Comparison: Hilton Surpass Vs. Hilton Business Card

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Card Comparisons
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American Express and Hilton have a suite of four co-branded credit cards. As you’d expect, each card is going after a different part of the market.

How do the Hilton Surpass & Hilton Business compare?

Amex and Hilton have two credit cards with identical annual fees — the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review), which has a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (review),  which also has a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees).

Since one is a personal card and the other is a business card, in this post I wanted to look at how the two cards compare, given their identical annual fees.

Comparing welcome bonuses

The welcome bonuses on the two cards are very similar. Both offer up to 125K Honors points. The only difference is the spending requirement:

  • The Hilton Surpass Card is offering a welcome bonus of 125,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 within three months
  • The Hilton Business Card is offering a welcome bonus of 125,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3,000 within three months

As you can see, the business version of the card just has a slightly higher spending requirement to earn the bonus.

Comparing return on spending

Both cards offer some useful bonus categories, and offer either 12x points, 9x points, or 3x points. The exact bonus categories differ, though.

The Hilton Surpass offers:

  • 12x points per dollar spent with Hilton
  • 6x points per dollar spent at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
  • 3x points per dollar spent on everything else

The Hilton Business offers:

  • 12x points per dollar spent with Hilton
  • 6x points per dollar spent at US gas stations, on wireless phone services with US service providers, on US shipping purchases, at US restaurants, on flights booked directly with airlines or with amextravel.com, and on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
  • 3x points per dollar spent on everything else

The personal card exclusively offers 6x points at US supermarkets, while the business version of the card exclusively offers 6x points on wireless phone services, shipping purchases, flights booked directly with airlines, and rental car spending.

For what it’s worth, I value Hilton Honors points at ~0.5 cents each, if you’re trying to do the math on the return on spending you get with these cards.


Both cards offer 6x points at US restaurants

Comparing Hilton status perks

Both cards are identical in terms of the opportunities to earn status:

  • You receive Gold status for as long as you have the card
  • When you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year you receive Hilton Honors Diamond status


Hilton Honors Gold & Diamond members receive complimentary breakfast

Comparing free weekend night certificates

Both the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Business Card offer a free weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.

However, the business version of the card exclusively offers a second weekend night reward if you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.

This creates some nice spending thresholds on the business version of the card, since:

  • You get a free weekend night after $15,000 of spending
  • You get Diamond status after $40,000 of spending
  • You get another weekend night after $60,000 of spending


Redeem your free weekend night certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

Comparing Priority Pass perks

Both cards offer 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges per year. Additional passes are $27 per person per visit.

This is a nice entry level Priority Pass benefit, though keep in mind that there are other great cards offering Priority Pass memberships with unlimited visits, including The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, (review), so I don’t personally value this benefit all that much.


Receive 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits with either of these cards

No foreign transaction fees

Both the personal and business versions of the card have no foreign transaction fees.

Approval odds

For those with excellent credit, I find both of these cards to be pretty easy to be approved for.

The major restriction is that Amex limits you to five credit cards per person, though this excludes charge cards.

Assuming you’re within that limit you have good odds of approval. One advantage of the Hilton Business Card is that applying for an Amex small business card generally won’t count towards your total as far as the Chase 5/24 rule is concerned.

Bottom line

The Hilton Surpass Card and Hilton Business Card are very similar, despite being branded differently — both cards have the same annual fee, similar welcome bonuses, and comparable perks.

There are some minor differences between the cards, and I’d say for the most part they swing in favor of the business version of the card.

Do you have either of these cards, and if so, what has your experience been with it?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees).

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Comments
  1. I have both. Here is the plus with the personal: there is a no fee card to which one can downgrade whereas with the Business version, there is none.

  2. One big advantage of 10-visit priority pass is you can bring up to 10 people in a single visit(vs. 3 for other pp cards). For people who travels with a larger group, this is very useful.

  3. Ben are you able to confirm what Liusu said, that “you can bring up to 10 people in a single visit”? Are you able to give access to those not accompanying you as well?

  4. @Adam Garret … you can bring anyone in, they don’t have to be on your itinerary. It is for 10 free visits, kinda like a punch pass (no free guests). You yourself could go 10 times, or you could go once with 9 guests for instance.

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