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Home » Changes to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Loss of rewards, free nights, and Priority Pass

Changes to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Loss of rewards, free nights, and Priority Pass

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card card art
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

This week, American Express announced changes to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. And generally those changes are not good. The card’s annual fee increases, it loses the ability to earn free nights, it loses Priority Pass Select benefits, and the 6x bonus categories get replaced by 5x on the first $100,000 of eligible purchases (3x thereafter.)

Here’s what has changed with The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card and our take.

Summary of changes to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Previous
(Prior to March 28, 2024)
Updated
(as of March 28, 2024)
Annual fee$95$195
Rewards
Rewards are earned as Hilton Honors Bonus Points.
12x on Hilton purchases.
6x at U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, U.S. shipping purchases, U.S. wireless telephone services, flights booked directly with airlines or Amex travel, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies.
3x on other purchases.
12x on Hilton purchases.
5x on the first $100,000 of eligible purchases every calendar year, 3x thereafter.

(All bonus categories other than Hilton purchases are eliminated immediately for new cardmembers and as of June 30, 2024 for existing cardmembers.)
Earn free night certificatesEarn up to two free night awards:
1 after spending $15,000
1 after spending $60,000
in a calendar year
This benefit is removed entirely. For existing cardmembers, purchases made through June 30, 2024 will count toward a Hilton Honors Free Night Reward.
Priority Pass Select10 complimentary visitsThis benefit is removed entirely. Existing cardmembers who have enrolled in Priority Pass Select will have their memberships canceled as of July 1, 2024 or April 1, 2025, depending on Priority Pass enrollment date.
Statement credits for Hilton purchasesEarn up to $60 in statement credits per quarter ($240 per year) on eligible Hilton purchases made with your card.
Rental car statusComplimentary National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive® status. (Enrollment required, terms apply.)
Changes to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

My take on the changes to the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

There is very little to like about these changes. The annual fee more than doubles, the card loses the ability to earn free night awards, the reasons to use the card for anything other than Hilton spending largely go away, and the card loses its value proposition for all but a very specific type of Hilton customer.

Let’s dig into the details….

Lots of negative changes

First off, an increase in the annual fee is always a negative change. The annual fee on the The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card increases from $95 to $195.

Second, the loss of the ability to earn up to 2 free night awards, coupled with the elimination of most spending bonus categories means that there is no longer value in putting non-Hilton spending on the card. Hilton free night certificates can be uses at most Hilton properties worldwide and were a great way to access aspirational properties. And earning 6x points in a number of categories made the card tolerable to use for the spending required to earn those free nights. With this update, we dropped this card from our list of cards that allow you to earn a free hotel night.

Finally, the card was a great choice for occasional users of Priority Pass lounges, as it came with Priority Pass Select with 10 complimentary lounge visits per year. This benefit is completely cut with these changes, meaning we had to drop this card from our list of cards that grant airport lounge access.

The card becomes pretty useless for non-Hilton spending

I mention above that after the changes, there’s little reason to use the card for non-Hilton spending. Here’s why.

First let’s talk about Hilton Honors points. Hilton Honors points will get you less value per point than most other hotel points. Typically, you’re going to get half a cent of value or less from each of your Hilton points. In a few queries I ran to gut check this, I found that I could get about 0.4 cents worth of value out of each of my points. That means that the 5 points you earn from your first $100,000 of general purchases on the card in a calendar year, you’re going to get about 2 cents of value as stays at Hilton properties. And after you spend $100,000 on the card, you’ll get about 1.2 cents of value from each dollar of spending.

If you’re only getting 2 cents of value out of each dollar of spending, there’s little reason to use The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card over a 2% cash back credit card. a 2% cash back credit card will get you as much value for your spending and you can use cash anywhere, not just at Hilton properties.

Why you might still want to get the card

With all of these negative changes, is there still a reason to get this card? Maybe, but only if you’re a very specific type of Hilton customer.

If you regularly stay at Hilton properties and pay cash rates, getting the card might make sense. If you’re paying for stays at least quarterly, you can maximize the value of the $60 quarterly statement credits for Hilton charges. And the card’s 12x points on Hilton stays make it one of the best cards to use to pay for your Hilton stays. Unless you’re a Hilton loyalist though, there’s little reason to get this card.

When will these changes come into effect?

The changes to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card are generally effective immediately for new cardmembers. However, for existing cardmembers, some of these changes will be phased in. Here’s a bit more on how Amex is phasing in these changes.

Priority Pass. If you enrolled in the Priority Pass™ Select program on or before June 30, 2023, your Priority Pass membership will continue through June 30, 2024, and will be canceled as of July 1, 2024. If you enrolled in the Priority Pass Select program between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024, your membership will continue through March 31, 2025, and will be canceled as of April 1, 2025. Any unused lounge visits will be forfeited at the time of cancellation.

Free Night Rewards. Eligible purchases made through June 30, 2024, will count toward the Hilton Honors Free Night Reward benefit. After June 30, 2024, the Hilton Honors Free Night Reward benefit will no longer be available on your Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, and you will no longer be able to earn Free Night Reward(s) as a benefit of your Card.

Rewards. Through June 30, 2024, you will continue to earn a total of 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at the following categories of merchants: U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants, U.S. Wireless telephone services, U.S. purchases for shipping, on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel, and on our car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies.

Annual fee. If you are an existing cardmember, your annual fee will increase at your renewal date after July 1, 2024. If your card renews before that date, you annual fee will be charged at $95. Subsequent renewals will be $195/year. New cards will immediately be charged a $195 annual fee.

Bottom line on the changes

The changes Amex and Hilton announced to The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card amount to an increase in the annual fee, the gutting of what made the card great, and the addition of a few benefits that won’t provide substantive value for most. Unless you’re a very frequent (and consistent) Hilton customer who pay cash rates for stays, this card has becomes pretty uninteresting.