Hilton Honors Card

Credit cards get a bad rap these days, and in many cases it's for good reason.  Without the proper responsibility, credit cards can cause serious financial harm.  But if you have the maturity to manage credit cards appropriately then the Hilton Honors rewards system through the Hilton Honors card program should be considered, as it provides an ability to quickly accrue points that can be used at Hilton-affiliated hotels.

Hilton Honors Basics

The Hilton Honors card is offered through two card companies, American Express and Visa (offered through Citibank).  Hilton Honors points can be accrued with both cards, but the point systems are different between the cards.

First off, lets get the bets part of the Hilton Honors card out of the way.  There is no annual fee with either the American Express card or the Visa card.  There is the option of upgrading the American Express card to receive more points, and that card does include an annual fee.  However, the basic American Express Hilton Honors card provides sufficient rewards without the fee.

How to Accrue Points With the Hilton Honors Program

With the American Express card you receive 6 Hilton Honors points for every dollar spent to pay for a stay at a Hilton-affiliated hotel.  In addition, you receive 6 points every dollar spent in the following categories:

  • Grocery stores
  • Drugstores
  • Gas stations
  • Home and wireless phone
  • Cable and satellite TV

At all other merchants, you receive 3 points for every dollar spent.  In addition, you receive 500 points when booking a Hilton-affiliated hotel stay online and charge it to your American Express Hilton Honors card.  They also give you a 20,000 point bonus on your first purchase.

The Citibank Hilton Honors card works in a similar fashion, just with a less generous point system.  You receive 3 points per dollar spent on purchases at grocery stores, drugstores, and gas stations, and 2 points per dollar spent elsewhere.  You still receive 6 points per dollar for stays at Hilton-affiliated hotels.

The ideal thing to do is get both cards and use the American Express card as your primary Hilton Honors card.  You can then use the Citibank Visa card as your backup at places that do not accept American Express. 

Hotel Categories and Points Required for Stays

But the question everyone asks when they sign up for a reward-based credit card is what do the points get you.  The hotels are broken down into categories, and the points required for one free night depends on the category of the hotel.

Hotel Category 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Points for One Free Night 7,500 12,500 25,000 30,000 35,000 40,000


The table above does not includes all Hilton-affiliated hotels with the exception of Waldorf hotels which have a different point schedule.

What is surprising is how quickly the point totals accumulate.  If you use your Hilton Honors card for the majority of your purchases, you will have plenty of points in no time. 

Other Ways to Use Hilton Honors Points

You can use your Hilton points to purchase fun vacation getaways as well.  The program offers packages to the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Egypt, Las Vegas, Hawaii, and many other locations.

However you want to use the points you gather with your Hilton Honors card, you will welcome the ability to stay at nice hotels without paying a dime.  I have used it for fun vacations in New York and Hawaii.  The free nights have come in handy when my family has had to stay in a hotel due to an emergency.  I have tried other point programs, but Hilton Honors has the best rewards while offering the ability to quickly accumulate points.