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Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

New Contributor

Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

I currently have an Amex Clear card and interested in a Product Change to a hotel travel rewards card. Out of the two cards in the subject line, which one would you choose? I was going to go for the Hilton HHonors since it had no annual fee. Is paying the yearly $65 fee for the Starwood Preferred card worth it? If so would it just be worth it go for the Hilton HHonors Preferred for $75 a year instead?  If I do a PC I guess I would not be eligible for the promotional sign up bonus points so if I apply separately for any of these card would they do a hard pull if approved? I am already preapproved for the Platinum, Premier Gold, and Green card but dont want any of those due to the high annual fees, and from reading the forums they don't do a hard pull for preapproved cards for existing customers. 

 

Thanks!

Message 1 of 31
30 REPLIES
Regular Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

AFAIK, Amex actually doesn't allow PCs from the Clear. That's what I seem to remember from a few threads here.

 

You'd probably want to apply for a new card anyways, as the sign-up bonuses are pretty lucrative. If you're an existing Amex cardholder, it's a SP if you are denied for anything and an HP only if you are approved. You'll also get backdating on a new card.
 

As for HH vs. SPG, I'll let others chime in, but it really depends on where your upcoming stays (if any) are going to be and your spending habits. Generally people find the ability of the SPG to transfer to frequent flyer program appealing.

EX: 758 (10/12), TU: ???, EQ: ???

BankAmericard Travel Rewards // Citi Forward // Amex Blue Cash Preferred // Gap Visa
Message 2 of 31
Senior Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

You don't incur a hard pull if you do a product change, but as pointed out above, it may not be allowed.

 

I would definitely do a new app rather than a PC even if it were allowed in order to get the sign up bonus.  Unless there is a reason you are extremely inquiry sensitive, and in that case, I would consider waiting until later so you can get the sign up bonus then.

 

Make sure you check around for the best offers.  For SPG, go through spg.com rather than directly through Amex.  I think the best offer for the no fee Amex Hhonors card is still 50K points after $750 in spend.  You should be able to find links to that.

 

Do you have any preferences between Hilton and Starwood properties?  Do you want flexibility to transfer to airline miles?  If the latter, you'd want to go with SPG.  Hilton mile transfers are awful.  Which card you're going to want is going to depend a lot on how you want to use the points, your travel patterns, etc. 


Starting Score: ~500 (12/01/2008)
Current Score: EQ 681 (04/05/13); TU 98 728 (01/06/12), TU 08? 760 (provided by Barclay 1/2/14), TU 04 728 (lender pull 01/12/12); EX 742 (lender pull 01/12/12)
Goal Score: 720


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Message 3 of 31
Established Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

+1 for what Walt_K posted. 

 

I'll add that I have both and stay frequently at both properties so it made sense. If you frequent one then get that card. If you frequent neither that often SPG based on the transfer value alone. 

 

Whichever one you decide on app for it and forget the PC. You want the sign up bonus. Even with a HP it's worth it. 

 

Ever consider the Chase Priority Club card? I have it too and I think it's the sleeper in hotel cards. The free night worldwide is worth more than the AF if you want to travel abroad (or even some nice domestic locations). 

Message 4 of 31
New Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

Wow, some good input here. I didn't even know about the Priority Club from Chase. I have a Chase Freedom card. Do you know if points can be combined with my Freedom card if I go with the Priority Club? 

Message 5 of 31
Established Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??


jintonix wrote:

Wow, some good input here. I didn't even know about the Priority Club from Chase. I have a Chase Freedom card. Do you know if points can be combined with my Freedom card if I go with the Priority Club? 


No, the Priority Club awards points to your Priority Club account for use at ICH properties. It's a closed system so no transfers to airlines but for $49 AF that is waived the first year it's a nice card especially if you stay at ICH properties. Honestly I stay at ICH hotels more often than Marriott, Hilton and Starwood so it's paying off nice for me. Platinum status with just the signup bonus and you keep Platinum for as long as you have the card. I get room upgrades and late checkouts all the time with that status. 

