Hilton Amex to drop drug stores & telecom bonus categories


Update: This post includes offers that were valid at the time of publication, but have since expired. Please click here to see the best offers currently available.

UPDATE: Gary reports that changes are coming, but not until May. Plus he has details about other changes: some good, some bad.  Read the details here.

I was notified recently by a few readers, this TravelBloggerBuzz post, and this FlyerTalk thread, that American Express no longer shows drug stores or telecom charges as bonus categories on their online application.  Up until now, both the American Express Hilton HHonors card and the Hilton HHonors Surpass offered 6 points per dollar at grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations, and telecom (phone, internet, cable).  Recently, though, the online applications leave out most of those categories.  For example, the Hilton HHonors application landing page currently shows no hint of bonus categories at all other than Hilton properties:

Earn 6 Hilton HHonorsTM Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at any participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio of brands. You will receive 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of other eligible purchases

Meanwhile, the application landing page for the Hilton HHonors Surpass card shows 6X for groceries and gas stations, but does not mention drug stores or telecom:

Earn 12 Hilton HHonorsTM Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at any participating hotel within the Hilton HHonors portfolio of brands. Earn 6 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets and on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations. You will receive 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of other eligible purchases.

Amex Speaks

I called the customer service line to ask what was up.  The rep told me that for the Hilton HHonors card, as of Feb 1, American Express will no longer offer 6X for drug stores or telecom, but would continue to offer 6X for groceries and gas stations.  She said that, as a cardholder, I should receive notice of these changes from American Express soon.  Yes, if she’s correct, that means that existing cardholders will lose this benefit.

I asked her if the same was true with the Surpass card.  She admitted that changes were coming to that card too, but for some reason she didn’t seem willing to spell them out.  Either that, or the changes are not yet final.  I suspect we will see the same changes to both cards.

Oh no, not drug stores!

As most of you know, many in the points & miles community have been visiting drug stores frequently to buy reload cards.  Many have been paying with Hilton Amex cards in order to earn 6X points per dollar for these purchases.  Sadly, it looks like that particular opportunity will be gone by the end of this month.

You may now wonder what other cards offer bonus points at drug stores.  According to my “Best Category Bonuses” page, the only other options are the US Bank Cash+ card which can earn more than 2% at drug stores, and the Chase Amazon Rewards card which earns 2 points per dollar at drug stores.  I don’t know much about the Amazon card.  Are 2 points worth two cents?  If so, the Cash+ card has that one beat.  Unfortunately, the Cash+ card is also being devalued soon.  You can read complete details about the Cash+ devaluation tomorrow.


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[…] for gas, drugstores and supermarket purchases, since they all earn 6x points per dollar spent (for now). While Hilton Honors points have a very low value, 6x points per dollar spent is still pretty […]


Steve: Yep, the latest news suggests that the changes won’t take effect until May


I logged into my HH Amex Surpass account, clicked on card Benefits then downloaded the Benefits Guide; it still lists Rx and Telecom as 6x categories.
”Double point categories
You can earn 6 HHonors bonus points for every $1 spent when you use your Hilton HHonors Card to pay at supermarkets; drug stores; standalone gas stations; and home telephone, wireless, cable, satellite TV, and
internet service providers.”

[…] Hilton Amex to drop drug stores & telecom bonus categories […]


@SP I guess individual stores vary in policy, just bought 6 VR x $500 each from 3 different CVS,s -they limit to $1000 per transaction or per day- with Freedom and Hilton cc with no problem, have been doing this for months now.


Just stopped by CVS in Costa Mesa, CA over lunchtime. Tried to buy 2 Vanilla reloads. Manager said that they are cash only now. They got a memo just after X-mas to go cash only. “Fraud prevention issues”. Oh well!!!

[…] given the specificity of changes that Frequent Miler reported being told by American Express, I went back with a “wait — so there are no changes, but will there be […]


Well, in my little midwest town, I’ve been buying about 1 VR card a week at Walgreens. Last night, I was told that they no longer accept credit cards on those purchases. Bummer.


Got the Hilton AMEX in the mail on Tuesday- the info that accompanied the card only mentioned 6X on Hilton spending.

IMO this card is still valuable because it gives you access to GLON and AXON rates- they actually make Hilton points a decent value if you are booking rooms for 4-6 nights.

[…] we also learned that it might be true that the Amex Hilton cards that earn 6x at drug stores may very quickly no longer offe… (though Amex has given some conflicting reports on this thus far).  This is a bit of a blow to […]

marathon man

time to take out that stack of liberated beans and hit them CVSs harder than ever on the HH Amex lol
woo hoo! FR here we come!

Frequent Churner

David — without going into too much detail and killing the deal…just read the reloadit website and try some of their “partner” cards that accept them for loads. I found one with no fee if you load $2500+ per month, no transaction fee, and allows full pin debit transactions and bill payment. I just wish ink did 5x at grocery stores instead!


@DRE and Frequent Churner,

How are you guys using Reloadit? I see plenty of these at cvs. Just wondering where you load it to and how you exit from it? Anyone got a link to a thread/site? So far, all I’m doing is Vanilla. Also, I’ll be getting CC cards on my next churn probably in May/June.


reloadit indeed


A top tier Hilton at 6x using AXON will only cost you a little over $6K