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Best Reward Credit Cards: Hilton Honors Ascend

Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express

There are many different types of travel reward cards. Airline reward cards give the opportunity to fly for free or for a reduced price, making your vacation or business trip more affordable. Dining Reward cards help with the cost of restaurant meals, a major expense when traveling. Cashback cards give you a percentage back on all of your purchases, while gas rewards cards pay you to make purchases at the gas station. Hotel reward card purchases earn you points that can be redeemed for free or discounted nights and other hotel expenses.

If you're looking for a good Hotel Credit card, the Hilton Honors Ascent Card from American Express is a great choice.

Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express
Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express

12 Points per $1 Spent at Hilton Hotels; 6 Points per $1 Spent at Restaurants, Supermarkets & Gas Stations; 3 Points per $1 Spent Everywhere Else

The Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express is a powerful travel rewards card with great benefits for frequent Hilton guests. It earns an unlimited 12 points per $1 spent at select Hilton properties; 6 points per $1 spent at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations; and 3 points per $1 spent on everything else.

Ascend comes with a generous, 2-part welcome offer: 75,000 Honors points when you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within 3 months, and an additional 25,000 Honors points when you spend an additional $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months. All told, that’s worth up to 20 free nights at participating Hilton properties.

You can redeem your Honors points for free room nights at Hilton properties, starting at 5,000 points per night at Category 1 properties and rising to as many as 95,000 points per night at high-end Category 10 properties. You can also transfer to airline rewards programs, such as Delta SkyMiles, often at a 10-to-1 ratio.

Hilton Honors Ascend has some other important perks, including complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status and complimentary Private Pass membership ($99 value), which entitles you to 10 complimentary visits at more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. Just watch out for the $95 annual fee.

  • Welcome Offer. When you spend at least $2,000 in eligible purchases on your card within 3 months of opening your account, you get 75,000 Honors points. When you spend an additional $1,000 in eligible purchases within 6 months of opening your account, you get an additional 25,000 Honors points. The total value of this welcome offer is 100,000 points, good for as many as 20 free nights at a Category 1 property.
  • Hotel Rewards. Earn an unlimited 12 points per $1 spent at Hilton hotels and an unlimited 6 points per $1 spent at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations. All other purchases earn an unlimited 3 points per $1 spent.
  • Redemption. You can redeem your Hilton Honors points for free nights and upgrades at Hilton properties, with no blackout dates. You can also exchange your Honors points for miles with many popular airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and Delta Airlines. However, point-mile exchange rates aren’t as good as some other programs’, as ratios can reach or even exceed 10 points to 1 mile, far lower than the 1-to-1 or 5-to-1 deals found elsewhere. Hotel night redemptions start at 5,000 points for Category 1 (usually $100 and under per night) and rise to as much as 95,000 for Category 10 (usually $500 and over per night, and sometimes significantly more). To stretch your points further, you can use Hilton’s Points + Money feature, which lets you combine Honors points and cash. Combinations vary by hotel category, location, and other factors, but Hilton offers a common example on its website: a Category 3 hotel for 8,000 points plus $30 per night, instead of 20,000 points per night.
  • Preferred Customer Status. Cardmembers get automatic Gold status, which comes with complimentary high-speed in-room Internet access, complimentary room upgrades when available, and a 25% boost to points earned on Hilton stays. When you spend $40,000 in eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year, you ascend to Diamond status. Cardmembers also enjoy complimentary Priority Pass Select memberships conferring up to 10 free lounge visits per year.
  • Key Fees. This card has a $95 annual fee. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 3%. Late and returned payments cost $37 each.
  • Other Perks. You get a free weekend night every year your card spending totals more than $15,000 in eligible purchases. You also get American Express’s complimentary baggage protection (up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage), 24/7 roadside assistance, and other attractive travel perks.

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