Hilton Surpass Card Changes: Higher Fee, Different Benefits

Hilton Surpass Card Changes: Higher Fee, Different Benefits

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The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) is the mid-range personal card in the Hilton and American Express credit card portfolio. Changes have been made to this card, whereby we’ve seen the annual fee on the card increase, though fortunately the card is also getting some new perks.

Some people will come out ahead with these changes, while others won’t. Let’s go over all the details (there are also changes coming to the Hilton Aspire Card, which I’ll cover in a separate post).

Hilton Surpass Card annual fee increase to $150

The annual fee on the Hilton Surpass Card has been increased to $150 per year (Rates & Fees), which is a $55 increase over the previous $95 annual fee. This is a pretty significant increase, given that many mid-range cards have annual fees of just under $100.

What’s not changing about the Hilton Surpass Card

What’s not changing about the Hilton Surpass Card? As before:

There’s only one benefit being taken away from the card. As of February 1, 2024, the card no longer offers 10 free Priority Passes per year. That’s a shame, because this was an awesome low annual fee card that offered at least some level of lounge access.

The Surpass Card will no longer offer a Priority Pass perk

Hilton Surpass Card adds $200 Hilton credit

Here’s an awesome new perk. The Hilton Surpass Card now offers up to $200 in statement credits annually toward spending at any property in the Hilton portfolio. This is awarded quarterly, so you get up to $50 in statement credits each quarter for Hilton purchases with the card.

Simply spend at least $50 at any property in the Hilton portfolio, and you’ll receive a $50 statement credit. Note that this includes all Hilton properties, and not just resorts (unlike on the Hilton Aspire Card). So if you stay at a Hilton at least once a quarter and spend $50 each time, that more than covers the annual fee right there.

The Surpass Card offers up to $200 in Hilton statement credits

Hilton Surpass Card adds new bonus categories

The Hilton Aspire Card now has the following rewards structure:

  • Earn 12x Hilton Honors points on Hilton purchases
  • Earn 6x Hilton Honors points on U.S. restaurant, supermarket, and gas station purchases
  • Earn 4x Hilton Honors points on U.S. online retail purchases
  • Earn 3x Hilton Honors points on all other eligible purchases

What has changed here is that the card now offers 4x points on U.S. online retail purchases, which is a cool new bonus category.

The Surpass Card offers up to 6x points at U.S. restaurants

Hilton Surpass Card National Emerald Club Executive status

The Hilton Surpass Card now offers complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status, including perks like Executive Area Access (for full-size reservations and above), in the United States and Canada. Card members must enroll through their online account using their card.

The Surpass Card offers National Emerald Club status

My take on these Hilton Surpass Card changes

The changes to the Hilton Surpass Card are a mixed bag, though I think many people will come out ahead with these changes:

  • Of course no one likes the $55 increase in the annual fee
  • At the same time, if you stay at a Hilton property at least once per quarter, it’s awesome to be able to maximize the $200 annual statement credit with Hilton, which more than covers the annual fee; this is a massive new perk
  • I’m bummed about the 10 annual Priority Pass visits being lost; this was great for those who didn’t otherwise have a Priority Pass membership, but meanwhile many of us have a full membership through multiple cards
  • The additional bonus category of 4x points on U.S. online retail purchases is cool in theory, though I value Hilton Honors points at 0.5 cents each, so that’s like a 2% return on that spending, which is hardly anything to get excited about

Bottom line

The Hilton Surpass Card has undergone a refresh. The card’s annual fee has been increased by $55, to $150.

The good news is that the card now offers up to $200 in statement credits for Hilton stays per year (up to $50 per quarter), and also offers up to 4x points on U.S. online retail purchases. The bad news is that the card’s Priority Pass perk has been eliminated.

For someone who stays at Hiltons frequently and who didn’t value the 10 Priority Pass visits per year, I’d say these changes are a net positive. Meanwhile for those who only stay at Hiltons every once in a while, and/or those who value the Priority Pass perk, these changes are negative.

What do you make of these Hilton Surpass Card changes?

