Comparison: Hilton Surpass Vs. Hilton Business Card

Comparison: Hilton Surpass Vs. Hilton Business Card

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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.

In this post I wanted to compare the mid-range personal and business products, because you really should consider one of these cards if you don’t have it already.

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 Hilton Amex welcome bonuses

The welcome bonuses on the two Hilton Amex cards are the same, and include both points and a statement credit:

  • The Hilton Surpass Card is offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 within three months, plus a $150 statement credit after your first purchase within the same three month period
  • The Hilton Business Card is offering a multi-part welcome bonus up to 180,000 points which consists of:
    • Earn 130,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
    • Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.

The bonuses are similar, but the business card has a much larger spend requirement to earn the full bonus.

Redeem your Hilton Honors points at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

Comparing Hilton Amex return on spending

Both Hilton Amex 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 Amex offers:

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

The Hilton Business Amex offers:

  • 12x points per dollar spent with Hilton
  • 6x points per dollar spent at U.S. gas stations, on wireless phone services with U.S. service providers, on U.S. shipping purchases, at U.S. 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 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 U.S. restaurants

Comparing Hilton Honors status perks

Both the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Business are identical in terms of the opportunities to earn 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 Los Cabos

Comparing Hilton Amex Priority Pass perks

While this may be of limited value to many people at the moment, long-term this is a perk to consider. Both Hilton Amex 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 the 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

Hilton Amex no foreign transaction fees

Both the personal (Rates & Fees) and business (Rates & Fees) versions of the Hilton Amex 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 four credit cards per person, though this excludes charge cards (the limit used to be five cards, but has temporarily been lowered).

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, similarly excellent 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.

If you don’t have either (or both) of these cards, I’d highly recommend applying. The current bonuses are exceptional.

Do you have either of these Hilton Amex cards, and if so, which do you prefer?

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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  1. Levi

    $15k should also get you 60k HH points (assuming some occasional grocery/restaurant/gas spend) which is a second free night at the majority of properties.

  2. ovacikar

    I picked up the Surpass in December.

    I believe the free night certificate for $15000 spend is not a good value compared to a cash back card.

    In my case $15000 spent on BofA (average cash back of 3.2%) would yield $480 a year, with current Hilton point promo it can buy 96000 points and get another $12 cash back.

  3. Anthony Fantino

    Does the Amex 4 card restriction include both Personal and Business cards?

    1. Ben

      @ Anthony Fantino -- It does include personal and business cards, but it doesn't include hybrid cards (which used to be known as charge cards).

  4. Evan

    Surpass vs Aspire is a better comp, basically a tossup at this point... Higher fee for the free night, basically a wash for a non-Hilton traveler that isn't putting spend on either one after the bonus hits.

Featured Comments Load all 5 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Levi

$15k should also get you 60k HH points (assuming some occasional grocery/restaurant/gas spend) which is a second free night at the majority of properties.

Ben

@ Anthony Fantino -- It does include personal and business cards, but it doesn't include hybrid cards (which used to be known as charge cards).

ovacikar

I picked up the Surpass in December. I believe the free night certificate for $15000 spend is not a good value compared to a cash back card. In my case $15000 spent on BofA (average cash back of 3.2%) would yield $480 a year, with current Hilton point promo it can buy 96000 points and get another $12 cash back.

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