Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express review | finder.com

Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express review

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Updated May 20th, 2019
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on travel and dining. 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on flights booked directly or flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$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. Rates & fees
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on airfare booked directly with airlines; 4x points at US restaurants; 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1x points)
$250
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & fees
25,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months
2x points on gas, groceries and airlines, whichever you spend the most on each month, 2x points on cell phone services and charities and 1x points on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($49 thereafter)
Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 in travel after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months. Rates & Fees
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
10,000 miles after spending $500 in the first 3 months
2x miles at US restaurants and on purchases made directly with Delta and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
70,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days
2x miles on all purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
$995
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
125,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees

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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’ 3x 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 12x 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 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 fee None $75
Welcome bonus 80,000 points (spend $2,000 in the first 3 months) Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in purchases 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
  • 3x at Hilton
  • 6x at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations
  • 12x on other eligible purchases
Bonus points for Hilton Honors bookings 500 bonus points 500 bonus points
Complimentary Hilton Honors status upgrade Silver Gold
Secondary Hilton Honors status upgrade Gold (after spending $20,000) Diamond (after spending $40,000)

The Honors card has no annual fee, while the Honors Surpass charges $75 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 3x 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 Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is a no-brainer.

The Perks

  • SIGNUP BONUS: Hilton Honors points.
Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of card membership.
  • POINT: Earn accelerated Hilton Honors points.

Earn 3x points at Hilton properties. Earn 6x points at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. And earn 12x 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 from American Express 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 from American Express 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.

Consider other cards if…

What to know before you apply

To apply for the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express, 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 from American Express if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 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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