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The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is quietly one of the most valuable travel credit cards on the market.
It’s currently got the largest welcome bonus it’s ever had (by a lot): 130,000 points after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional 50,000 points after spending $10,000 total in purchases in the first 6 months. Insider estimates that Hilton points are worth 0.5 cents each, on average. That makes this bonus worth around $900 in Hilton hotel stays.
But the card also comes with one of the absolute best deals in travel. After spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll receive one Weekend Night Reward valid for almost any Hilton property on Earth (with a few exceptions). Hilton hotels cost up to 150,000 points per night — so this certificate is conceivably worth $750+, depending on the hotel you book with it.
Read more: Amex Hilton Business credit card review
If you know how to maximize Hilton points, it’s possible to get 4x the average value of your points. Here’s my plan to fund a Maldives vacation with Amex Hilton Business Card alone.
How to turn the Amex Hilton Business Card into thousands of dollars in travel
15.74% – 24.74% Variable
Good to Excellent
130,000 points after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional 50,000 points after spending $10,000 total in purchases in the first 6 months
By opening a card with a $95 annual fee (See Rates), I’ll receive nearly $8,000 in travel.
I plan to book a stay at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. At the time of writing, I’m seeing three- and four-night blocks of award availability sprinkled throughout 2022. That’s perfect for how I plan to use the rewards I receive from my Amex Hilton Business Card. Here are some of its features:
- 130,000 points after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional 50,000 points after spending $10,000 total in purchases in the first 6 months
- 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels
- 6 points per dollar spent with U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchases directly from U.S. service providers, U.S purchases for shipping, U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel, and select car rentals.
- 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
- Free weekend night certificate after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year
- A second free weekend night award if you spend a total of $60,000 or more in a calendar year
- Hilton Gold elite status
- Upgrade to Diamond status after you spend $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership** with 10 free visits per year
This trip still won’t be cheap — restaurant prices are outrageous, and round-trip transfer to the island by yacht costs $650 per person. But there are two big ways this card will save me during this trip.
1. Room rate
Here’s the price of an award night at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. You’ll pay between 120,000 and 150,000 points per night for this hotel. That’s a lot of points — an almost inexcusable amount. But the standard room here is a 3,000-square-foot overwater villa with a massive infinity pool. It sells for more than $2,000 per night.
You can unlock $7,500+ in value at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives after spending $20,000 in a calendar year on the Amex Hilton Business Card. Here’s why:
- Spending a total of $10,000 unlocks the card’s full 180,000-point bonus. Free nights cost 120,000 points.
- Spending an additional $5,000 ($15,000 total) unlocks the card’s Weekend Night Reward which you can use for a free night at this resort.
- Spending an additional $5,000 ($20,000 total) earns you the remaining points you need for two full award nights. The card earns a minimum of 3 points per dollar, so spending $20,000 will net you at least 60,000 points. Add those points to the 180,000-point bonus, and you’ve got 240,000 points.
Here’s the cash price of a three-night stay in March, which is also available to book for free after achieving the above bullet points. After taxes, the average nightly rate rises to a startling $2,525 — totaling $7,576 for a three-night stay.
Putting $20,000 of spending on a credit card in a calendar year isn’t a cakewalk for many of us — but for a $7,500 hotel stay, it’s worth the effort. That’s like getting a 37.5% return on all your spending!
Instead of spending $20,000 on the Amex Hilton Business Card, you could instead apply for more than one Hilton credit card and earn each bonus. For example, you could open:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
: 150,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 3 months of account opening. Also receive one Weekend Night Certificate automatically each year.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: 80,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional 50,000 points after spending $5,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
: 130,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, earn an additional 50,000 points after spending $10,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months
2. Elite status perks
The Amex Hilton Business Card also comes with automatic Hilton Gold elite status. That means you’ll get free breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives. It’s a full buffet with made-to-order entrees — and free champagne. The breakfast normally costs $65 per person, so Gold status will save a couple $390 over a three-day period.
How to extend your Hilton vacation
The above is my plan to achieve a three-day vacation from a single credit card. However, there are easier ways to do it (and stay for longer) if you’re willing to open more travel credit cards.
Hilton credit cards
For example, there are three alternate Hilton credit cards, all of which currently offer bonuses of 130,000+ points after meeting tiered spending requirements. If you and a travel buddy each open one or two cards, you could find yourself with 600,000+ Hilton points with little difficulty. Hilton gives you the option to pool your points with up to 11 other people when redeeming.
Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Hilton Honors points
Amex Membership Rewards points
14.24% – 22.24% Variable
Good to Excellent
120,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card within the first 3 months of card membership
0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases eligible for Pay Over Time
Hilton is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards. You’ll receive 2 Hilton points for every 1 Amex point you transfer. If you’re anxious to scoop up extra Hilton points, consider opening one of the following American Express cards:
The ability to earn effectively 240,000 Hilton points from a single welcome bonus is phenomenal.
5th night free
For those with Hilton elite status (which you’ll automatically receive just by holding an Amex Hilton credit card), you’ll always receive one free night when reserving five or more consecutive standard award nights.
For example, if you reserve five Standard Room Awards at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives for 120,000 points per night, you’ll pay just 480,000 points instead of 600,000 points. That lowers your award price per night to 96,000 points. The only problem is that it’s exceptionally difficult to find five consecutive nights at the standard rate at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives. The best I can find at the time of writing is four consecutive nights.
Read more: How to use credit card points and miles for a socially distant vacation in the Maldives
From just one credit card with a $95 annual fee, I’ll get the following during my trip to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives:
- $7,575 on room rate
- $390 on breakfast
That’s nearly $8,000 in value.
Travel credit cards like the Amex Hilton Business Card can be extremely powerful if you know the best way to use the miles and points they accrue.
Good to Excellent
3 free nights (each valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases and 10x total points on eligible purchases in select categories
Good to Excellent
1.5% cash back in addition to regular earning on everything you buy up to $20,000 spent in the first year (worth up to $300 cash back)
Good to Excellent