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

Conversations (28)
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  1. Dave Guest

    Increase the annual fee and give cardholders less benefit by discontinuing Priority Pass access! Smart move, AMEX! Classic shrinkflation in the credit card world. Will be canceling. Customer care was no help when I tried to address this issue - offered 6000 points to retain my business. No thanks.

  2. Lucie Guest

    I just got it before they suppressed the PP perk. I have it until Oct 31 2024! Plus the bonus will be 130K, and I get the new 4* for retail. I consider myself lucky but I don't go to hotels that much in a year so we'll see. At least I'll try to go to Hilton 3 times to make up for the $150 card fee.

  3. Brion Bailey Guest

    I just talked to Amex Customer Care, this is not a Hilton issue and Hilton refers you to Amex.

    There are two cut off dates, one for old time credit card holders and another for newbies who just joined. i.e. the dates of expiry for your membership are either Feb 1, 2024 or Oct 31, 2024.

    I am an old time credit card holder but essentially over the past 15 plus years have only...

    I just talked to Amex Customer Care, this is not a Hilton issue and Hilton refers you to Amex.

    There are two cut off dates, one for old time credit card holders and another for newbies who just joined. i.e. the dates of expiry for your membership are either Feb 1, 2024 or Oct 31, 2024.

    I am an old time credit card holder but essentially over the past 15 plus years have only used the benefit once or twice.

    I suggested to Amex customer service that due to the complaints they have received from many account holders (the gal acknowledged this naturally and the complaints were to be expected, IMHO...) that they made a mistake here and in the interests of good customer service simply extend the cut off date until Oct 31, 2024 for everyone. SIMPLE AND EASY! DONE!!

    Simply put, those who have supported both Amex and Hilton (really a winning team generally from a customer perspective) feel cheated and the benefits are going to the newbies. YUP, Amex can explain away but this is what has happened.

    Alternatively, I have tried both Hilton and Amex to simply renew within the newbie period, ending in something like Jan 31, 2024 so that I would have my benefits extended until Oct 31, 2024 for Priority Pass. Easy, peasy ... simply send me a link to Priority Pass so that I can renew my membership at an earlier date. DONE.

    Will anyone listen at Amex? No, this is not customer service but a very large corporation that works for its shareholders, however, short term actions do matter.

    VERY DISAPPOINTED.

    In all fairness, this maybe a Hilton issue rather than an Amex issue since Hilton would have a contract with Amex and in hindsight, naturally would prefer to provide an in lieu of credit to members who use their properties and hence help the property owners, who are likely doing quite well. Thank you.

    A VERY DISSATISFIED LONG TIME CUSTOMER!!

  4. Joe Guest

    Does anyone know if the initial complimentary Priority Pass automatically renews? My complimentI don't want to be charged for renewal if the program will be ending in Jan 2024.

  5. JerseyDiamond Guest

    I need to find out if I can use that $50 by charging food or something directly to my card - not my room during stays. I pay the hotel bill with my Aspire card - more points

  6. RayFlyer Guest

    Can the $50/qtr credit be used at a Hilton hotel restaurant or must if be for a stay?

    1. ARN_SEA New Member

      So I did get credit back when paying with my Surpass at the Hilton Vancouver Downtown bar. I had already checked out of my room (paid for on points), and I did also recieve a credit for the room service we ordered... Took about 7 days for both credits to appear on my AmEx account.

  7. Angela Webster-Gardiner Guest

    priority pass key benefit, difficult to travel these days without lounge access
    will not renew card

  8. David Guest

    They would not have made these changes if they didn't think they would come out ahead. It's kind of like great odds at a casino....those odds still favor the casino or they wouldn't be in business. My guess is that most people do not stay at a Hilton property once every three months, so this is going to be a net increase in fees. Also, I LOVED the Priority Pass membership and often used it...