Message 6 of 31
Valued Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??


scenery_guy wrote:

jintonix wrote:

Wow, some good input here. I didn't even know about the Priority Club from Chase. I have a Chase Freedom card. Do you know if points can be combined with my Freedom card if I go with the Priority Club? 


No, the Priority Club awards points to your Priority Club account for use at ICH properties. It's a closed system so no transfers to airlines but for $49 AF that is waived the first year it's a nice card especially if you stay at ICH properties. Honestly I stay at ICH hotels more often than Marriott, Hilton and Starwood so it's paying off nice for me. Platinum status with just the signup bonus and you keep Platinum for as long as you have the card. I get room upgrades and late checkouts all the time with that status. 


You can transfer your freedom points to PC only if you have a CSP, Ink or JPM Select. If you do, then you transfer from the Freedom to CSP, and then again from the CSP to PC. As a general rule it's not a very good value, since PC points aren't worth that much when compared to the other UR transfer options.

EX 798, EQ 789, TU 784
American Express Platinum (NPSL) || Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards Visa Signature - $23,200 CL
Barclays American Airlines Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard - $20,000 CL || Chase IHG Rewards World Mastercard - $25,000 CL
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $12,700 CL || Chase United MileagePlus Club World Elite MasterCard - $26,500 CL
Citibank Hilton Reserve Visa Signature - $20,000 CL || J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton Visa Signature - $23,500 CL
Message 7 of 31
Valued Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

With any hotel card, you really need to think about your stay patterns before anything else. Where do you stay most often? How long is each stay? Is there a SPG or Hilton property there? SPG is great for shorter stays, C&P and in Cat 3-4 properties. Hilton on the other hand really shines for 4+ night stays at high-end properties via AXON and GLON.

EX 798, EQ 789, TU 784
American Express Platinum (NPSL) || Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards Visa Signature - $23,200 CL
Barclays American Airlines Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard - $20,000 CL || Chase IHG Rewards World Mastercard - $25,000 CL
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $12,700 CL || Chase United MileagePlus Club World Elite MasterCard - $26,500 CL
Citibank Hilton Reserve Visa Signature - $20,000 CL || J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton Visa Signature - $23,500 CL
Message 8 of 31
New Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

Ok so I probably reserve hotels 4-6 times out of the year (may increase) on a avg stay about 2-3 nights. I tend to lean more towards reserving at least a 4 star hotels. I love the idea of being able to use points for airline miles as well. The Priority Club Visa Signature is enticing since you also get the siggy benefits along with the standard perks from Priority Club. HHonors as CreditScholar stated does offer higher end properties, but SPG offers transferability to miles. Ahhh decisions decisions....

Message 9 of 31
Senior Contributor

Re: Amex Hilton HHonors or Amex Starwood Preferred??

What are you trying to accomplish?  If you just want some free nights at a hotel, take advantage of sign up bonuses in several programs.  You can earn a stash of Hilton points by signing up for Amex Hhonors no fee, later getting the Surpass, and getting Citi Hilton cards.  You can also get Hawaiin airlines cards for 35K miles x2 that convert to Hhonors at 2:1, so 140K Hhonors points from those cards.  Between the Amex Hhonors cards, Citi cards, and Hawaiin air cards, you could have about 300K Hhonors points.  You could also add the Citi Reserve card for two free weekend nights, so you would have a pretty nice Hilton vacation wrapped up all on points.  Then cancel the cards you don't want to keep when the annual fees come due.

 

Get the SPG card as well for good measure.  You'd need to space some of those apps out, but you could have a pretty good Hhonors balance by the end of the year by leveraging the bonuses.


Starting Score: ~500 (12/01/2008)
Current Score: EQ 681 (04/05/13); TU 98 728 (01/06/12), TU 08? 760 (provided by Barclay 1/2/14), TU 04 728 (lender pull 01/12/12); EX 742 (lender pull 01/12/12)
Goal Score: 720


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Message 10 of 31