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Big Changes to the Hilton Business Card: Higher Annual Fee, New Credits

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In a classic move by American Express, there was an overnight revamp of *hilton honors business card* that more than doubled the card's annual fee in exchange for new statement credits and a reshuffling of benefits.

With the annual fee rising from $95 to $195 (see rates & fees), the card now comes with new perks like up to $240 per year in Hilton credits ($60 per quarter), National Car Emerald Club Executive Status, and the ability to earn 5x Hilton Honors points per dollar spent up to $100,000 annually (and 3x after that).

Unfortunately, the Hilton Business Card is set to lose some of its most valuable perks like a limited Priority Pass Select membership that included 10 free visits to airport lounges each year, the ability to earn two Hilton free night certificates (through spending), and earning 6x Hilton Honors points in select bonus categories.

These changes are live as of today. Let's take a closer look at the changes Amex made to the Hilton Honors Business Card – and what it means for you, whether you've got one in your wallet or have been considering it.


Hilton Business Card Changes: A Mixed Bag

Big changes to credit cards are rarely a good thing. In the case of the Hilton Business Card, it's a bit of a mixed bag.

The annual fee more than doubled. Some benefits are disappearing, but in typical Amex fashion, they've added new credits to try and offset the negative changes. On the bright side, some of the best features of the card aren't going anywhere:

  • You'll still get Hilton Gold Status just for holding the card, unlocking perks like free breakfast abroad (or a daily on-property credit at U.S. locations)
  • You can earn Hilton's top-tier Diamond Status if you spend $40,000 or more in a calendar year (was $60,000)
  • You'll still earn 12x Hilton Honors points per dollar spent with the hotel chain, which is impressive

Not sure if you're eligible for a small business credit card? You might be surprised!


*hilton business*


Learn more about the *Hilton Honors Business*.


A Higher Annual Fee

At $195 a year, the Hilton Business Card's annual fee hike follows the usual Amex playbook of raising annual fees while adding more benefits like statement credits that can help cardholders recoup that higher cost – as long as they remember to use them.

The higher annual fee could be good for some as you're now getting up to $240 a year in Hilton credit, doled out in quarterly installments of $60, which would more than offset the cost of holding the card. Not to mention a generous, new welcome offer to make that first year holding the card (and paying an annual fee) all the easier.

This higher annual fee is effective immediately for new applicants and future renewals.


No More Free Night Certificates

There's no way around it: This one stings. Hilton's free night certificates are arguably better than any other hotel chain. Unfortunately, Amex and Hilton are taking away the ability to Hilton free night certificates through spending. Previously, you'd get one free night for spending $15,000 in a year and a second for reaching $45,000 in spending.

Now, you'll only be able to rely on the points you earn from spending to book free nights at Hilton properties as your spending. Even with the increased points earning on everyday business expenses, this is a huge loss for businesses that once relied on this benefit to earn a free night or two every year.

To be fair: Whether it's $15,000 or $45,000, that's a ton of money to spend on a Hilton credit card each year. If your business regularly spends big, far more rewarding cards are out there.


A Bigger Welcome Bonus & A New Look

For years, the Hilton Business Card has had a standard welcome offer to lure in business owners: 130,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3,000 within the first three months. That's finally getting a boost … for a price.

New applicants can earn 175,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $8,000 within the first six months. Another 45,000 points is nice. And while it'll require spending an additional $3,000 compared to the previous welcome bonus, you've got three more months to meet that spending requirement.

Much like the look of Hilton's other Amex co-branded cards, the Business Card also got a facelift.


*hilton business*


Learn more about the *Hilton Honors Business*.


National Car Status

It's not a huge addition, but it can help justify the higher annual fee for some. Amex and Hilton are adding a brand-new, worthwhile perk to the Hilton Business Card similar to what we saw get added to the personal versions last year:

  • Cardholders can get complimentary National Car Emerald Club Executive Status – easily our favorite status with a rental car chain
  • You can skip the long lines at the counter upon arrival and upgrade yourself, choosing the best available car on the lot. In the typically stressful car rental process, it can save you a ton of time, money, and energy


No More Priority Pass Membership

If you were relying on your Hilton Honors Business Card for lounge access, you'll soon be out of luck. The Hilton Business Card is set to lose its complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you into 1,300-plus airport lounges worldwide.

If you were already enrolled in Priority Pass Select before June 30 of last year, your membership will continue until June 30, 2024. If you enrolled after July 1 of last year but before June 30 of this year, your membership will be valid until March 31, 2025.


turkish airlines lounge priority pass


This limited Priority Pass membership isn't a huge loss as it only came with 10 lounge visits per year. Many other credit cards offer an unlimited Priority Pass membership, from the *amex platinum* to the *chase sapphire reserve* to the *venture x* and several more.

Read more: The Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access


Up to $240 in Hilton Credits

Do you stay at a Hilton once a quarter? Pay for nightly rates or room charges with your Hilton Business Card, and you'll now save up to $240 a year – more than covering the card's increased annual fee.

That's because Hilton and Amex are adding a Hilton statement credit of up to $240 a year, eligible to use at any Hilton property worldwide – and it's available right now.

But keep in mind, this is a quarterly benefit: You'll get $60 in statement credits to use at Hilton properties once every three months. If you don't use it from April through June, you'll lose it. With the end of the quarter only days away, pre-paying for an upcoming Hilton stay would be a great way to squeeze an extra $60 of value out of your card.


hilton chicago


If you travel frequently and often stay in Hilton hotels, this new credit is an easy way to zero out the entire $195 annual fee on the Hilton Business Card – and then some. If not, this new benefit may not move the needle much for you and the loss of other benefits could mean it's time to reconsider.


Earn a Base 5x Points for Every Dollar Spent!

You'll now earn at least 5x Hilton points on all eligible purchases on the first $100,000 in purchases annually.

This is a slight devaluation (for some) cardholders, as the card previously earned 6x Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on spending categories like gas, shipping, wireless telephone services, flights booked through Amex Travel, rental cars, and restaurants.

The upside is that cardholders can earn more on a wider variety of purchases as the base earnings have gone from 3x Hilton points to 5x on the first $100,000 in purchases each year.


Bottom Line

It's the same old story: Amex gives, Amex takes. Although there are some positive changes to the Hilton Business Card, it's hard to ignore the negative moves. With new statement credits, Amex is trying to justify charging cardholders more … all while delivering fewer benefits.

At the end of the day, one thing is clear: Amex cards keep getting more expensive to have in your wallet.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Responses

  • As a small business owner who intentionally spent $60,000 on the card last year specifically to earn the two free night awards I fail to see any bottom line benefit from these changes. I see some small credits and the removal of the best aspects of the card. I will scramble to hit the $60,000 in the next few months but will almost certainly cancel my card when the renewal fee appears. The most puzzling thing about this change is that Hilton actually had an enticement that drew members from other programs (Marriott for me) with this card to them but now kick those customers to the curb with this move.

  • The quarterly statement credits that Amex keeps putting on their cards are annoying. The new $60 quarterly credit is akin to what they have done with the Aspire cards airline credits. I know that they have switched to this new model anticipating that cardholders will forget to use the credits. I am slowly dissolving all my Amex cards save for the BBP and the Aspire cards. The market is competitive for credit cards and there are cheaper and easier options out there. As soon as I have to create a spreadsheet to manage all these quarterly bonus I am done. Amex can keep their coupon book cards and I don’t have to waste my time and effort babysitting them.

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