Why My Top Credit Card For Earning Hilton Points Is Not A Card That Earns Hilton Points

We want to help ordinary people travel extraordinary places by using points and miles. We especially enjoy sharing lesser-known approaches to earning reward points.  Sometimes the most obvious way to earn points, isn’t the most effective, for example…

Next month we’ll be staying in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives.  This stay was booked using Hilton points.  The most obvious way to earn Hilton points, is to sign up and use an American Express Hilton Card.  Amex Hilton Cards earn Hilton points for each dollar spent. They are solid cards, in fact…I have one! But, my top credit card for earning Hilton points is not my Amex Hilton card. My best card for earning Hilton points is my Rakuten Visa Card. If you shop online and are willing to use a shopping portal (which we recommend) it may also be a good card for you.  

My Best Card for Earning Hilton Points is the Rakuten Visa Card

Enter the Rakuten Visa Card- The Rakuten card is my go to card for earning points in 2020.  The Rakuten Visa card earns an additional 3 Membership Reward points per dollar spent when shopping through the Rakuten shopping portal.

The Rakuten Visa Earns an Extra 3% On Purchases Made Through The Portal

The Rakuten Visa card earns an extra 3 Membership Reward points per dollar spent when shopping through the Rakuten shopping portal.  These 3 extra membership reward points are in addition to the however many Membership points you’ll earn through the portal.  For example, Rakuten is currently offering 1 membership reward point for every dollar spent at Best Buy.  Anyone, using any credit card, can earn 1 membership reward point for dollar spent, when going through the Rakuten shopping portal to shop at Best Buy.  However, if I use my Rakuten Visa to make the purchase, I’ll earn an additional 3 Membership Reward points per dollar spent.  This results in a total of 4 Membership Reward points.  1 Membership Reward point for using the Rakuten portal plus 3 Membership Reward points for using my Rakuten Visa.  

Shoppers Can Earn 1% on Purchases Made at Best Buy

Why are we talking about Membership Reward points when the topic is Hilton points?  

Why are we discussing Membership reward points, when this post is about earning Hilton points?  Because Membership reward points can be transferred to Hilton at the ratio of 1 Membership Reward Point = 2 Hilton Points. That means the 4 membership reward points you earn for shopping at Best Buy, once transferred, result in 8 Hilton points.  By comparison, my American Express Hilton Card only earns 3 points at Best Buy. The Rakuten Card results in more than twice the points.  

Membership Rewards Transfer at a Rate of 1:2

How about 12x in Hilton Points?

It can get even better. From time to time American Express offers a transfer bonus, in which 1 Membership Reward Point = 3 Hilton points.  Using the above example, this would result in earning 12 membership reward points for each dollar spent on the Rakuten Visa. In this case, the best card for earning Hilton points, is not a Hilton card.  

What are the Drawbacks? I can think of two potential drawbacks to this approach.

  • This approach involves two extra steps. Step one- Earning Membership Reward points via a shopping portal (not directly with American Express). Step Two- The points need to be transferred to your American Express Membership Rewards account. Step Three – The points need to be transferred from your American Express Membership Rewards account to Hilton.
  • Access to the points takes longer. Rakuten pays out Membership Reward points on a quarterly basis. This means waiting longer to get access to your hard-earned points. In contrast, Hilton points earned via an Amex Hilton card are paid out monthly, and transferred directly into your Hilton Honors account.

Whether or not these drawbacks outweigh the benefits is something to consider.

Looking Forward to Using My Points for Travel

In Conclusion

My best card for earning Hilton points is not a card that earns Hilton points. It’s a Rakuten card that earns Membership Reward points. If you’re interested in earning Hilton points, and you shop online, the Rakuten Visa is a card to consider.  It’s a less-obvious way to earn Hilton points.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re new to shopping portals, check out these two posts we wrote

Earning Airline Miles Without Flying on an Airplane

Earn Cash Back For Travel When Shopping Online

We also did a write up on why earning American Express points through Rakuten is our current focus for shopping portals.

If you’re new to points and miles, you can also check out this series...


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