My Credit Cards Arsenal (8) – American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass

This Hilton HHonors Surpass card from American Express is a card for earning Hilton points through spending. If you love Hilton hotels and collecting Hilton points, this card is quite suitable and powerful for you.

Currently, the public offer is 60,000 bonus points after $3,000 spending within the first 3 months of account opening. And there are occasionally better offer of 85,000 bonus points after $3,000 spending within the first 3 months of account opening.

Surpass1

However, this is not the way I got my card. Here is a brief description of how I received mine:

1. I applied the no-fee version of the Hilton HHonors card when there was a 60,000 bonus points offer after $750 spending.

hilton12. After maintaining the no-fee version for a year, I used the upgrade tool provided from American Express to upgrade the no-fee card to the Surpass.

upgrade

3. I spent $3,000 within the first 3 months to get 50,000 points. which will generate 110,000 points in total.

The above steps are just my way to get the Surpass. It is definitely OK to jump for the 85,000 points offer!

Things to remember: American Express now only allow earning the sign-up bonus once a lifetime for each applicant. Since the no-fee Hilton and the Surpass fall into the same product family, when you sign up the no-fee Hilton card first, you will not be allowed to received the sign-up bonus of the Surpass if you apply separately, which means that if you have applied the no-fee card, upgrading will be the only way to get the Surpass and the sign-up bonus (or upgrade bonus). Just remember this and it’s my personal experience.

Card Features

  • Receive the complementary Gold status from Hilton HHonors as long as the card is active. This is a very good reason I love this card, and other hotel cards, for the status provided. The Gold status will get 25% bonus points, 5th night free with points, welcoming gifts or breakfast, and other benefits.
  • Diamond status after $40,000 spent every calendar year.
  • 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels, 6 points per dollar spent at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations, 3 points elsewhere. The earning capability in Hilton hotels is the highest among all Hilton co-branded card, which is at least 4.8% back for every dollar spent in Hilton hotels with the value of 0.4 cents per point estimated.
  • Priority Pass membership for lounge access, but each visit will charge $27.
  • Other benefits common for American Express cards: AMEX offers for targeted discounts, AMEX Small Business Saturday for discount at local stores, and ShopRunner membership for faster and free shipping.
  • $75 annual membership fee, which is not waived the first year.

60,000 Points Will Not Take You Far, But Can Be A Start

Will the devaluation of Hilton points, one Hilton point is about 0.4 cents worth. As a result, the sign-up bonus of 60,000 will only equal about $240, which is a quite pathetic value. Looking at how much points are needed for hotels at popular places:

Hilton2

The 60,000 points will only be redeemed for just a little more than 1 night, which is obviously not good, even though the point value is larger than 0.4 cents.

However, there some cases the redemption value can be high:

Hilton3

From my point of view, the best Hilton point redemption value can usually be found in the low category hotels, which are mostly not in the popular places of interest. And there will be some extra value extracted when points are used together with the fifth reward night free.

I have to agree that using Hilton points are tricky and advanced, to retrieve higher value from them.

Buttom Line

The Hilton HHonors Surpass card from American Express is a decent card for people who love Hilton hotels and stay in Hilton hotels a lot. Even for casual Hilton visitors, there can be some value too, from the high earning rate in Hilton hotels, and Gold status offered. And the no-fee version of the Hilton card can also be an option, since there is no annual membership fee, and the earning (7 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels, 5 points per dollar spent at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations) can still be powerful if the points are used wisely.

Do you like Hilton hotels? Do you have any of its co-brand cards?

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One thought on “My Credit Cards Arsenal (8) – American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass

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