What’s the best Hilton Honors credit card of 2019?

Woman enjoying breakfast that earns her Hilton Honors points Woman enjoying breakfast that earns her Hilton Honors points Image:

In a Nutshell

If you’re looking for a hotel credit card, you might be interested in learning more about the four Hilton Honors credit cards to figure out which one is right for you. In this article, we’ll lay out our picks of the best cards for welcome bonuses, free hotel nights, Hilton stays, annual fees and business use.

Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors' opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when it’s posted.
Advertiser Disclosure

We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.

These offers are no longer available on our site: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Hilton Honors Card from American Express

Finding the best Hilton Honors credit card depends on what you’re looking for.

Here’s our take on the best Hilton Honors credit cards to help you find the right one for your situation.



Best for welcome bonus: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

From our partner

Here’s why: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers the welcome bonus with what we believe is the best value.

You’ll earn 130,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases during the first 4 months after opening the account.

Sure, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card features a slightly larger 150,000-point welcome bonus, but you have to spend $4,000 on purchases during the first three months of card membership to earn it.

Best for free hotel nights: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Here’s why: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card features an annual free weekend-night reward (available via redemption code emailed within a few months after opening the card, and then each year after your card anniversary).

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card also comes with an up to $250 annual Hilton Resort statement credit, which you can use to cover or reduce the cost of staying at a Hilton Resort (but not a standard Hilton hotel). Your first reward year starts on the day you open your account. You’ll also have the opportunity to earn an additional free weekend-night reward yearly by spending at least $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card each calendar year.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, by contrast, offers a free weekend-night reward if you spend at least $15,000 in a calendar year, and another free weekend-night reward if your spending totals $60,000 in that same time period. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card also comes with a free weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases during the calendar year.

Best for Hilton stays: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Here’s why: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card will pamper you during hotel stays.

You’ll automatically receive Hilton Honors Diamond elite status, which lasts as long as you keep the card open. Diamond elite status entitles you to certain benefits at eligible hotels, like room upgrades, late checkout, complimentary breakfast and executive lounge access.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card both come with Gold status (a step below Diamond status), while the basic Hilton Honors Card from American Express comes with Silver status.

Best for annual fee: Hilton Honors Card from American Express

From our partner

Here’s why: The Hilton Honors Card from American Express comes with a $0 annual fee.

That makes this entry-level Hilton card an easy pick for hotel-rewards seekers who would rather avoid an annual fee than earn a few more points. By contrast, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card both charge a $95 annual fee, while the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card’s annual fee comes in at $450.

Check out our review of the Hilton Honors Card from American Express to learn more.

Best for business: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

From our partner
See Details, Rates & Fees

Here’s why: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card gives small-business owners and people who are self-employed an opportunity to be rewarded for their business expenses.

First, you’ll earn a welcome bonus of 125,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening the card.

But that’s not the only way to earn points. Do you take your clients out to eat? You’ll earn six points for every $1 spent at U.S. restaurants. Travel much for business? You’ll earn six points for every $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel. Ride-share drivers will also appreciate that the card offers six points for every $1 spent at U.S. gas stations.

You can use all of those hotel points to save money on your next business trip — or to take a well-earned vacation.


How we picked these cards

We started with the four Hilton Honors credit cards.

From there, we compared the different features of these cards that we thought would be most relevant to people who are interested in staying at Hilton. That included the welcome bonus, free-night certificates, automatic hotel status benefits and annual fee.

In most categories, one card stood out above the rest. But when looking at these cards’ welcome bonuses, we considered not only the number of points earned, but also the amount of money you would have to spend to earn those points.

How to make the most of Hilton Honors cards

You might have been blown away by how many points these Hilton Honors credit cards offer.

We should point out that Hilton Honors bonus points may be less valuable than points from other hotels. We’ve pegged them at less than a penny each — 0.43 cents, to be specific. That doesn’t mean you should disregard these credit cards, but it’s important to understand how to redeem your points wisely to get the most value.

Hilton offers the fifth night free of charge when you book a five-night or more stay with your hotel points. So we recommend using your points in five-night increments at the same hotel.

Keep in mind that the free night doesn’t carry over to your next hotel stay. So if you book a four-night stay, you won’t get to take advantage of your complimentary fifth night.

It’s also a good idea to pay cash for less-expensive hotel stays so that you can save your points for when a more expensive trip comes around.