Hilton Honors American Express Surpass review: If you want Hilton perks with a low annual fee, this is the card for you
- The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is a top hotel credit card that comes with a big welcome bonus, an excellent earning structure, and several lucrative perks.
- You can use Hilton Honors points for hotel stays, as well as other types of travel, shopping and dining and more. However, you'll get more bang for your buck if you cash in your points for free stays with the Hilton brand.
- This card is a smart option to consider if you want to earn Hilton points without having to pay an outrageous annual fee. If you want greater perks, however, it may be worth considering the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card instead.
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Hilton hotels boast over 5,700 locations in more than 113 countries and territories worldwide, which is part of the reason Hilton Honors is a smart program to earn points in. Once you begin earning rewards, you can redeem them for stays in myriad properties ranging from Hampton Inns to Waldorf Astoria Hotels.While you can earn Hilton Honors points with paid hotel stays, you can fast-track your earnings by signing up for a co-branded Hilton credit card. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card is a popular option because it comes with a huge welcome bonus and a reasonable annual fee of $95. If you're thinking about diving into Hilton Honors and considering this credit card, keep reading to learn more.
When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card DetailsAnnual fee: $95
Welcome bonus: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $2,000 on your card within three months of account openingEarning structure: Earn 12x points on Hilton purchases, 6x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations, and 3x points on all other purchases Foreign transaction fee: None
Welcome bonus and everyday earning
One of the biggest benefits of the Hilton Surpass card is the fact that it lets you earn a big welcome bonus right off the bat. You'll earn 125,000 points when you sign up and spend $2,000 on your card within three months of account opening. That could be enough for several nights in a lower-tier Hilton property or one to two nights in one of the brand's luxury resorts.
This card is geared to Hilton loyalists, and this is illustrated by the 12x points per dollar you get on Hilton purchases. The fact you also earn 6 points per dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations is also a major plus since you can earn a lot of points with your card quickly this way.However, since Hilton Honors points are typically only worth 0.6 cents each (according to The Points Guy's valuations), the rewards earned with this card aren't as valuable as some offered by other programs, especially bank programs like Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Using Hilton Honors points
Hilton Honors points can be used in a variety of ways, but their most lucrative use is for free hotel stays. You can cash in your points to stay at a variety of properties around the globe, and award stays start at just 5,000 points per night. Even better is the fact that Hilton Silver, Gold, and Diamond members get a fifth night free on award stays when they book with points.
You can even use your points to book Hilton's all-inclusive resorts in destinations like Mexico, Costa Rica, and Turkey. Other redemption options include shopping, dining, on-site hotel experiences, concerts and events, and some types of travel like airfare and rental cars. Keep in mind, however, that you'll usually get less value out of your points when you redeem for options other than hotel stays.It's also important to note that, unlike some other rewards programs, Hilton Honors has a generous policy when it comes to pooling points with members of your household or anyone you plan to travel with.
Cardholder features and benefitsThis card does have a $95 annual fee, but you do get some perks in return. In addition to no foreign transaction fees, you'll get car rental loss and damage insurance and access to a global travel assistance hotline.
The Hilton Surpass card also comes with complimentary Hilton Gold status, which can help you score benefits like complimentary breakfast and free in-room Wi-Fi.Read more: Credit cards that get you hotel elite status just by having them in your wallet
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card costs and fees
This credit card may be a winner when it comes to racking up hotel points, but it's not a great option if you plan to carry a balance. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card comes with a variable APR of 17.49% to 26.49%, which is higher than many competing rewards credit cards.You'll also have to pay a $95 annual fee that's not waived the first year. Other fees, like late fees and returned payment fees up to $39 a pop, are pretty standard for the industry. The bottom line: The best course of action with this card is using it to earn hotel points and paying your balance in full (and on time) each month. If you need to carry a balance, you're better off with a low-interest credit card or a 0% APR credit card that lets you avoid interest for a limited time.
Is this the best hotel credit card for your wallet?
If you're interested in earning points in the Hilton Honors program, the Hilton Surpass is hard to beat at the $95 price point. It offers strong rewards earning on all your purchases, and you can earn a nice welcome bonus up top to help you on your way to free hotel stays. If you don't want to pay an annual fee, you could consider the Hilton Honors American Express Card, but it has fewer benefits and a lower welcome bonus of 75,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
If you want a card with more premium Hilton perks, you may want to consider the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card. It comes with a $450 annual fee, but you get up to a $250 airline credit each year, up to a $250 annual resort credit, Priority Pass airport lounge access, Hilton Diamond status, and other perks. Check out our Hilton Aspire card review and compare both cards before you decide.It's also worth noting that, like the Hilton Surpass card, the Platinum Card® from American Express offers complimentary Hilton Gold status - and it throws in Marriott Gold status as well. This is a premium rewards credit card with a $550 annual fee, so it's really only meant for frequent travelers who can take advantage of benefits like airport lounge access through multiple programs, Uber credits, Saks credits, and access to luxury perks for hotel stays when you book through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts.
Not only do you get a big welcome bonus with the Hilton Surpass card, but the generous earning structure also makes it easy to earn more points on everything you buy. You can get more Hilton benefits with the premium Hilton Aspire card, but if you don't want to pay a premium-level annual fee, the Surpass is a great option for Hilton loyalists.
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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.
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