Comparing Hilton Amex Personal & Business $95 Annual Fee Cards

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Card Comparisons
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Update: These offers for The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


In January American Express and Hilton introduced a suite of new credit cards. Among these cards are the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, which has a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, 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.

Hilton Amex welcome bonuses

The welcome bonuses on the two cards are very similar. Both offer up to 130,000 Honors points. The only difference is the spend requirement:

  • The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has a $95 annual fee and is offering a welcome bonus of 130,000 Honors bonus points plus a free weekend night reward after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first four months
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (not an affiliate link) has a $95 annual fee and is offering a welcome bonus of 130,000 Honors bonus points plus a free weekend night reward after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months

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

Hilton Amex return on spending

Both cards offer 12x points/9x points/3x points, though the exact bonus categories differ:

  • 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 Honors American Express Business Card 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.


Both cards offer 6x points at US restaurants

Hilton Amex status perks

Both cards are identical in this regard:

  • 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

Hilton Amex free weekend night certificates

Both the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Honors American Express 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, Diamond status after $40,000 of spending, and another weekend night after $60,000 of spending.


Redeem your free weekend night certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

Hilton Amex Priority Pass visits

Both cards offer 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges per year. Additional passes are $27 per person per visit. However, given how many excellent cards offer Priority Pass memberships with unlimited visits (like The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card), I don’t personally value this benefit all that much.


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

Hilton Amex foreign transaction fees

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

Hilton Amex 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 (this excludes charge cards, like The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Business Platinum® Card from American Express, and American Express® Business Gold Card).

Assuming you’re within that limit you have good odds of approval. One advantage of the Hilton Honors American Express 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 and Hilton Honors American Express 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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