Which Hilton HHonors™ Credit Card is Best for You?

The Hilton HHonors™ line of credit cards offers a huge amount of variety, from relatively low-rewards cards with no annual fee to cards with a high annual fee and excellent rewards. All this variety exists for a reason: To give customers the most flexibility possible.

Which Hilton HHonors Card is Best for You

So, while you might be asking, “Which Hilton HHonors™ card is best?,” the real question is which Hilton HHonors™ card is best for you. This depends on a number of factors, including how often you travel and how much you spend. So, first, we’ll outline each of the cards available, and then we’ll talk about how to decide which one works best for your particular needs.

American Express Hilton HHonors™ Review

Hilton HHonors™ Surpass® from American Express

With a $75 annual fee, this one is still pretty steep. But, it too offers some excellent benefits, including the following:

  • HHonors Gold status for as long as you’re a card member.
  • 12 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on Hilton Portfolio stays.
  • 6 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations.
  • 3 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Bonus: 75,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points when you spend $3,000 within three months of cardmembership.
  • Anniversary Bonus: Upgrade to HHonors Diamond status when you spend $40,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year.

Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express

This is another no annual fee option, which offers some good bonuses and rewards, including:

  • HHonors Silver status as long as you’re a cardmember.
  • 7 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on hotel stays within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • 5 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent at United States restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations.
  • 3 HHonors Bonus Points for every $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
  • Bonus: 50,000 HHonors Bonus Points when you spend $1,000 in purchases within your first three months of account opening.
  • Anniversary Bonus: Spend $20,000 on eligible purchases within a calendar year, and earn HHonors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.

Redeeming Points

Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points can be used in all sorts of ways, but you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you redeem your rewards for hotel stays at Hilton Portfolio hotels. The amount of points a hotel room costs will depend on a variety of factors, including the hotel you’ve chosen, the time of year, the time of week, and more.

For reference, you can get a standard hotel room on a weeknight for as little as 7,500 Bonus Points. This means that some of the bonuses on these cards could cover an entire week’s worth of hotel stays in the Hilton portfolio. Or, you could save up your points to use them for a few nights at a swankier resort, which is also an option.

Another option for using your HHonors Bonus Points is to upgrade from a standard room to a premium room. Pay for the standard room on your own, and then use your points to upgrade to a luxury suite at a Hilton hotel or resort.

For a full breakdown of how rewards can be used for various types of hotel room purchases, check out this chart from Hilton.

So Which Hilton HHonors™ Card is Best?

Hilton HHonors CardsWith all this information whirling in your head, deciding which card is best for you can be difficult. The card you choose will depend on a variety of unique factors. So, rather than telling you which card will work best for your needs, here are some questions you should ask before choosing between these excellent options:

Do I have the appropriate credit level? As you might guess, the cards that offer the best benefits also require the best credit. If you’re not quite there yet, this automatically relegates you to the no annual fee cards that offer lower rewards rates. You can always use this card wisely to increase your credit score, and then re-evaluate later.

See also: Not sure what your credit score is? See it for free with one of these options.

How much do I plan to travel? The rewards for the Hilton HHonors™ Surpass Card look tempting. You really can’t beat 12 points per $1 spent. However, you’ll only get that many bonus points on hotel stays within the Hilton portfolio. If you only travel once or twice a year, you’re not going to maximize those points. 

If you’re a jetsetter who travels multiple times a year for personal or professional purposes, either of these options could be a great fit.  If you tend to drive your own car but can commit to staying in Hilton hotels, the American Express Surpass option might be a better fit. It offers such great bonus points for hotel stays and gas stations.

How much do I plan to spend? Of course, you need to determine how much you plan to spend. All of these cards have great sign-up and anniversary bonuses, but they all have spending requirements to earn those bonuses.

The cards on this list with no annual fee also, unsurprisingly, have lower spending requirements for earning bonuses. These are likely much more attainable anniversary bonus goals. So, carefully examine the bonus options, and be sure you’ll spend enough on your credit card to earn those bonuses..

Which bonus works best for my needs? Even if you might be able to earn the anniversary bonus for each card on this list, you’ll want to examine which bonus would work best for your needs. For example, upgrading to HHonors Diamond or Gold status may not mean much to you if you only travel once or twice a year. But, free stays – or additional bonus points that could earn you free hotel stays – can be a much more flexible option.

How flexible is the card? Some people prefer to use a single credit card for all their needs, while others are fine keeping a portfolio of cards to use for different purposes. If you’re a one-card person, you may prefer a card that offers bonus points for spending on everyday things, like restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations. If you’re a multi-card person who travels often, the better option may be a high-earning travel rewards card. Then, you can use a different credit card for your everyday spending.

Will I out-earn the annual fee? There’s no inherent problem in keeping cards with an annual fee. But, if you only earn $100 worth of rewards on a card with a $95 annual fee, you’re not coming out much ahead of the game. To really play the credit card game well, you’ll need to make sure that you earn plenty of points to offset the annual fee.

When considering fine print on the card, check when the annual fee will apply. Ask how long you can keep your HHonors points stacked up. If you take three years to earn enough points for a huge resort vacation, you could pay $285 in annual fees. But, if you earn a resort stay worth $5,000, that’s well worth your time and spending.

The Bottom Line

There’s no hard and fast rule for picking out a credit card that will work best for you, especially not when there are so many great option on the market. But, if you’re a frequent traveler and love the Hilton portfolio, consider all your options. By asking yourself the right questions, you’ll be prepared to choose the HHonors Rewards card that best fits your needs.

Topics: Credit Cards

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