Great Changes with the Hilton American Express

On Friday I mentioned a signup bonus of 15,000 points for the free Hilton American Express.

Looks like from a discussion at Flyertalk that the card has some new improved benefits.

Historically the card come with Silver elite status and has offered 3 Hilton points per dollar spent, plus an additional two points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels.

Effective April 15th, there will be three new benefits:

  • An additional two Hilton points per dollar spent (for a total of five) at supermarkets, gas stations, drug stores that are not departments of superstores or warehouse clubs, the post office, restaurants, and for cell phone bills. Five Hilton points per dollar spent is an excellent return for a free card.

  • Gold VIP status for a year if you spend $20,000 or more on the card in a year, with status beginning no later than the coming April. (I haven’t yet verified whether this is a calendar year or a cardmembership year, but it is not a rolling twelve months.) This may be a wave of the future, as travel companies continue to realize that their most profitable customers are their credit card holders.

  • 500 bonus Hilton points for each stay booked at a Hilton website and paid with the card.

These changes make the card a pretty attractive proposition. I’m not really a Hilton guy, so I have to look closely at whether Hilton properties meet my award goals (the card doesn’t seem that great a deal for other redemption options). But I probably will want to earn a certain number of Hilton points and this looks like a good way to retain my Gold VIP status.

Anecdotally Hilton may even be providing Diamond status with higher levels of spend, I’ll be listening very closely for more information on that.

Update: Got a postcard in the mail about Gold VIP status based on credit card spend. $20,000 is calculated on a calendar year basis.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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