One of the best ways to maximize how many points you earn for hotel stays is to pay with a credit card that earns bonus points.
The best card to use differs based on which hotel chain you’re staying at. We’re therefore publishing this series to explain the best card to use with each chain. (n.b. we don’t have credit card affiliate links – here’s why – so these recommendations are unbiased and based solely on my own opinions.)
Today, we’ll look at the best credit card to use for Hilton hotel stays.
The Best Card
If you’re staying at one of Hilton’s brands, in my opinion the best card to use is the Hilton Honors Surpass card by American Express. Although it has a $75 annual fee, there are a few reasons why I think it’s the best option:
- It earns 12 points per dollar spent at all of Hilton’s brands. That’s on top of all the points you’ll earn from the stay itself.
- It comes with Gold status. If you wouldn’t have status otherwise with Hilton, this has the potential to be quite useful. Gold status earns you a 25% bonus on base points, room upgrades and gets you free breakfast at several of their brands.
- There are frequently money-saving Amex Offers when staying at Hilton brands. For example, there are regular offers for a $50 statement credit when spending $250 at Hilton, a $35 statement credit when spending $175 at Hampton, etc.
- You earn 500 Hilton Honors points every time you pay for a stay with a Hilton branded credit card.
Other Card Options
While I think the Surpass card is the best option, there are other cards worth considering:
1) Hilton Honors Credit Card
Hilton have two credit cards – the Surpass card mentioned above and the standard Hilton Honors card.
The standard card is different to the Surpass card in a few ways; three of the main points are:
- You earn 7 points per dollar spent at Hilton brands (vs 12 points for the Surpass card)
- There’s no annual fee (vs $75 for the Surpass card)
- It only comes with Silver status which doesn’t offer free breakfast at several of their brands
It’s eligible for Amex Offers like the Surpass card though, so it can be a good choice if you want a card with no annual fee.
2) Chase Sapphire Reserve
Another option would be to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. That’s because it earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all travel.
Some people value 3 Ultimate Rewards points more highly than 12 points in the Hilton Honors scheme, although it depends on what you’re collecting towards. Seeing as we’ll be living in hotels for the next five years, we’ll be able to redeem our Hilton Honors points more strategically than the majority of people can. That means we can stretch the value of 12 Hilton Honors points per dollar further than 3 Ultimate Rewards.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve also has a $450 annual fee, so you’d need to value the other benefits highly enough to make it worthwhile.
3) Citi Prestige
The Citi Prestige card offers the fourth night free when booking your stay either through their portal or via the concierge.
If you’re booking a two week trip, this won’t save you much money as a percentage of your stay. You’ll save ~20% for a four night stay though (taxes and fees aren’t included in the discount, so it’s not a true 25% discount). That might make this card worth using, but its $450 annual fee might not outweigh how much you’d save if you’re not frequently making use of the card’s benefits.
The Thank You points that you earn with the Prestige card can be transferred to several different airline loyalty schemes which is the best way to maximize your points.
The points can also be transferred to Hilton Honors on a 1:1.5 basis, so 1,000 Thank You Points convert to 1,500 Hilton Honors points. That’s not a great redemption value, but it’s an option if you need to top up your Hilton account for a specific redemption.
Other Posts In This Series
Check out the other posts in this series to find out the best credit cards to use for stays at:
Do you think there’s a better card to use when staying at Hilton hotels? Let us know what you think in the comments below.