Is the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express worth it? | February 2018

Review: Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express – February 2018

The go-to card for Hilton regulars, with excellent point earnings at Hilton properties.

  • Get this card if… you stay at Hilton often.
  • Pick something else if… you don’t stay at Hilton, or if you want cash back.

If you’re the road warrior who stays at Hilton every chance you get, the Surpass is the card for you. There’s a $75 p.a. annual fee, but it’ll be paid for quickly with the card’s excellent signup bonus and point earnings.

Product NameHilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
Intro APR for Balance Transfer16.2420.24% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)16.24% to 20.24% variable`
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )16.24% to 20.24% variable
Annual fee$75
Cash Advance Rate26.24% variable
Card TypeAmerican Express
Interest Free Period
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
Up to 25 days
Returned Payment Fee$38
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (AMEX)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
2.7% of transaction value
Minimum Credit ScoreFair (660-699)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$75
Returned Payment Fee$38
Late Payment Fee$38
Cash Advance Fee$5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Rewards ProgramAmerican Express Rewards
Bonus Points on Sign-up100,000
Rewards Points per $ spent (AMEX)12
Points ExpiryNever

The basics

For occasional travelers and once-in-a-while Hilton customers, the Honors Card is a fine choice. For Hilton diehards, the Surpass is the go-to pick.

The main reason is the Surpass’ 12x points on Hilton spending, which eclipses the Honors’ 7x points. Ultimately, the Surpass card will give you a points machine that’ll help you earn free nights at the Hilton. Even though points are typically worth 0.4 cents a piece, you’ll collect so many that the card will pay for itself. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to earn 6x points at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, as well as 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

You can find Hilton properties that cost as little as 5,000 points a night, but more often you’ll pay around 30,000 points for a night. That makes the card’s 100,000-point signup bonus quite generous.

Because the Surpass comes with a $75 p.a. annual fee, it’s most valuable if you stay at Hilton many times a year. If you stay at Hilton only occasionally, the Honors card is likely a better deal.

Which Hilton Honors card should I get?

Hilton Honors Amex

Hilton Honors™ Card

Hilton Honors Surpass card

Hilton Honors™ Surpass Card

Annual feeNone$75 p.a.
Signup bonus80,000 points (spend $2,000 in the first 3 months)Earn @cc_bonus_points_signup@ Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Point earnings
  • 7x at Hilton
  • 5x at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations
  • 3x on other eligible purchases
  • 12x at Hilton
  • 6x at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations
  • 3x on other eligible purchases
Bonus points for Hilton Honors bookings500 bonus points500 bonus points
Complimentary Hilton Honors status upgradeSilverGold
Secondary Hilton Honors status upgradeGold (after spending $20,000)Diamond (after spending $40,000)

The Honors card has no annual fee, while the Honors Surpass charges $75 p.a. a year. Getting the Surpass starts to make sense when you consider its 100,000 signup bonus. However, it’s more valuable if you stay at Hilton regularly. That’s because you’ll earn 12x points on Hilton purchases versus the 7x you get with the Honors.

The other big factor is whether you value a complimentary bump to Gold status from the Surpass, or whether you’re okay with Silver (from the Honors). Silver offers many of the same perks Gold does. But Gold gives you faster earnings to attain higher status tiers, as well as small goodies at select properties like snacks and breakfast.

Overall, most travelers will do just fine with the Hilton Honors card. If you’re a hardcore Hilton customer, however, the Hilton Surpass is a no-brainer.

The Perks

  • SIGNUP BONUS: Hilton Honors points.
Earn @cc_bonus_points_signup@ Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • POINT: Earn accelerated Hilton Honors points.

Earn 12x points at Hilton properties. Earn 6x points at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. And earn 3x points on all other eligible purchases.

  • More points when you book at a Hilton Honors website.

Each time you book online from a Hilton Honors property, you’ll receive 500 bonus points.

  • Complimentary upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status.

Gold status offers property-specific bonuses, a 25% bonus on Hilton Honors Base Points you earn, and your fifth night free when you book five nights or more in one stay with points. It also includes standard perks like digital check-in, complimentary Wi-Fi and late check-out.

