotel reservations online with HH credit card
  • 10% discount and +500 HHonors points when booking private car and driver at EmpireCLS Worldwide with this card
  • Access to Global Assistance hotline, roadside assistance, travel accident protection, and car rental loss and damage protection
  • Exclusive access to ticket presales and American Express cardmember-only events in your city
  • Extended warranty and protection for purchases made on the card
Details

Application Process:  It takes just a few minutes to complete the online application for the Hilton Honors card. Many applicants score an instant approval, but some folks get the generic “You’ll hear from us in 7 to 10 business days” response.

If you’ve got bad credit, we recommend waiting until your score at least hits the mid 600s before you apply. We checked FICO scores via the Credit Pulls Database for this card, and it looks like most approved applicants have scores in the high 600s and mid 700s. We did see one person score an approval with a 633 FICO score, but that’s definitely not the norm.

Rewards: We’ve noticed the best rewards are generally found on cards with annual fees, but this Hilton Honors card has some decent perks. You earn 7 points for every dollar you spend at qualifying Hilton hotels, 5 points per dollar at participating gas stations and restaurants in the United States, and 3 points per dollar for all other eligible purchases.

All cardholders automatically receive Silver status when they join, and you can land a promotion to the card’s coveted Gold status by spending $20,000 on qualifying purchases during your first year. The card also includes popular features found on other hotel cards, such as fraud protection, travel accident insurance, and rental car insurance.

Bonus Offers: Numerous cardholders rave about the easily attainable sign-up bonus for this American Express card. All you have to do is spend $1,000 during your first 3 months as a cardholder to snag 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points.

There’s also a popular bonus offer for long-time members: An online booking bonus. Simply schedule and pay for a qualifying hotel stay online in exchange for 500 Hilton Honors Bonus Points.

APR:  APR ranges from 16.24% to 20.24% depending on your credit. Cash advances have a fee of 26.24%. Make sure you pay your bill on time so you can avoid the penalty APR, which is a whopping 29.99% for at least 6 months.

Annual Fee: The American Express Hilton Honors is one of the only hotel credit cards we’ve seen that never charges an annual fee. A few other cards waive the fee the first year but hit you with a hefty charge at the beginning of year two.

Card attributes
  • Variable APR
    17.24% to 26.24%
  • Cash Advance APR
    26.74%
  • Rewards Rate
    7 points per dollar for Hilton hotel stays, 5 points for dollar for U.S. restaurant, supermarket and gas station purchases, and 3 points per dollar for general purchases
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Intro APR
    n/a
  • Bonus Offers
    50,000 points if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
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