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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card may fit the bill if you're a business owner who wants to snag some elite Hilton benefits

The card earns 12 points for every dollar you spend at Hilton and 6 points per dollar in other bonus categories

Other major card member perks include Hilton Gold elite status and 10 Priority Pass airport lounge passes each year

CNN —  

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Our quick take: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is geared towards small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to earn rewards for free hotel stays and get elite status perks at Hilton hotels that can make travel more comfortable or affordable.

Pros:

  • Earn 12 points for every dollar you spend on Hilton purchases.
  • Earn 6 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations, on U.S. wireless telephone services, U.S. shipping purchases, U.S. restaurants, flights booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com and car rentals booked direct.
  • Earn 3 points per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Complimentary Hilton Gold elite status.
  • 10 free visits annually to Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide.
  • Earn a free weekend night when you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year.
  • Earn a second weekend night when you spend $60,000 on your card in a calendar year.
  • Free employee cards.
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).

Cons:

  • Hilton Honors points are worth less than many competing hotel loyalty programs.
  • Some card benefits require large amounts of annual spending to access.
  • $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Current welcome bonus: Earn up to 180,000 bonus points in two tiers: 130,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first three months after opening the account, plus 50,000 bonus points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases in the first six months.

Best for: Business owners who want to earn Hilton points on their business expenses, as well as business travelers who want access to elite perks when they fly or stay in Hilton hotels.

Digging into the Hilton Honors Amex Business Card

While Hilton offers several credit cards, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is the only option for small business owners and entrepreneurs. However, many Hilton fans opt to have both the Hilton Amex Business card and also a personal Hilton credit card in order to earn rewards on both their personal and business expenses.

But the Hilton Amex Business card is worth having as a standalone business card, particularly if you want to earn free hotel stays while enjoying some elite benefits. This business credit card will only set you back $95 per year, yet you’ll earn Hilton points for every dollar your business spends.

You’ll also receive Gold elite status — the middle tier of Hilton status, which comes with a complimentary continental breakfast each morning of your stay — just by having the Hilton Amex Business card. Other major card member benefits include 10 Priority Pass airport lounge passes each year, a weekend night award when you spend $15,000 on your card within a calendar year and another free weekend night when you spend a total of $60,000 within a calendar year.

If you’re able to snag that second free weekend night with $60,000 in annual spending, you’ll also receive complimentary Hilton Diamond elite status along the way, as the card awards Diamond status for $40,000 in spending each calendar year.

And fortunately, due to the pandemic, all weekend night certificates issued through 2022 can be used any night of the week — they are not currently limited to just weekends.

Advantages of the Hilton Amex Business card

Hilton Gold elite status means you’ll enjoy elite benefits like free breakfast, room upgrades, milestone bonuses and more. However, this status also earns 80% bonus points on paid stays. This means that instead of earning just the standard 10 Hilton points per dollar that all Hilton Honors members earn when they stay at Hilton hotels, you’ll earn 18 points for every dollar you spend just for your stay.

On top of that, paying with the Hilton Amex Business card earns another 12 points per dollar on Hilton purchases. This means that, at the end of the day, having Gold status and paying with your Hilton credit card will net you 30 total points for every dollar you spend at Hilton properties.

Earn bonus points when you stay at properties like the New York Hilton Midtown.
Hilton Hotels
Earn bonus points when you stay at properties like the New York Hilton Midtown.

Also, this card offers some unique protections and card member perks. You’ll receive extended warranty protection on eligible items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less, as well as purchase protection on items you buy with the card. So if an item is damaged or stolen within 90 days of buying it, you can be reimbursed up to $1,000 per occurrence, with a cap of $50,000 in claims per year.

And if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged while you’re traveling, the baggage insurance coverage on the Hilton Amex Business card will cover you for up to $1,250 per carry-on bag and $500 per checked bag. (Note that the maximum aggregate limit for covered persons per trip is $10,000 in New York State.)

Lastly, all bonus points earned from eligible purchases on the card will count as base points towards elite tier qualification and Lifetime Diamond status. This is a great perk if you are looking to earn a higher status level.

Disadvantages of the Hilton Amex Business card

The biggest downside of the Hilton Amex Business card is that it charges a $95 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year, which may or may not be worth it depending on how often you take advantage of your card member benefits. If you don’t stay at Hilton hotels often enough to use the Gold elite status perks, you may be better off with another business credit card that offers different benefits.

Also, some of the card member perks on the Hilton Amex Business require a very high level of annual spending. For example, you’ll earn a free weekend night when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, which is only an average of $1,250 per month. Yet you won’t earn a second free weekend night until you spend $60,000 within a calendar year, a much higher $5,000 monthly average.

Finally, you definitely won’t want to carry a balance on the Hilton Amex Business card, since its APR is a variable 15.74% to 24.74% depending on your creditworthiness (see rates and fees). That means if you don’t pay your balance in full every month, you’ll end up paying much more in interest than you’ll get in perks and rewards from having the card in the first place.

