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A few months back, I wrote about how I booked my second Maldives trip in two years. I primarily leveraged the Hilton Aspire card to bank free night certificates and book premium properties in the Hilton portfolio. While the Hilton Aspire card is a fantastic card for people who stay frequently at Hilton, it may not be for everyone, given its $550 annual fee. If you’re looking to save on annual fees and simply dip your toes, then the Hilton Honors card is a great starter card.


I started dipping my toes into the world of miles and points in 2012. I had corporate travel each month, which meant that I had to stay at an Embassy Suites, given its proximity to my office. That’s when I first picked up a co-branded Hilton Honors card by American Express. If you’re looking to get started and want some points to book your Hilton stay, then the Hilton Honors card is a great option.

Hilton Honors Card Welcome Bonus: 70,000 POINTS + 1 FREE NIGHT CERTIFICATE

hilton honors card

The all inclusive Hilton Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The Hilton Honors card charges no annual fee. With this welcome bonus, you’ll earn 70,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $2,000 in the first 6 months. In addition, you will also earn one free night certificate after you meet this spend threshold. The free night certificate is valid for one year after it is issued.

This is really easy to attain as you only need to spend $334 per month.



hilton honors card

View from the pool at the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, Thailand

With the Hilton Honors card, your points can add up fast. The card offers some really lucrative bonus categories.

  • 7x points for every dollar you spend at Hotels in the Hilton portfolio
  • 5x points for every dollar you spend on dining/takeout/delivery, grocery and gas in the US
  • 3x points for every dollar you spend on all other purchases

Simply put, this is a great card to use for expenses that you would incur during the month. I really like the 5x points category as it’s pretty broad and covers most of the categories I spend on during the month. If you drive to work and eat out on the weekends, then you can really earn a ton of points simply on those expenses.

Let’s say you spend $3,000 in a month in the 5x category. You’ll earn 180,000 Hilton Honors points in a single year if you put all those expenses on your card.


hilton honors card

A villa in the forest – Hilton Shillim, India

In addition to bonus points, the card grants you Silver Elite status. You’ll enjoy the following benefits:

  • No resort fees on award stays
  • Digital check-in and check-out
  • Free Wifi
  • 20% bonus points on stays
  • Free bottled water
  • 5th night free on reward stays

While it’s not as great as Gold or Diamond status, it’s a good option if you’re just getting started with the Hilton portfolio. However, you can be upgraded to Gold status if you spend $20,000 on your card in a calendar year.


a patio with a table and umbrella

Enjoying breakfast with a view at the Conrad Koh Samui

If you’re looking to get Gold status for the breakfast benefit and other added benefits, then the Hilton Surpass Card may be a better option for you. If you’re a frequent traveler like me who primarily likes to stay at premium properties, then I’d highly recommend the Hilton Aspire card.

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Offer Application Link Complimentary Elite Status
Hilton Honors Card 70,000 points + 1 free night Apply Now Silver
Hilton Surpass Card 130,000 points + 1 free night Apply Now Gold
Hilton Aspire Card 175,000 points + 1 free night certificate Apply Now Diamond
Hilton Business Card 130,000 points Apply Now Gold



Overall, the Hilton Honors card is a great option to get started with earning points in the Hilton portfolio. While I’d highly recommend the Hilton Aspire card, it may not be for everyone, depending on your frequency and style of travel.

If you simply want to rack up a ton of Hilton points, then the Hilton Honors card and the Hilton Surpass card make perfect sense.

Which is your favorite co-branded Hilton credit card? Tel us in the comments section.


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