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In a Nutshell:
The American Express Hilton Honors Business card makes its grand debut with a large introductory bonus that can amount to a lot of free hotel nights if you spend it strategically.
Earn 130,000 points after you spend $3,000 in first 3 months
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
American Express Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Automatic Gold status, upgrade to Diamond status each year you spend $40,000, 25% bonus on Honors base points, free weekend night each year you spend $15,000, 2nd free weekend night each year you spend $60,000, 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits, 5th night free each rewards stay, no foreign transaction fees, baggage insurance, travel and emergency assistance, roadside assistance, car rental insurance, extended warranty, purchase protection, free employee cards, set limits and track spending on employee cards, designate an account manager, add receipts to transactions from your phone, connect to Quickbooks, year-end summary
American Express – which recently became the solitary issuer of Hilton Honors cards – has made some major updates to its portfolio of cards this year. One of the best developments is something that has been sorely lacking among Hilton cards: A business rewards card.
The Hilton Honors Business card, which carries many of the same perks and features as the personal version of the card as well as good business benefits, is designed to make a splash, thanks to its solid 130,000-point bonus (after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months) for new cardholders.
High earnings rate on travel
The Hilton Honors Business card offers the greatest rewards to cardholders who spend a lot of money on hotels and travel. You get 12 points for stays at Hilton hotels and resorts and 6 points on travel purchases, including directly booked flights and car rentals, and purchases at U.S. restaurants.
On top of that, the Hilton Honors Business card offers a 6-point bonus for common business expenses, including purchases at U.S. gas stations, and wireless phone and shipping services in the U.S. The remainder of your eligible purchases earn 3 points per dollar.
Altogether, it amounts to a high rewards rate, though you’ll need to take a close look at your travel and business spending to decide whether the business version of the card is right for you.
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® card – which features many of the same benefits for a $95 annual fee – offers a 6-point bonus on purchases at U.S. supermarkets in lieu of the bonus on business and travel purchases. Groceries constitute one of the largest spending categories for many cardholders. If you find that you spend more on groceries than on business and travel purchases, the Surpass card may be the better way to go.
Updated introductory bonus
The Hilton Honors Business card recently decreased its introductory bonus slightly, from 150,000 bonus points to 130,000 points for spending $3,000 in the first three months. Not only is this bonus lower than the previous offer, but it also requires a higher spend ($3,000 in the first three months for the current bonus versus $2,000 for the previous offer). That said, the previous bonus marked the card’s highest to date, so was bound to drop eventually.
Even though the card’s bonus has gone down, it could still be quite valuable. Keep in mind though that the offer is not quite as generous as it seems, because Hilton points are inflated – worth about half of the average rewards program point. Still, those 130,000 bonus points can amount to a fair number of free nights if you’re flexible on how you spend them. You can get as many as 26 nights if you can find a room in the 5,000-point range (even more if you take advantage of Hilton’s free fifth night benefit on rewards stays).
Additional free nights each year
Cardholders get a free weekend night each year they spend $15,000 and a second free weekend night when they spend $60,000 in a year. Also, cardmembers are automatically promoted to Gold elite status in the Hilton Honors card which entitles them to a fifth night free on every rewards stay.
This fifth night free benefit is extremely valuable – if you book all your rewards nights in five night increments or longer, you can really stretch your points. If you combine a free fifth night with your regular rewards earnings and the free weekend night certificates, you can feasibly score a free week at a Hilton hotel on a yearly basis.
Flexible redemption options
The Hilton Honors program is by far one of the most flexible hotel rewards programs, guaranteeing that you can use your rewards at any Hilton location where a standard room is available. Your points don’t expire as long as your card is active, there’s no limit to how many points you can earn and – if you don’t have enough points to cover a rewards stay — you can pay for rewards with a combination of points and cash without losing value on your points.
The program even gives you additional ways to redeem points, including for car rentals, merchandise and gift cards or as a transfer to a large number of airline partners. However, most of these options give you a very poor return on your points, so it’s best to stick to redeeming them for hotel stays.
Good travel perks
The card comes with an impressive array of additional perks for a $95 annual fee, including 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits each year, car rental insurance and many other travel and purchase protections. Your Gold status in the Hilton Honors program also entitles you to a plethora of hotel privileges, such as a 25 percent bonus on your base points, late checkout, free room upgrades and more.
Furthermore, the card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which means you can use it freely while traveling outside the U.S.
Benefits for business owners
The Hilton Honors Business card comes with business perks and features to help manage your expenses. The American Express® Business App is a mobile app that lets you – or an account manager – manage your account on the go, uploading receipts, labeling transactions and adding them to Quickbooks. You can also track employee spending from the app and create individual spending limits for each employee card.
Why get the Hilton Honors Business card?
- You or your employees stay frequently at Hilton hotels and resorts.
- You spend a lot on travel and dining for your business.
- You’re looking for a card with a large introductory bonus.
How to use the Hilton Honors Business card:
- Spend at least $3,000 in the first three months to earn the introductory bonus.
- Spend at least $15,000 in a year to earn a free hotel night.
- Book your rewards stays for at least five nights to earn an additional night free.
- Consider booking with Hilton’s “Points & Money” option – you can stretch your points further at a good value.
- Look for rewards bookings within the 5,000- to 20,000-point range – these offer the best value.
- Stay away from redemption options that aren’t hotel stays since the value per point is low.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please click here.
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