Stacking up the Hilton Amex Business card against our benchmark

CNN Underscored uses the Citi® Double Cash Card as our “benchmark” credit card. That doesn’t mean it’s the best credit card on the market — rather, it means we use it as a basic standard to compare other credit cards and see where they score better, and where they’re worse.

Here’s how the Hilton Amex Business card scores against our benchmark. The features of each card in the below chart are colored in green, red or white. Green indicates a card feature that’s better than our benchmark, red indicates the feature is worse than our benchmark and white indicates the feature is either equivalent or cannot be directly compared to our benchmark.

KEY DETAILS
Citi Double Cash Card Hilton Business Amex
Card type Mastercard American Express
Sign-up bonus None Up to 180,000 bonus points in two tiers: 130,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months after opening the account, plus 50,000 bonus points after you spend a total of $10,000 in the first 6 months.
REWARDS
Earning rate 2% on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it off) 12 points per dollar on Hilton purchases, 6x points at U.S. gas stations, on U.S. wireless telephone services, U.S. shipping purchases, U.S. restaurants, flights booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com and car rentals booked direct, and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases
Redemption value 1 cent (cash back) 0.6 cents per point*
Ease of basic redemptions Easy Easy
Advanced redemption options Can convert cash back to ThankYou points thattransfer to 16 airline partners if you also havethe Citi Premier or Citi Prestige Can pool points with other members or redeem for experiences and other travel
Quality of advanced redemptions Good Fair
FEES
Annual fee $0 $95
Foreign transaction fee 3% None
BENEFITS AND PROTECTIONS
Travel perks None Complimentary Gold elite status with Hilton Honors, Priority Pass membership with 10 free visits a year, Free weekend night after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, Second free weekend night after spending $60,000 in a calendar year, Global Assist hotline
Purchase protections None Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection
Travel protections None Secondary Auto Coverage, Baggage Insurance Plan
Other perks None None
INTEREST RATES ON PURCHASES AND BALANCE TRANSFERS
Introductory APR on purchases None None
Length of introductory APR on purchases N/A N/A
Introductory APR on balance transfers 0% None
Length of Introductory APR on balance transfers 18 months N/A
Introductory balance transfer fee 3% or $5, whichever is greater N/A
APR after intro period ends/standard APR 13.99%-23.99% variable 15.74%-24.74% variable
* Based on point valuations calculated by frequent flyer website The Points Guy.

As you compare different credit cards to the Hilton Amex Business, keep in mind that different cards are geared to different types of consumers. Where the Hilton Amex Business card is designed for business owners who want to earn free hotel stays, the Citi Double Cash is for consumers who want to earn cash back on their spending or consolidate and pay down high-interest debt.

To find the best credit card for your needs, consider the type of rewards you want to earn, as well as other card holder benefits you think you would use on a regular basis.

Other credit cards similar to the Hilton Amex Business Card

If you want to earn Hilton Honors points but you don’t necessarily want or need a business credit card, you should look at Hilton credit cards for consumers. Fortunately, there are three options to choose from, depending on the benefits you want and how much you’re willing to pay in fees.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card earns fewer points and comes with limited perks, but it has no annual fee (see rates and fees). You can also opt for the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, which features many of the same benefits as the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, including Gold elite status and 10 free Priority Pass lounge passes.

You could also apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. This luxury travel credit card will set you back $450 per year, but you’ll get benefits like automatic Hilton Diamond elite status, a $250 airline fee credit, a $250 resort credit, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership and a free weekend night each year. This card also comes with a generous welcome bonus and a higher earning rate on Hilton purchases and other bonus categories.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by CNN. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through CNN.

And if you’re not specifically looking for Hilton perks, you might consider a broader American Express business travel card. Both the American Express® Business Gold Card and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express earn Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to any of 21 airline and hotel partners, including Hilton itself if you decide you want Hilton points.

You’ll even get two Hilton points for every one Membership Rewards point you transfer from either of these cards. But with so many possible transfer partners, you’ll likely find even more value with one or more of the other options.

Should you get the Hilton Amex Business Card?

Business owners who frequent properties like the Hilton Greenville in South Carolina should consider the Hilton Amex Business card.
Hilton Hotels
Business owners who frequent properties like the Hilton Greenville in South Carolina should consider the Hilton Amex Business card.

You should take the time to compare the Hilton Amex Business to the other personal Hilton cards to see if its features fit your needs and spending habits, as well as other flexible travel credit cards that let you book hotel stays not only with Hilton, but also with any other hotel brand. Make sure you consider all your options until you find the right fit.

But if you’re a business owner who wants to snag some elite Hilton benefits and also earn points that can score you or your employees a free Hilton stay down the line, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card may fit the bill.

Learn more about the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.

Looking for a business credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best business credit cards of 2021.

Get all the latest personal finance deals, news and advice at CNN Underscored Money.