Hilton HHonors’ new Platinum credit card from American Express might soon replace some of the plastic currently in your wallet. Among the new benefits that make this a card worthy of your review: spending $20,000 or more in any calender year, earns you an upgrade to Hilton Gold VIP in the following calendar year. That may be important if you are one of those that don’t annually meet the 16 qualifying stays or 36 qualifying nights at participating HHonors hotels. Gold VIP members earn a 25-percent point bonus compared to 15-percent for Silver VIP, and enjoy greater access to room upgrades. What’s more, Gold VIP members have access to several VIP Only awards that merit about a 15-percent discount off normal award redemptions on selected awards.
OK, now let’s get to what is really worthwhile: cardholders will earn an additional two HHonors points for everyday purchases at supermarkets, gas stations, and drug stores that are not departments of superstores or warehouse clubs, and the US Postal Service, dining establishments, and for wireless phone bill payments. The key here is supermarkets (most now are accepting American Express). With long-term gas prices looking expensive, here’s a way to leverage that. And the surprise benefit is the bonus points earned at restaurants (five bonus points total since normally you would receive three HHonors points for everyday purchases). Most high frequency business travelers spend $5,000-10,000 annually on dining out which equate to an extra 10,000-20,000 HHonors points annually.
This card apparently is an extension of the positive experience American Express is having with the “Always Double Miles” benefit of the Delta SkyMiles American Express card. Consider this card only if you are looking to build points into a hotel program to compliment the many frequent flyer miles you already have. Even with the new spending bonus, it does not match other hotel credit cards or any of the airline credit cards for building miles. Having said that, you might also be aware that “everyday purchases” bonuses are only eligible in the U.S. So if you think that much of your spending in restaurants, etc. will be outside the U.S., be careful.
Comment: While this card still doesn’t match Starwood’s for earning conversions to frequent flyer miles, it might well be among the best two or three hotel program credit cards in the market. Definitely worth your time to review and compare to what’s in your (tri-fold) wallet or purse today?