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 market segment.

Comparing Hilton Surpass & Hilton Business

Amex and Hilton have two credit cards with identical annual 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:

  • 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 130,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3,000 within three months

As you can see, the business version of the card has a slightly higher spending requirement and a small bump in bonus.

Comparing return on spending

Both cards feature some useful bonus categories, and offer either 12x points, 9x points, or 3x points. The exact bonus categories differ, though. While we’re seeing credit cards offer some temporary bonus categories at the moment, let’s take a look at the long-term bonus categories of these cards.

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 the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Business 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

While this is of limited value at this very moment due to lack of travel and lounge closures, long-term this is a perk to consider. 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 (Rates & Fees) and business (Rates & Fees) versions of the Hilton 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.

What about the Hilton Aspire Card?

While this post is intended to specifically compare Hilton’s two cards with $95 annual fees, I think it’s always at least worth mentioning the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review), which is Hilton’s $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees) personal credit card.

This is a phenomenal card that offers so many incredible perks, including:

  • A $250 annual airline fee credit
  • A $250 annual Hilton resort credit
  • Top tier Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you have the card
  • A Hilton free night certificate annually (including the first year), which even has expanded uses right now

This is a card I have, and I can’t even begin to say the outsized value I get with this card. I mention this because there’s a personal version of this card, but not a business version. If I could only get one Hilton credit card, this would be it.

The Aspire Card offers a free weekend night every year

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), Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).

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Comments
  1. I have the business version and had the Surpass 4 years ago. Amex sent me a mailer wanting me to apply for the Surpass card with no lifetime language. I was trying to get under 5/24, but found the carrot to make me go off the wagon. The offer was for 175,000 miles. In spite of holding 7 Amex cards, I did get approved. With the spend added, I should have enough for 2 nights somewhere at a top tier hotel. 5/24 can wait.

  2. Is Amex’s current limit five or four cards? I thought I had read it was down to four from five.

  3. Hey Ben. Something Hilton related for you to maybe look into and report back on separately perhaps. Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa was supposed to open to visitors July 20th. Anecdotal reports on travel forums is Hilton just sent emails saying they are extending the closure for “technical reasons” with no reopening dates. There’s been speculation on the forums that although French Polynesia appears full steam ahead on a July 15th reopening, there’s a subset of posters who think FP will announce this week US travelers are not welcome. Might Hilton have advance knowledge and is pulling the plug? If unrelated, with ITH closed for renovations, not certain there is any other equivalent resort game on Moorea right now?

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