Fastest no annual fee Honors point earning.
There are two cards with no annual fee that earn Hilton Honors points directly: this American Express card and the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature. The American Express version earns points more quickly, with 7x points at Hilton properties versus 6x for the Citi Honors Visa, and 5x points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations versus 3x for the Citi Honors Visa. You also get 3x points on everything else versus just 2x with the Citi Honors Visa.
Honors Silver status.
You get free Honors Silver status every year you hold the card. Don’t expect much from that. You might get a slightly more desirable room, and can earn more points on hotel stays, but there’s not much else to it. You can also move up to Gold status if you spend $20,000 or more on the card in a year.
Foreign transaction fees.
If you use this card while you travel abroad, you’ll get hit with 2.7% fees on your purchases.
Honors points aren’t the most valuable.
Hilton points aren’t the most valuable around, as it takes a lot of points just to get a free night at most hotels. Think 40,000 points or more for a decent hotel. They make up for it by making the points really easy to earn, but if you’re simply trying to earn points for hotel nights via your card spending, other cards like the Chase Hyatt Visa and Starwood American Express could earn you free nights at nice hotels more quickly.
If you’re just dipping your toes in the water and don’t want to pay an annual fee, it’s hard to go wrong with this card for earning Hilton Honors points. It earns more points from your everyday spending than the other no annual fee alternative, the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature.
That’s because Amex isn’t accepted quite as widely as Visa, so they are more generous with points to help make up for that.
Are you better off paying an annual fee?
Both come with free Honors Gold VIP status and earn more points for Hilton stays and in some bonus categories.
Basically you’ll come out ahead with those cards in two situations:
You can use our CardFinder tool to compare and see which Hilton cards earn you the most points based on your spending habits.
And remember it’s okay to hold more than one Honors card.
For example, if you travel abroad frequently, you might want to hold this card and the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve ($95 annual fee).
Use the Honors Reserve for foreign purchases, Honors Gold VIP status, and to earn more points on airline and car rental purchases (5x).
Then use this no annual fee American Express for all of your other purchases.
You can also participate in some generous sign up bonuses from the other cards to earn free nights faster.
Follow @MileCards on Twitter for the latest updates and new offers
Foreign Transaction Fee Waived
Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?
Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.
"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."
Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Citi® Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature® Card - no annual fee.