The 3 Hilton Honors Credit Cards, Compared

CREDIT CARDS - HOTEL CREDIT CARDS
Sign up for a Hilton Honors credit card and get benefits like bonuses, free stays, and airport lounge access.
Updated April 30, 2024
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If you love to travel but you’re on a budget, you’re likely looking for the best travel credit card that can help you snag benefits and free hotel stays. For Hilton hotel devotees, signing up for a branded credit card can be a smart strategy. But which Hilton credit card is best for you? Find out below.

The 3 Hilton cards, compared

If you frequently stay at Hilton hotels or resorts, it makes sense to become a Hilton Honors member. Joining this free program can earn you perks like a guaranteed member discount, no resort fees, and complimentary late check-out. If you progress to Silver, Gold, or Diamond status, you can even earn extra hotel benefits like a complimentary breakfast (people’s favorite free benefit!) and free hotel stays.

You can achieve a higher membership status faster by signing up for a Hilton-branded credit card. There are three credit cards available to consumers:

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Annual fee $0
Terms apply
$150
Terms apply
$550
Terms apply
Bonus Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
Earning rate 7X points at participating hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio; 5X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases 12X points on eligible purchases at participating Hilton hotels or resorts; 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; 4X points on U.S. online retail purchases; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other eligible purchases
Travel credits None
  • Up to $200 Hilton Credit annually (up to $50 in statement credits each quarter for eligible purchases made directly with Hilton)
  • Up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually at participating Hilton Resorts
  • Up to $100 Hilton property credit
  • Up to $200 back per year ($50 in statement credits each quarter) on eligible flight purchases
Honors status Silver Gold Diamond
Free nights None Free Night Reward after spending $15,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year
  • Annual Free Night Reward
  • Second Free Night Reward after $30,000 in spend and a third after $60,000 in spend in the same calendar year
Airport lounge access None None None
Other perks
  • Foreign transaction fees: None
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Foreign transaction fees: None
  • Baggage insurance
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection
  • Foreign transaction fees: None
  • Return protection
  • Baggage insurance
  • Car rental and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by FinanceBuzz.

When to get the Hilton Honors American Express card

The Hilton Honors American Express Card could be a good choice for someone who wants to get the most out of their Hilton Honors points and boost their status level but who wants a card with a $0 annual fee. 

The welcome bonus is relatively generous: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. Depending on where you want to stay, that bonus could be enough to get you a few free nights at a hotel. 

When it comes to earning points on Hilton hotel stays, you’ll earn them twice: Once from your credit card rewards and then again from your Silver Hilton Honors status, which you automatically receive regardless of how many stays you’ve booked.

As a Silver member, you earn 12 points per $1 spent at Hilton properties. Use your credit card to book your stay, and you’ll get an additional 7X points per $1 spent. That means you can get 19 points per $1 spent at Hilton properties, helping you earn points nearly twice as fast as someone who is just a Hilton Honors Club member.

The card offers some nice travel benefits, too. You’ll get perks like car rental and damage insurance, extended warranty protection, and purchase protection.

However, there are some downsides to keep in mind. Compared to the other Hilton-branded credit cards, the rewards are fairly low. If you stay at a Hilton-branded hotel more than a few times a year, upgrading to one of the other premium cards could give you a higher rate of return and more benefits.

Check out our full Hilton Honors American Express Card review.

When to get the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

If you’re looking for a step up from the Hilton Honors Card, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card may be the best hotel credit card for you. With a small annual fee — $150 — it offers a bigger welcome bonus, higher rewards, and more perks.

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of opening an account. That’s enough to cover the 126,000 points needed for three nights at the Tropicana Las Vegas — a $330 value.

You’ll receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status. That means you can earn up to 30 points per $1 spent at Hilton properties: 12X points per $1 spent from your credit card and 18X points per $1 spent from the Hilton Honors Gold status. That’s three times as many points you’d earn as just a Hilton Honors member.

The card also has added benefits that enhance its value. If you spend at least $15,000 with your card, you’ll qualify for a Free Night Reward. You’ll also get up to $200 in Hilton Credit annually (up to $50 in statement credits each quarter for eligible purchases made directly with Hilton, enrollment required). The card offers other benefits as well, including travel insurance and purchase protections.

While the card has value, its annual fee means it might not be right for you if you only travel occasionally. To offset its cost, you’d have to spend enough to earn a free hotel night or two. If you spend less than that a year, you may be better off with a general rewards credit card.

Check out our full Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review.

When to get the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

If you travel and stay at Hilton-branded hotels multiple times a year, opting for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card likely makes sense. Offering elite membership status and premium rewards, you can earn valuable perks quickly.

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months. That’s enough to cover the cost of a four-night stay — 148,000 points — at the Hilton Garden Inn Center City in Philadelphia, a $584 value.

You’ll also receive complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status. You’ll earn 14X points per $1 spent at Hilton properties with your card and 20 points per $1 spent with your Diamond status, giving you a total of 34 points per $1 spent. That’s nearly double what a Hilton Honors cardmember earns and more than three times what someone earns with just membership status.

The card does have a relatively high annual fee of $550. To offset the cost, you’ll probably need to travel several times a year and take advantage of the card’s other perks. If used wisely, you can get more benefits from the card that justify its annual fee:

  • Free Night Reward: You can choose from most Hilton-branded properties to redeem your Free Night Reward. Depending on where you stay, this benefit could be worth up to $500. For example, a night at the Boca Beach Club Waldorf Astoria, a luxury resort, is $498.
  • Up to $100 property credit: Use your card to book an eligible property through HiltonHonors.com/AspireCard, and you’ll receive a property credit of up to $100, which will be applied to your hotel bill at checkout.
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit: Select a qualifying airline at AmericanExpress.com/AirlineCreditChoice and then use your card to pay for eligible flight purchases. You'll receive $200 back per year ($50 in statement credits each quarter) to cover those costs.
  • Up to $200 Hilton Resort credit: Each year, you’ll receive up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually at participating Hilton Resorts.

However, to take advantage of all of these credits, you’d have to travel often. If you only travel once or twice a year, you may only be able to use a fraction of them.

Check out our full Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card review.

Applying for a card

If you’re a fan of Hilton-branded hotels and travel often, signing up for one of its credit cards could be wise. Figuring out which Hilton credit card is best is dependent on your travel and spending habits. Occasional travelers would probably enjoy the Hilton Honors American Express Card, while frequent travelers who indulge in luxury amenities will likely prefer the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

Robust Welcome Offer

4.8

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Current Offer

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months

Annual Fee

$150

Rewards Rate

12X points on eligible purchases at participating Hilton hotels or resorts; 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; 4X points on U.S. online retail purchases; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Kat Tretina Kat Tretina is a personal finance expert focusing on practical financial matters, including student loans, debt repayment, side hustles, insurance, and healthcare. Drawing from her personal experience, she aims to simplify complex financial topics and provide individuals with the information they need to make informed decisions.

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