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Hilton HHonors American Express Card Review

Two free nights when you use the card

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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You earn six points per dollar at Hilton hotels, but also on groceries, gas, even your phone and wireless bill. And there's no annual fee.

Who the Hilton HHonors American Express Card Is For

  • Frequent customers at Hilton hotels who want to earn free stays

Credit Rating Required

  • Good to excellent (700+)

About the Hilton HHonors American Express Card

Pros

  • Six points per dollar at Hilton-owned hotels.
  • No annual fee.
  • 20,000 bonus points after first purchase.
  • No blackout dates.

Cons

  • Point values can be confusing.

Rewards

  • Six points per dollar at Hilton-owned hotels, plus supermarkets, gas stations, drug stores and wireless, phone, internet and cable providers.
  • Three points per dollar everywhere else.
  • 20,000 bonus points after first purchase.
  • 10,000 bonus points after first four stays at Hilton hotels in first 18 months.

APRs

  • 2.9% on purchases and balance transfers during the first six months, then the purchase rate.
  • 15.24% on purchases.
  • Penalty interest rate: 27.24%.

Fees

  • Annual fee: None.
  • Late payment fee: Up to $35.
  • Return check or payment fee: Up to $35.
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% of balance.
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2.7% of balance.

Hilton HHonors American Express Card Review

American Express has two rewards credit cards with the Hilton Hotels chain. This one has no annual fee, and as you would suspect the rewards are only about half as good as the Hilton HHonors Surpass card, which has a $75 annual fee.

With this card you earn six HHonors points for every dollar you charge at Hilton-owned hotels plus supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations - but not warehouse clubs or superstores. You also earn six points at communications providers, such as home and wireless phones, internet, cable and satellite services. So if you pay those bills with this card, it will be easy to rack up the points. You earn three points everywhere else.

You also get 20,000 bonus points after your first purchase, which Hilton and Amex say is enough for two free nights. Plus you can earn up to 10,000 more points after your first four stays at Hilton hotels during the first 18 months you have the card. You must charge at least $100 at each of these stays to earn the bonus.

There are no blackout dates on redeeming your rewards, as long as the room is available. Hilton hotel brands include Hilton, Doubletree, Hampton Inn and Embassy Suites.

You also get complimentary Silver status for life in the Hilton HHonors program.

Recommendation

With hotel rewards cards, as with other things in life, you get what you pay for. While it may be true that you get two free nights after your first purchase with this card, you may have to search long and hard to find a room that meets that criteria. When I got this card a few years ago, I was told that I would get enough points for one night's stay after signing up. Unfortunately, I wasn't told that it would be in a tiny town about 2,000 miles from home.

It's always best to read the fine print to find out exactly how many points you need to stay at the place you want to stay. You're more likely to get free nights if you get the card with the annual fee.

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