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Credit Cards

Overhauled Amex Hilton Business card — Up to $240 in statement credits, increased annual fee, lounge access ending and more

Do these changes make the card more or less valuable to you?

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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Following changes to the consumer American Express Hilton cards, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is also being overhauled. Starting today, new and existing cardholders gain access to statement credits, revamped reward rates and rental car status.

Some other changes include the annual fee increasing from $95 to $195 (see rates and fees) and the sunsetting of several valuable benefits, including the card's airport lounge access, the ability to earn free night awards and its 6X bonus-point categories.

Below, CNBC Select has the details on the changes and what they mean for you.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card changes

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on eligible Hilton purchases, earn 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases made using the Hilton Honors Business Card on the first $100,000 in purchases each calendar year, 3X points thereafter.

  • Welcome bonus

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 175,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $8,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card within the first six months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 6/5.

  • Annual fee

    $195

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    20.99% - 29.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

Pros

  • Airport lounge access
  • Comes with Hilton Gold status and an opportunity to earn Hilton Diamond status

Cons

  • Limited flexibility with the points you earn

Annual fee

The Amex Hilton Business Card's annual fee is increasing by $100, from $95 to $195 (see rates and fees). The increased fee goes into effect today for new applicants, however, it won't apply to existing cardholders until their first anniversary date that's on or after July 1, 2024.

Increased welcome bonus

Now through June 5, 2024, new card members can earn 175,000 Hilton points (an increase of 45,000 points over the previous welcome bonus) after spending $8,000 in eligible purchases on the card during the first six months after opening the account. Experts generally value Hilton points at 0.6 cents per point, which makes this bonus worth more than $1,000 in Hilton stays.

With 175,000 Hilton points, you can book a variety of push hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, which typically costs 120,000 Hilton points or $1,000 a night.

New benefits

Hilton Business Card members will receive a handful of new features. Starting today, you'll have access to:

  • 5X Hilton points on the first $100,000 in purchases per calendar year (then 3X points) outside of the card's other bonus categories
  • The ability to earn up to $240 back each year for eligible Hilton purchases (up to $60 back per quarter)
  • Free National Emerald Club Executive status, which gives you benefits such as free rental days and priority service (enrollment required)

Benefits that are ending or changing

With these changes, the Hilton Business Card will lose its Priority Pass airport lounge benefit 6X bonus earning categories. Cardholders will also no longer earn Free Night Rewards with the card.

Lounge access end dates

Here's how the 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits benefit will be phased out for existing cardholders:

  • If you enrolled in Priority Pass on or before June 30, 2023, your membership will expire on July 1, 2024.
  • If you enrolled in Priority Pass between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024, your membership will expire on April 1, 2025.

These dates allow current cardmembers to make the most of their airport lounge access before that feature disappears.

Free night awards end date

Before these changes, you could earn up to two Free Night Rewards each year with the Hilton Business card, but it took a lot of annual spending. You had to drop $15,000 in a calendar year to earn the first free night and $60,000 in total in the same year to earn the second free night.

After June 30, 2024, this option is going away. But any eligible purchases you make with your Hilton Business Card before that date will qualify toward earning the Free Night Rewards. If you spend $15,000 on your card on or before June 30, 2024, you'll earn a free night and if you spend an additional $45,000 on the card ($60,000 in total) before the same date, you'll receive a second free night.

6X bonus categories end date

Previously, the Hilton Business Card earned 6X points on purchases at:

  • U.S restaurants
  • Airfare booked directly with an airline or through American Express Travel
  • Rental cars booked directly from select car rental companies
  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. shipping services
  • U.S. wireless telephone services

New cardholders will not earn 6X points in these categories, but existing cardholders will continue to earn at that rate through June 30, 2024. After that date, these purchases will earn 5X points on the first $100,000 (then 3X points) in purchases per calendar year.

Benefits that will stay the same

Hilton Business Card holders will continue to receive these benefits and perks:

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

What this means for you

The Hilton Business Card's overhaul is significant, some cardholders will see this as a small win and for others it's a big loss.

Who benefits the most

Travelers who stay at Hilton properties multiple times a year might find that the new $240 in Hilton statement credits more than offsets the increased $195 annual fee (see rates and fees). But that's only if they time their trips in a certain way — you can only earn $60 per financial quarter, so you'd need to stay with Hilton at least four times a year (with each booking spread out to once every three months) to get the full $240 statement credit.

If you book two stays a year (with at least 3 months between each trip), you'd earn $120 in statement credits, effectively lowering the card's annual fee to $75 (which is less expensive than the pre-overhaul $95 fee).

Cardholders who didn't spend much in the card's 6X bonus categories might also earn more rewards now that all spending (outside of those made directly with hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio) will earn 5X on the first $100,000 of purchases each calendar year (then 3X). Before the overhaul, cardholders would only earn 3X points on popular categories such as groceries.

Who might lose some value

If you have this card for airport lounge access, you'll likely want to consider an alternative since the Priority Pass benefit is vanishing.

In addition, anyone who spent heavily on this card will miss the opportunity to earn Free Night Rewards. Before the overhaul, you had to spend $60,000 each year on the card to earn two free night awards but with those awards you could book nearly any Hilton hotel or resort, even if it cost $500 or $1,000 a night. By taking away the ability to earn Free Night Rewards, Amex is also removing one incentive to rack up a lot of spending on the Hilton Business Card.

Alternative cards to consider

If you're heartbroken over the removal of the Hilton Business Card's airport lounge access, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express can ease your pain. This card gives you access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes Priority Pass lounges (enrollment required), Centurion Lounges, Escape Lounges, Plaza Premium lounges and more.

The Amex Business Platinum Card earns American Express Membership Rewards® points, which can be transferred to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio. It also comes with complimentary Hilton Gold status (enrollment required), so it can make sense for small business owners who are Hilton loyalists.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases. Also, earn 1.5X points (that's an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchases at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Regular APR

    19.49% - 28.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card doesn't have any Hilton perks, but it can still work for business owners who want to book hotels with points. You can use the Chase Ultimate Rewards® points you earn with the Ink Business Preferred to book travel through the Chase travel portal at 1.25 cents per point. With the card's bonus, you could book $1,250 in Hilton stays. Plus, you can transfer those points at a 1:1 ratio to Marriott, IHG and Hyatt.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in select categories each account anniversary year (travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines), 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

  • Terms apply.

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At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every personal finance article is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of financial productsWhile CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics.

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For rates and fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees for the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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