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Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Review

overall rating
3.4

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The Hilton Honors American Express Business card offers generous rewards for business travelers who favor Hilton properties. The card also offers a competitive one-time offer along with valuable lounge access that might alone justify paying the card's $95 annual fee.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Overall Rating
3.4
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
On American Express' Secured Site.
Current Offer

Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on select business & travel purchases, 3X everywhere else.
Balance Transfer Fee This card does not offer balance transfers.
Cash Advance APR (%) 25.24%
Cash Advance Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
how this card stacks up
When compared among all business cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is not one of our top-rated business credit cards. You can review our list of the best business credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Pros
  • Very rewarding for Hilton loyalists, with no spending caps

  • Strong one-time offer

  • Rich Hilton benefits

  • Valuable lounge access

Cons
  • Poor returns on non-Hilton rewards redemptions

Pros Explained

  • Very Rewarding for Hilton Loyalists, With No Spending Caps: If Hilton is among your preferred brands, earning 12 Hilton Honors points per dollar spent with the chain is a strong incentive to consider this card. With each point worth an average of 0.43 cents when used for further Hilton stays, by our valuation, these rewards deliver about 5% in return per dollar of spending. That return probably exceeds the rewards you'd receive on these purchases from any other business card. A further plus: Unlike business cards that cap the rewards you can earn at their best rate, Hilton Honors American Express Business allows unlimited earnings on these and all other purchases.
  • Strong One-Time Offer: The Hilton Honors American Express Business offers a tempting bonus offer in the form of 125,000 points when you spend $3,000 within the first three months. With an estimated value of more than $538 when used for Hilton stays, these points could easily earn you up to four award nights at Hiltons, depending on the properties and dates you choose. 
  • Rich Hilton Benefits: This card includes several other Hilton extras. Cardholders enjoy automatic Gold status in the Hilton Honors program, which adds to rewards an additional 8 points per dollar spent at Hilton compared with the earnings of regular members of the program. There’s the further opportunity to upgrade to Diamond status if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year. You also get award stays at Hilton properties: a complimentary weekend night if you spend $15,000 in a year, and a second if your spending hits $45,000 annually.
  • Valuable Lounge Access: This card comes with 10 passes per year that can be used at 1,300 Priority Pass lounges around the world. Each location offers free food and drink and other conveniences, such as the ability to take a shower and to read free newspapers and magazines. This is a valuable perk, as includes lounge membership ($79 the first year, $99 thereafter) and the standard Priority Pass Plus package provides 10 lounge visits for $299 and then unlimited visits for $32 each.

Cons Explained

  • Poor Returns on Non-Hilton Rewards Redemptions: It’s all but standard for the points earned on cards affiliated with airlines and hotels to be worth less when redeemed for anything except flights and hotel stays. And this card compensates somewhat for the low value of Hilton points—less than half a cent each—by giving more of them per dollar spent than do many cards. Still, despite those caveats, the returns when redeeming this card's points for anything but hotel stays with Hilton are unusually low. That’s especially the case when points are redeemed for shopping and merchandise, for example, are typically worth only a quarter of a cent or so. Points transfers to other loyalty programs are equally unrewarding. Where many programs offer 1:1 transfers, a single Hilton Honors point is worth one-tenth of a Delta mile if transferred to the carrier’s SkyMiles program. 

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist
  • Avatar for Loyalty Status Seeker Persona
    Seeks the recognition and perks of branded travel partner status
    Loyalty Status Seeker
  • Avatar for Frequent Flyer Persona
    Flies often for business or leisure
    Frequent Flyer
  • Avatar for Business Owner Persona
    Earning a primary or side income from a small business
    Business Owner

The Hilton Honors American Express Business is first and foremost a card for business travelers who routinely stay at Hilton properties. Such travelers will be hard-pressed to earn better rewards for Hilton stays with any other card. The extra weekend night you earn with a very achievable $15,000 a year in total card spending is another welcome incentive. 

While the card offers no better than half the rewards of Hilton purchases on other transactions, it's also worth considering for airfare, dining, gas, shipping and wireless telephone services. 