You’ll also like…

  • Complimentary upgrade to Hilton Honors Diamond status after meeting spending requirements. If you spend $40,000 or more in a calendar year, you’ll get a free upgrade to Diamond status.
  • Travel protection. You’ll have access to the American Express Global Assist Hotline, which you can use if you find yourself in a pinch on vacation. Also, get complimentary car rental, baggage and travel accident insurance.
  • Purchase benefits. Get extended warranties and return protection on eligible items.
  • Cardmember-only entertainment. As a cardholder, you’ll have access to exclusive events and ticket presales.

What to watch out for

  • Not as widely accepted overseas. Because the Hilton Honors Surpass card is an American Express card, you might not have as many opportunities to use it overseas as you would with a Visa or Mastercard.
  • Foreign transaction fees. You’ll incur fees when you use your Hilton Honors Surpass card abroad.
  • It hurts to pay late. Making late or returned payments could saddle you with a penalty APR as high as 29.99%. You may also incur late and returned-payment fees as high as $38.00.

Consider other cards if…

Compare other American Express credit cards

Rates last updated February 25th, 2018
Name Product APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate ) Intro APR for Balance Transfer Annual fee Product Description
Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card
15.24% to 23.24% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with $5 minimum, 5% balance transfer fee)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($45 thereafter)
20,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 (net purchases) in first 3 months
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
14.24% to 26.24% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
20000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 (net purchases) in first 3 months
Blue from American Express® Card
16.49%, 19.49% or 21.49% variable
16.49%, 19.49% or 21.49%% Intro APR for within 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn rewards with no annual fee.
Blue Sky from American Express® Card
18.49%, 21.49% or 23.49% variable
18.4921.4923.49% Intro APR for within 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Flexible travel rewards and no annual fee.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
16.99% to 25.99% variable
16.9925.99% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, 5% or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn 50000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 or more in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
16.24% to 20.24% variable
16.2420.24% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$75
Earn 100000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
American Express Serve®
FREE ATM withdrawals at over 24,000 MoneyPass® ATM locations nationwide.
The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express
16.49% variable
16.49% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn 10000 Membership Rewards ® points after using your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
Plenti® Credit Card from Amex
15.99% to 25.99% variable
15.9925.99% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn 5000 Plenti® points after you spend $250 in purchases on your Plenti® Credit Card from Amex within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.99% to 25.99% variable
16.99% to 25.99%% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$195
Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs)
and 35000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first 3 months.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.99% to 25.99% variable
16.99% to 25.99%% Intro APR for 60 days of account opening (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
16.99% to 25.99% variable
$450
Earn 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 40000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
16.99% to 25.99% variable
16.99% to 25.99% variable% Intro APR for 60 days (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$195
Earn bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
American Express® Green Card
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Shop with more confidence
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$0 annual fee for the first year ($195 thereafter)
More Points. More Rewards.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month
$550
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
14.24% to 25.24% variable
0% Intro APR for first 15 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive the $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
14.24% to 25.24% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive the $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
14.24% to 24.24% variable
0% Intro APR for first 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0
Earn 10000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
14.24% to 24.24% variable
0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$95
Earn 15000 Membership Rewards Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Credit Card
16.49% to 20.49% variable
16.4920.49 % Intro APR for 60 days (with whichever is greater, $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 25000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
USAA Secured Card American Express®
11.15% to 21.15% variable
$35
You can get travel benefits (no foreign transaction fees), retail benefits and collision damage waiver coverage on your rental car.
USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
13.15% to 27.15% variable
$0
Get high cash back rewards on most purchases, including gasoline, groceries and military base purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

What to know before you apply

To apply for the Hilton Honors Surpass card, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A US resident

What credit score do I need?

You’ll have a better chance of being approved for the Hilton Honors Surpass card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 680 or higher.

How to apply for the card

1. On the American Express website, click Apply Now.

Hilton Honors Surpass Card step1

2. Fill out the application form. Provide information like your Social Security number, home address, income source and total annual income.

Hilton Honors Surpass Card step2

How long will it take to be approved?

Because conditional credit card approval is automated on the website, you can get a decision on your application within 60 seconds.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Making payments. Register an account at the American Express website to pay your balance online. You can also enroll in autopay.
  • Avoiding interest payments. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of 25 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Avoiding fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $38. Balance transfers, cash advances and foreign transactions also come with fees.
  • Customer service. Help documents aren’t easily accessible on the American Express website, but you can call 800-528-4800 for customer service. According to market research company J.D. Power, cardholders give American Express high marks in customer interaction.

Bottom line

The Surpass card is a great pick for Hilton regulars. For casual travelers, the Hilton Honors card is a better choice.

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