Want to stay at Hilton hotels for free? The best way to achieve that is through using certain credit cards that let you rack up points for Hilton stays. Hilton has partnered with both Citi and American Express to offer credit cards that let you earn Honors™ Bonus Points every time you use them to pay for everyday purchases. Under Hilton's rewards program, Hilton Honors, you can redeem your points for free Hilton hotel stays or to offset your accommodation costs. Hilton tends to attract traveling executives, but many hotels in the Hilton group cater to vacationers, airport overnighters and people traveling by road. If you stay at hotels at least a few nights every year, then using a hotel credit card can help you save money and enjoy more perks during your stay. That's especially true if the card doesn't have an annual fee.
Many of these cards also come with attractive bonus offers when you open an account as a new credit card customer at the respective bank. You can take advantage of those bonus offers to enjoy anything from a long stay in a cheap hotel to a shorter but unforgettable experience in one of Hilton's amazing luxury hotels. When you combine the points you get from bonus offers with points you earn on your spending over a year or more, the dream of enjoying a luxury vacation on the house can easily become a reality.
Here is GET.com's pick of the best credit cards for Hilton stays:
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express has an incredible bonus offer of 100,000 Hilton Honors(TM) Bonus Points which you get after you charge $3,000 of purchases to your Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. This is a limited time offer (it ends 5/31/17)! This card has a $75 annual fee but that fee can really be a bargain because you earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for every $1 of eligible purchases you make with your Card at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants! Plus you earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points any other eligible purchases you make using your Card. This card will reward you exceptionally well if you stay at Hilton hotels regularly because you earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio, when you charge those purchases to this card. Terms and limitations apply. As long as you are a Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express Card Member, you enjoy Hilton Honors Gold status, which entitles you to a 25% bonus on all the Honors Base Points you earn, additional bonus Honors Points on stays (amount varies between hotel brands) 5th night free on standard room reward stays of 5 nights or more, complimentary access to hotel operated fitness centers and health clubs, 2nd guest stays free and many more perks. If you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases with your Card in a calendar year, you can earn Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year, which gives you even more privileges and a 50% bonus on all the Honors Base Points you earn.
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card, a partner card, has no annual fee and lets you earn 75,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points after you make $2,000 or more of purchases within your first 3 months after account opening, keep in mind that this is a limited time offer. You earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for every dollar spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio, and 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 you spend on purchases at supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores. So you earn decent rewards both on spending at Hilton Portfolio Hotels, and on your everyday spending. You earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 that you spend on all your other purchases. As long as you are a cardmember you enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status.
Check out our Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card review.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser, strikes a good balance between getting rewards and paying no annual fee. Limited time offer: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you charge just $2,000 in purchases to the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. You earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each $1 of eligible purchases you charge on your Card directly with a participating Hilton Portfolio hotel or resort, so if you pay for stays at Hilton Portfolio Hotels you can earn a lot of Honors Bonus Points. Whether you travel a lot or not, you can still earn a lot of points on regular spending that you can save up towards a vacation. You earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for every $1 of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations which you charge to this card, and 3 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases you make with your Card. On top of that, you enjoy complimentary Silver status when you hold this card, and that entitles you to a lot of perks and savings (15% bonus on Honors Base Points earned, every 5th night free on standard room reward stays of 5 nights or more (up to 4 free nights on a stay of 20 consecutive nights in the same stay, complimentary access to hotel owned and operated fitness centers and health club facilities during your stay). You earn 500 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points for each qualifying stay when you book your reservation and pay for your hotel stay using Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express.
Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card has a $95 annual fee, but that fee can be worth it if you stay at Hilton Hotels a lot. After you make $2,500 in purchases within 4 months of account opening, you earn 2 weekend night certificates that you can use at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio. This card lets you earn 10 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 you spend on hotel stays within the Hilton portfolio, making it a rewarding card if you travel for business or leisure regularly. You also earn 5 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on airline and car rental purchases, so here again this card rewards regular travelers. You earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points per $1 for all other eligible purchases you charge to this card. You enjoy HHonors Gold status perks (25% bonus on all the HHonors Base Points you earn, every 5th night free on standard room reward stays of 5 nights or more, special privileges at different hotel groups within the Hilton Portfolio) for as long as you are a cardmember, which is another reason why Hilton regulars can benefit from this card. You earn an anniversary bonus of one weekend night in a standard room with double occupancy at select hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio after you spend $10,000 on purchases each year (starting from the date of your first annual fee payment) and keep your account open. This card has no foreign transaction fee.