To receive optimal returns, though, travelers must be prepared to use the rewards they earn for more Hilton stays, since other redemption options with this card offer poor value. Then there are the Priority Pass lounge passes included with the Hilton Honors American Express Business. These alone arguably make the card worth considering by those who travel at least every month or so and lack a lounge option. Paying the card's $95 annual fee automatically earns you 10 annual passes worth about $400, which means you’re essentially getting passes at a quarter of their regular price. 

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card One-Time Offer

When you use this card to make $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of card membership, you earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points. Based on our valuation of these (of 0.43 cents each), we estimate the value of that bonus at about $537. That valuation seems to align well enough with some examples of the buying power of those points that we researched. We did so by using the chain's Points Explorer Tool, which can help you estimate how far points can take you. 

For example, the maximum number of points required for a single night at the Waldorf Astoria in Cabo San Lucas is 120,000, meaning the one-time offer could cover only a single night. On the other hand, the maximum number of points needed to book a room 30 minutes away at the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Los Cabos is just 30,000. If you qualify for the one-time offer, your points could be worth up to five nights at that location (as the fifth night would require no points when you book five consecutive nights with points). At some locations on some nights, however, stays may cost as little as 5,000 points per night. 

Rewards Earning Details

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the points you earn with the Hilton Honors American Express Business card. The following breaks down how points are earned. Remember, terms and limitations apply. 

  • Earn 12 Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar for purchases made directly with Hilton hotels and resorts
  • Earn 6 Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. wireless telephone-service providers
    • U.S. shipping purchases
    • U.S. restaurants
    • Flights booked with Amex Travel
    • Rental cars booked directly with select rental car companies
  • 3 Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar on all other purchases

This card actually boosts your earning potential for Hilton Honors points still more through automatically granting the cardholder Gold Status in the Hilton Honors Loyalty program. That status increases by 80% the number of points Honors members earn for their purchases—from 10 points per dollar spent to 18 points for Gold members. In effect, then, the 12 points per dollar earned with this card is actually 20 points once that Gold bonus is factored in.  

Rewards Redemption Details

Once you've begun earning points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business card you'll naturally want to redeem them at some point. Rewards earned with this card can be redeemed through the Hilton Honors program for:

  • Award nights in Standard and Premium rooms at Hilton properties
  • Unique experiences, such as concerts and travel tours
  • On-property rewards, including resort and vacation packages
  • Car rentals, rail miles, airline miles and Lyft credits
  • Shopping and dining
  • Charitable donations

In terms of what Hilton Honors points are worth, generally they're valued at 0.43 cents each. Depending on the redemption option you choose, you may be able to stretch that value. Compared to other hotel loyalty programs, that puts Hilton points on the lower end of the scale. If you're hoping to get the most value for your points, your best chance of doing that is to stick to using points for Hilton stays first, followed by travel benefits, with shopping, dining and donations coming in last, as the least lucrative options. 

Transferring Points

Through the Hilton Honors program, it's possible to exchange points earned with your card for points or miles in other travel programs. Current travel partners include: 

  • Alamo
  • American Airlines
  • Amtrak
  • Alaska Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Delta
  • Enterprise
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • National Car Rental
  • Qantas Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic

The number of points or miles you get in return depends on the travel partner. As a rule, however, the transfer ratios are paltry compared with other programs, some of which offer 1:1 points exchanges. 

For example, 10,000 Hilton Honors points is worth 1,000 Delta Miles and 1,500 Hawaiian AirMiles—representing ratios of just 10:1 and 7.5:1 respectively. The majority of travel partners allow you to exchange points starting at 10,000, though some raise the minimum to 25,000. 

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Maximizing rewards with this card hinges on your typical spending patterns. Here are two scenarios for maxing out rewards earnings. 

Average Case

Let's assume you own a business but don't have employees, making you responsible for all spending on the card. Your typical annual spending in this scenario includes $5,000 at Hilton hotels; $10,000 collectively on gas, restaurants, shipping, flights and car rentals; along with $5,000 on miscellaneous purchases. Altogether, you'd earn 175,000 points, beginning with 100,000 for the Hilton purchases. That’s based on 12 points per dollar spent from using the card, for a total of 60,000, plus the additional 8 points-per-dollar-spent afforded by this card automatically conferring Gold status in the Hilton Honors program, which (at 8 points extra per dollar spent, compared with regular membership) would add 40,000 more points to your earnings. Then there are the 60,000 points for the spending on gas, restaurants, shipping, flights and car rentals (all of which earns 6 points/dollar), and a final 15,000 for the miscellaneous purchases (which earns 3 points/dollar). 

