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:

Credit CardFeaturesIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeWhy we like itWe least liket_cc_credit_requiredRelated links
Hilton Honors™ Surpass<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express

Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express

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Hilton Honors™ Surpass<sup>®</sup> Card from American Express
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  • 4.60/5
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  • Earn 75,000 Hilton HonorsTM Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card. Terms and limitations apply.
  • As a Hilton HonorsTM Surpass® Card Member you'll receive Hilton Honors Gold status.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

N/A

16.24%-20.24% Variable

$75

Why we like it
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • As a Hilton HonorsTM Surpass® Card Member you'll receive Hilton Honors Gold status.
Excellent/Good

Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express, a GET.com advertiser, has a great bonus offer of 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points which you get after you charge $3,000 of purchases to your Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. 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.

Credit CardFeaturesIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeWhy we like itWe least liket_cc_credit_requiredRelated links
The Platinum Card<sup>®</sup> from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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The Platinum Card<sup>®</sup> from American Express
  • Our Rating:
  • Our Rating:
  • 4.30/5
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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • New! Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More. Terms Apply.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
APPLY NOWAt American Express' secure website

N/A

N/A

$550

Why we like it
  • Rewards program.
  • Platinum benefits.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
We least like
  • Annual fee.
Excellent/Good

The Platinum Card® from American Express can also make your Hilton stays more enjoyable, because as a cardholder you get complimentary enrollment in Hilton Honors™ 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 Honors™ Gold member you earn a 25% bonus on the Honors 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 Honors Bonus Points per stay or choice of snack and non-alcoholic beverage with every Hampton™ stay, or your choice of 1,000 Honors 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 60,000 points after using your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. You earn 5X points for hotels and flights booked with American Express Travel or directly with airlines and 1 Membership Rewards® point for every $1 you spend on eligible purchases. You can transfer Membership Rewards® points to the Hilton Honors™ program and get 1,500 Honors™ 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.

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!