Read our review of Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card here.
Citi Prestige® Card is a more exclusive travel card designed for regular travelers looking for exceptional benefits. You earn 40,000 bonus points after you charge $4,000 in purchases to your new card in the first 3 months that your account is open. Those bonus points are redeemable for a $532 flight on any airline or $400 in gift cards or, thanks to the Points Transfer benefit you get with this card, up to 75,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points. This benefit lets you get 1,500 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points for every 1,000 ThankYou Points you transfer. Other frequent travel programs that you can transfer points to at a 1:1 rate include Virgin America Elevate®, and many foreign airline programs including Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, Flying Blue, and Asia Miles. You earn 3x ThankYou® Points on air travel and hotels, 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment, and 1 point for each $1 you spend on other purchases. Benefits like $250 of air travel credit each year, complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay, complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges and hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass™ Select, plus complimentary greens fees at more than 2,400 private and public golf courses around the globe make this a card you will probably want in your wallet. But you will have to travel regularly to take full advantage of the benefits you get with this prestigious $450 annual fee card.
Read our Citi Prestige® Card review to see more benefits.
The Platinum Card® from American Express can also make your Hilton stays more enjoyable, because as a cardholder you get complimentary enrollment in Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status! You will have to enroll if you want to take advantage of this perk, but you won't have to pay. You would normally have to accumulate 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points in a calendar year to get this status. As a Hilton HHonors™ Gold member you earn a 25% bonus on the HHonors Base Points you earn, and when you redeem points for stays you receive every 5th night free (for Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more), complimentary standard internet access in-room and in the lobby at many hotels in the Hilton portfolio, complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs, late checkout, and the second guest stays free in a shared room. Gold status also gives you unique privileges at certain hotels, such as 250 HHonors Bonus Points per stay or choice of snack and non-alcoholic beverage with every Hampton™ stay, or your choice of 1,000 HHonors Bonus Points per stay or a complimentary continental breakfast for you and up to 1 additional guest registered to the same room each day of your stay at Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts and Curio - A Collection by Hilton. The Platinum Card® from American Express has a bonus offer so you get 40,000 points after using your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. You earn 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 1 Membership Rewards® point for every $1 you spend on eligible purchases. You can transfer Membership Rewards® points to the Hilton HHonors™ program and get 1,500 HHonors™ points for every 1,000 Membership Rewards® points transferred.
Read our full review of The Platinum Card® from American Express here.
You can choose to use only Hilton Honors Bonus Points to get award stays, or to use a combination of points and money. If you do pay at least part of your stay in cash, it's a good idea to pay for the stay with a credit card which gives you high rewards for Hilton accommodation purchases.
Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members will receive every 5th night free on Standard Reward Stays of 5 consecutive nights or more, up to a maximum of 4 free nights per stay if you stay 20 consecutive nights (1 free night per 5 consecutive nights stay). So if you hold a Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card or Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card you can get 1 night free when you stay at an eligible hotel for 5 consecutive nights, which is pretty easy to do when you're on vacation.
The exact number of Honors Bonus Points you will have to redeem for a night at a hotel in the Hilton Portfolio may be slightly different from hotel to hotel and might also depend on the season (at resorts for example), but here is a basic guide to current rates courtesy of the Hilton Honors program website.
Image courtesy of the Hilton Honors™ website. Information accurate as of November 2015.
Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. operates everything from budget hotels for travelers to the Waldorf Astoria™, with something to suit every pocketbook.
Hotels that fall under the Hilton portfolio include 540 Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties in 78 countries across six continents, Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio - A Collection by Hilton™ (a collection of unique and individual hotels), DoubleTree by Hilton™, Embassy Suites by Hilton™ with over 200 unique locations, Hilton Garden Inn™ with over 530 locations worldwide, Hampton Inn by Hilton™ with over 1,850 locations globally, Homewood Suites by Hilton™, Home2 Suites by Hilton™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™ (a collection of high-quality vacation ownership resorts in outstanding travel destinations).
So whatever is your budget or preference, you'd be sure to find one that suits your needs!
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