Based on using Hilton’s Points Explorer Tool, which includes rooms that book for as little as 5,000 points and as much as 120,000 points per night, those rewards could be worth anywhere from about 1.5 to 35 nights at Hilton hotels and resorts. 

In dollar terms, using our valuation of Hilton Honors points, we estimate they'd be worth $752.

Aspirational Case

This scenario assumes business travel is a regular part of your routine, and that you have five employees, each of whom has a card on the account. Your total annual spending for Hilton purchases comes to $15,000; you spend $25,000 on gas, restaurants, shipping, flights and car rentals; along with $10,000 on miscellaneous purchases. 

Such spending would earn 480,000 points: 300,000 for the Hilton purchases (using the same formula as above, which includes both card earnings and extra earnings from the Gold Honors status it confers, and totals 20 points per dollar spent), 150,000 more on the gas, restaurants, shipping, flights and car rentals (all of which earn 6 points/dollar), and a final 30,000 for the miscellaneous purchases (which earn 3 points/dollar). 

In dollar terms, using our valuation of Hilton Honors points, we estimate they’d be worth a whopping $2,064.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Annual upgrade to Diamond status with sufficient spending: Spend $40,000 in eligible purchases with your card each calendar year to qualify.
  • Free weekend-night reward with sufficient spending: Spend $15,000 in eligible purchases each calendar year to qualify.
  • Second free weekend-night reward with sufficient spending: When you spend $60,000 in eligible purchases with your card in a single calendar year. 
  • 10 free Priority Pass visits annually: Get access to more than 1,000 Priority Pass lounges worldwide.

Standard Benefits

  • Baggage insurance
  • Global Assist hotline
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Amex Offers
  • Year-end account summary
  • Employee spending controls
  • Expense tracking tools

Cardholder Experience

American Express ranked second in J.D. Power's 2019 Small Business Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Its score of 838 out of a possible 1,000 was just below that of Discover, and well above the industry average of 849.

Customers can get in touch with American Express 24/7 by calling 800-528-4800. You can also log into your account and live chat with a representative, or send questions and comments to @AskAmex on Twitter. 

Security Features

The Hilton Honors American Express Business card is equipped with the security features you'd expect from a business travel card. That includes chip protection, the ability to set up account alerts and notifications, and dispute resolution should a fraudulent transaction occur.

Our Verdict

Like most co-branded cards, the Hilton Honors American Express Business is squarely aimed at frequent customers of its branded partner. That’s reflected in a rewards structure that awards two to four times the number of points to Hilton purchases than to any other transactions. And also through redemption arrangements that make using those rewards for still-more Hilton stays dramatically more lucrative than any other option. Those factors help make the card's $95 annual fee relatively easy to justify through rewards, especially if you both earn them through Hilton purchases and redeem them for Hilton stays.

Specifically, you need spend only about $1,000 a year (or less than $100 a month) at Hilton to justify the cost of the annual fee in points you’d use with Hilton. (That $1,000 would earn 12 points per dollar spent, for a total of 12,000, from the card alone. The automatic Gold status the card grants to the cardholder would add an incremental 8 points per dollar spent, for 8,000 more points than a member without status would earn. With each point worth an estimated $0.0043, or less than half a cent, those points would be worth about $77 when redeemed with Hilton.) That relatively low bar of 20,000 or so points would also be achievable through a manageable spend of $300 a month or so on other business spending, such as on flights, shipping, and cell-phone service.

Finally, this card's lounge-access benefit is one of the best we’ve seen for a card with a relatively low annual fee. Even if you derive no other benefits or rewards from the card, its 10 free passes to Priority Pass lounges essentially provide free food, drinks, and other perks for less than $10 a visit, which is a serious bargain.

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on American Express' Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
overall rating
3.4
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on select business & travel purchases, 3X everywhere else.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.