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A lot of can be used to book a Hilton hotel night, but are you using your most beneficial travel credit card when you’re paying for your Hilton stay? You need to consider these suggestions for your Hilton purchases if you don’t already own one to maximize each Hilton Honors stay.
Whether you only stay at a Hilton once a year or at least one day a week, you’ll find a rewards credit card from this list that compliments your travel habits.
Hilton Honors Card
Best For: Less than $15,000 in annual card purchases or a no-fee secondary credit card
Annual Fee: $0
When you plan on spending less than $15,000 a year on your card, apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Card.
But, if you only need a secondary credit card without an annual fee, the Hilton Honors Card offers these Hilton benefits:
- 7x points on Hilton purchases
- 5x points at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets
- 3x points on all other purchases
- Automatic Hilton Honors Silver status
As a Hilton Honors Silver member, you get the 5th night free on 5+ night rewards stays which is an indirect way to get a free hotel night certificate. You’ll also enjoy a 15% elite stay bonus too.
Hilton Honors Ascend
Best For: Spend at least $15,000 a year in card purchases
Annual Fee: $95
The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is the better option if you spend at least $15,000 a year in total card purchases.
By spending $15,000 a year, you get a free Hilton hotel night each year. Even if you come right under the $15,000 annual spending requirement the elevated 12-6-3 tiered purchase rewards can also justify paying the $95 annual fee because your additional points can help you earn rewards nights sooner.
In addition to the free weekend night certificate, you’ll also enjoy these benefits:
- 12x points on Hilton Honors Ascend
- 6x points at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets
- 3x points for all remaining purchases
Hilton will automatically upgrade you to Hilton Honors Diamond status for the next calendar year when you make at least $40,000 in card purchases in a year so you can get a 50% Elite Stay bonus and 48-hour room guarantee instead of a 25% Elite Stay bonus only.
Hilton Honors Aspire Card
Best For: Premium Hilton Honors and Air Travel Benefits
Annual Fee: $450
Frequent Hilton Honors guests that also fly on a regular basis benefit most from the Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
This benefit-rich card offers three layers of rewards and benefits:
- 14x points on Hilton purchases
- 7x points for flights booked directly with an airline or on amextravel.com, car rentals, and U.S. restaurants
- 3x points on all remaining purchases
Hilton Honors Benefits
- Automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status
- One automatic free weekend night each year
- Second free weekend night after spending $60,000 in annual card purchases
- $250 Hilton Resort credit
- $100 Hilton on-property credit
Air Travel Benefits
- $250 airline fee credit
- Priority Pass Select lounge membership for you and two guests
Platinum Card from American Express
Best For: Flexible travel rewards with premium travel benefits
Annual Fee: $550
The Amex Platinum is more known for its air travel benefits, but it has the highest purchase reward for Hilton hotel stays in the flexible travel rewards category. Hilton is also a 1:1 Membership Rewards transfer partner so you can transfer your points to your Hilton Honors account when you need to book a room in addition to booking plane tickets with Membership Rewards.
When you book your Hilton stays through Amextravel.com, you will earn 5x Membership Rewards points. You’ll also earn 5x points on all airfare purchased directly from the airline or Amex Travel.
Here are the top three reasons why Hilton Honors guests can enjoy the Amex Platinum:
- 5x points on all Hilton stays booked through AmexTravel.com
- Automatic Hilton Honors Gold Status
- 1:1 Hilton point transfers
These Hilton benefits are in addition to these other travel benefits:
- $200 air travel credit
- $200 Uber credits
- Membership to The Centurion Lounge, International American Express, Priority Pass Select, Delta SkyClub
- Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement
- Complimentary Boingo wifi hotspots access
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Best For: Flexible Travel Rewards and 25% Point Redemption Bonus
Annual Fee: $95 ($0 the first year)
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on every travel and dining purchase. Plus, you can earn 1x points for all other purchases. You might prefer the Sapphire Preferred to the co-brand Hilton credit cards if you don’t stay at Hilton properties on a regular basis but you still want your purchase rewards to be valuable for other methods of award travel.
The main drawback to owning either the Sapphire Preferred is that Hilton Honors isn’t a 1:1 Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partner. As a consolation, you do get a 25% point redemption bonus when you book any travel through Chase making your points worth 1.25 cents each; most rewards points are only worth 1 cent (or less) for other credit cards.
Although 1:1 point transfers are usually more lucrative, you can work the 25% point redemption bonus in your favor. Most hotel loyalty points are only worth 1 cent or less where you need at least 10,000 points for a $100 stay. With the Sapphire Preferred, that same $100 stay only requires 8,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
With the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, you can literally pay for your flight and Hilton hotel stays entirely with points. You can book your Hilton stays using the 25% redemption bonus and you either transfer your points to your frequent flyer account or book directly through Chase to buy your plane ticket. When booking any award travel directly through Chase, you can pay with a combination of points and cash if you don’t want to use all of your points.
Summary on Credit Cards to Use for Hilton Hotels
As expected, the co-brand Amex Hilton credit cards offer the highest purchase rewards on Hilton purchases and you can also enjoy additional Hilton Honors benefits that flexible rewards cards don’t offer. With four different Amex Hilton credit cards to choose from, there’s an option for every traveler. Or, if you relish the flexibility of a generic travel rewards card like the Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire, you can go that route too and still optimize each Hilton stay.
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