Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card review

Bankrate Staff  in  Hotel How we rate our cards  | 

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Best for earning hotel rewards

Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Bankrate Rating

 

Best for the international Hilton traveler

  • Rewards rate: 12X points per dollar of eligible purchases on Hilton hotels and resorts; 6X points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; 3X points per dollar on other eligible purchases
  • Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 15.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is one of the best cards for Hilton fans who do moderate travel. With a hefty rewards system and some enticing bonuses, you can acquire quite a few free stays with your new Hilton card.

Current welcome offer

Currently, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is offering 130,000 points if you spend at least $2,000 in eligible purchases in their first three months of card membership.

Though Hilton Honors points have a fairly low redemption rate compared to similar hotel rewards programs, according to The Points Guy, you can commonly find award night availabilities for as low as 5,000 points, so you can squeeze a good bit of value out of this welcome offer. If you’re planning on traveling or staying at a Hilton property with any frequency, this is a welcome offer you don’t want to pass up.

Rewards

The rewards program with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card acts as an extension of the free Hilton Honors program. You’ll earn more points than a free member of the program just for being a cardmember.

Earning rewards

When you make purchases through your Hilton Honors Surpass Card American Express, you’ll earn 12X the points on for eligible purchases at Hilton portfolio stays around the world. When you use your card on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, you’ll earn 6X the points per dollar. All other eligible purchases will accrue points at a rate of 3X per dollar. In addition, being a Surpass cardholder will grant you Gold elite status, which will give you perks like every fifth night free on rewards stays when you stay for five consecutive nights or more.

If you’re a restaurant regular on the road or close to home, you could also have the chance to stack another 8X points on top of your base 6X rate for U.S. restaurants with the Hilton Honors Dining program. Just linking your card to Hilton’s dining program will earn you an extra 2X points at select restaurants, but you can easily step up to 5X points by signing up for Hilton Honors Dining’s email communications list. Making 11 qualified transactions with the program in one calendar year will earn you VIP status, along with a boosted 8X points at participating locations, an expanded pool of potential restaurants and access to the VIP Member Services line.

There are several other ways to earn Hilton Honors points, including linking your Hilton Honors account with Lyft and select car rental partners or reaching Hilton stay milestones. These methods won’t rake in the rewards at the same rate as your card’s bonus categories, but they could make a difference toward your next getaway.

Redeeming rewards

You can redeem rewards by logging in to your Hilton Honors account online, via the app or by calling 1-800-4HONORS. The minimum required redemption is 5,000 points if you’re paying with both points and money, but a night’s stay often costs a considerable amount more in points. You can use your points not only for free hotel stays and on-property perks (like free Wi-Fi) but also for:

  • Exclusive experiences in dining, concerts, sports and more
  • Lyft rides
  • Shopping on Amazon.com or with Hilton’s merchandise portal
  • Rental cars with Alamo, National and Enterprise
  • Transfers to 30+ partner travel loyalty programs

How much are points worth?

Hilton Honors points are among the most inflated in hotel rewards programs, only worth around 0.6 cents per point. However, we’ve found that number is a relative baseline since Hilton’s redemption structure means your points’ value can fluctuate based on your booking since some properties and travel options would typically cost more. For example,  While the high earning rate of rewards can be tempting, it can often cost around 25,000 points or more for a single night’s stay.

If you use your card enough, you’ll likely get a good number of hotel stays under your belt. But don’t expect rewards to stretch too far.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass: Benefits

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card boasts some impressive travel perks, which are nice for getting a worldwide Hilton experience.

Hilton Night Reward

The Hilton Surpass card also comes with its own yearly award night benefit. By spending at least $15,000 on eligible purchases in one calendar year, you earn a “Free Weekend Night Reward.”

You’ll receive your complimentary night in the form of a redeemable code via email about 8 to 12 weeks after meeting the eligibility requirement. Your weekend night can cover one weekend night standard accommodation for two guests and covers all applicable resort fees and taxes on the cost of the room for the night. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover incidentals and must be redeemed on or before its expiration date.

Travel benefits

When you travel with Hilton, expect to travel in style. You’ll have premium airport lounge access with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership featuring 10 free airport lounge visits each Priority Pass Membership year once enrolled. You’ll also be able to avoid pesky foreign transaction fees while you travel, as well as have access to the Global Assist Hotline.

American Express experiences

As a cardmember, you’ll also get exclusive Amex benefits. You’ll be privy to special members-only experiences like sporting events, Broadway shows and more.

Money management tools

Enjoy $0 fraud liability, a year-end summary of your spending and payment assistance plans to help you budget your spending and stay on track.

Rates and fees

For the Hilton Honors Surpass Card, you can expect an annual fee of $95. Other Hilton cards range from $0 to $450, so this is a nice middle ground. With the power of your welcome offer alone, you likely won’t feel the impact of the fee.

Unfortunately, there is no intro APR to temper the annual fee. You’re looking at an interest rate between 15.74 percent and 24.74 percent (variable).

A bright spot for international travelers, though: You won’t incur any foreign transaction fees.

How the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass compares to other hotel cards

Want to rack up hotel rewards, but aren’t a die-hard Hilton fan? Consider how the Hilton Honors Surpass Card fares against other hotel credit cards, like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card. The annual fee is also $95, and you’ll earn comparable rewards you can use at Marriott hotels around the world.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, on the other hand, has a comparable annual fee of $95 but offers more flexible rewards. You’ll earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. As well as 2X the miles per dollar on all purchases. You can then redeem those miles for any travel purchase with any brand made on your card, including for hotel nights, airfare and more.

Card Name Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus
Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • 7X points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio
  • 5X points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. restaurants
  • 3X points on other purchases
$0 • 80,000 points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
  • 6X points per dollar on Marriott Bonvoy hotel purchases
  • 2X on all other eligible purchases
$95
  • 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 within the first three months
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • 2X miles per dollar on all purchases
$95
  • 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Best cards to pair with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass

The Hilton Honors Surpass Card is almost exclusively geared toward hotel stays, so you could create a powerful combination with a branded airline credit card. That way, you’ve got travel and lodging covered.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass worth it?

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is, overall, a fairly high-quality hotel card for the casual traveler. For those with more money and more trips on the books, you may want to consider a different Hilton credit card. If you’re looking for something with more flexibility, check out our guide for choosing a hotel credit card.

Pros

  • Earn Hilton Honors Gold status for up to 80 percent more rewards on stays
  • Start to redeem rewards from 5,000 points
  • Variety of perks and experiences make travel more comfortable

Cons

  • Reward redemptions limited to hotel stays, experiences and gift certificates
  • Single nights at hotels can cost significant points

 

The information about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.