- Big rewards for Hilton loyalists
- Impressive bonus opportunities
- Complimentary elite status
- Offers a free night each year and gold status
- Great rewards for a hotel credit card with bonuses for everyday purchases
- Airport lounge access
- Hilton points aren't as valuable as other hotel rewards programs
- Annual fee is not waived for the first year
- Card charges a high APR
Hotel credit cards typically offer great sign-up bonuses and special perks with the hotel brand. But it’s hard to find a hotel card that also offers solid rewards. The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card bucks that trend.
The card not only offers a giant sign-up bonus and fantastic fringe benefits, but you can also rack up rewards pretty easily with the card that you can use to book free hotel stays. Read on to learn more about the card.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card highlights
The card starts you off right by giving you a big sign-up bonus after you spend only a couple thousand dollars in the first three months — that’s a small minimum spend requirement among similar travel credit cards.
You’ll also earn bonus rewards on purchases made with Hilton, as well as at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets. In addition to complimentary elite status, you’ll also get a free anniversary night if you spend a certain amount each year.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card rewards and perks
The sign-up bonus, which is 100,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months, is worth about $600, based on valuations by The Points Guy. And, depending on how you spend on the card, you’ll earn the following:
- 12 points per dollar spent at hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio
- 6 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets
- 3 points per dollar spent everywhere else
So with a 0.6 cent valuation per point, your base rewards rate is 1.8% and you’ll get 3.6% and 7.2% back on the two bonus rewards tiers. That’s impressive, considering many hotel cards offer bonus rewards on hotel-related purchases and nothing else.
When you’re ready to redeem your points, you can do so in any of the following ways:
- Get free nights at Hilton hotels and resorts
- Access VIP experiences, such as concerts, travel excursions, and more
- On-property rewards and experiences
- Airfare and rental cars
- Shopping and dining
- Transfer your points to airline and rail program partners
- Donate your points
While there are plenty of redemption options, however, you’ll get the best value if you redeem your points for free hotel stays.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card benefits
While the card’s rewards program is impressive, it’s not the only reason you should consider getting the card.
One main reason to consider it is the card’s free anniversary weekend night, which you can get if you spend $15,000 on your card during the calendar year.
You’ll also get complimentary gold status with Hilton, which gives you access to:
- Two water bottles per stay
- Fifth night free on rewards nights
- Room upgrades
- Continental breakfast
- Elite rollover nights
- Unlimited milestone bonuses
And if you spend at least $40,000 during the calendar year on the card, you’ll be upgraded to Diamond status, which gives you even more perks. Other benefits include:
- 10 free visits to Priority Pass Select lounges
- No foreign transaction fees
- Travel accident insurance
- Access to Amex Offers
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card costs and fees
When you have a card that’s so packed with rewards and benefits like this one, it’s a given that the card is going to charge an annual fee. This card, in particular, charges $95 per year and it doesn’t waive the fee for the first year.
The card’s APR is above-average compared with all credit cards, but is pretty standard for a travel card. As usual, we recommend avoiding interest by paying off your balance in full each month.
While the card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, it’s wise to have a Visa or Mastercard credit card as a backup if you head overseas. American Express isn’t widely accepted outside of the U.S., so you don’t want to be stuck without a payment method.
Does the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card make sense for me?
The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is one of the best hotel credit cards on the market, but it’s not for everyone.
One major drawback is that you’re basically limited to using your rewards points for free hotel stays. With a general travel credit card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you can redeem your rewards for just about any type of travel.
Also, some of the card’s best benefits require that you spend a certain amount each year. So if you’re not a big spender, you could miss out.
That said, if you’re loyal to Hilton and you spend a lot in the card’s bonus categories, you could get a lot more value out of the card than you would pay in its annual fee.
As with any credit card, compare this one with other top travel credit cards to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Application Process: Apply online and receive a response within 60 seconds.
Rewards: Earn 12 points per dollar spent with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio, 6 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases.
Bonus Offers: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
APR: 17.49% - 26.49% Variable.
Annual Fee: $95.
- Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
- Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a 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.
- 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.
- $95 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.