    They would not have made these changes if they didn't think they would come out ahead. It's kind of like great odds at a casino....those odds still favor the casino or they wouldn't be in business. My guess is that most people do not stay at a Hilton property once every three months, so this is going to be a net increase in fees. Also, I LOVED the Priority Pass membership and often used it in places like Las Vegas where there is no AA Admirals Club lounge. Losing that is a huge bummer. I will now have to find another card that offers Priority Pass membership. I guess the added points for online purchases is a good thing but doesn't make up for the increased annual fee and loss of Priority Pass membership.

  9. Rich Guest

    Will be the next card on my cancel list - the changes and increase in annual fee don't seem to justify keeping it. I wish they would survey users to find out what features are of interest before making changes.

  10. Dswtck Guest

    With all the cuts and downgrades with Delta/Amex and no longer having lounge access at sky clubs I was about to drop from Delta Amex plat to gold and add this card but as others have said the loss of PP visits and the $200 statement going to 50 a quarter…,ugh. Nope. Back to the drawing board.

  11. Jim in Philly Guest

    Since I have full Priority Pass membership via another credit card, I never used the one included with the Hilton card, so the loss of that benefit is meaningless to me.
    However the $50 per quarter hotel expense credit is a big plus. I can use that to supplement my existing F&B credit.

    1. Levi Diamond

      The 10 visits was useful on this card if you occasionally traveled with guests who didn't have PP, because you could use 2 visits and not have to pay for a guest.

      The quarterly credit pencils out for me. If you're not regularly staying at Hiltons, why have this card.

  12. Wanna Travel Guest

    Loss of 10 free PP visits is a dealbreaker for me. I can only sfford to fly Y and the lounge access was the only reason I was keeping this card so I will either cancel or downgrade in July 2024. Since I renewed in july 2023, I still have the visits available until I cancel the card next July, right? That would cover my existing travel plans.

    1. Brion Bailey Guest

      Wrong.
      See my post waiting to be published.

  13. TOM Guest

    Even with the higher annual fee, I see it as a positive since I was spending $95 a year for basically the free night and status. I will stay at a Hilton property for at least 2 of the quarters each year, so now I'm paying $50 (after credits) for the free night, status, and don't forget that extra point per dollar for online purchases. As others have mentioned, the PP club access was worthless.

    1. Mishas Guest

      But it only offered a free night for spending $15,000, which is a lot on a hotel credit card.

  14. Alex77W Guest

    Three of my colleagues were having this card primarily for the Priority Pass and also Hilton points. At least one will be dropping the card for sure. At the same time I just received an email with Groupon offer of PriorityPass Plus membership + 10 free visits for $7 minus 10% discount.

  15. ARN_SEA New Member

    Change the headline. Hilton didn't add a $200 credit (which would be great), but 4 $50 credits. I could use a $200 credit for a free stay. While the 4 x $50 feels more like a coupon.
    I actually did use all 10 PP visits. I even went over a few visits (without realizing) and ended up paying for those visits. Would love to see a post about how the PP desk host never...

    Change the headline. Hilton didn't add a $200 credit (which would be great), but 4 $50 credits. I could use a $200 credit for a free stay. While the 4 x $50 feels more like a coupon.
    I actually did use all 10 PP visits. I even went over a few visits (without realizing) and ended up paying for those visits. Would love to see a post about how the PP desk host never mentions that you are paying for the stay!!

    Anyway, I'm planning to drop the card now. I'm losing the $300 value of the 10 PP visits.

    I did get the free night with the 15k spend last year. But will take that $150 and use with a new travel card which includes a free night.

    1. Michael Member

      I don't think the lounge attendant knows whether you are playing for your visit. They log your visit with the appropriate number of guests, and let you in. Priority Pass then takes that information and charges your account as appropriate.

    2. ARN_SEA New Member

      OK. Good to know! I was wondering if they did or not. I realize, after the fact, the PP app did show how many visits I had left. I just didn't check it, and also assumed the staff would say it was a 'paid' visit.

  16. Brent Guest

    If I recall, the previous card had no hotel credits. Someone who stays once per year would have an EAF increase of $5. You hit that credit twice, you come out ahead. And I imagine the subsection of people using this for priority pass was pretty low, all things considered. For people that actually use Hilton 3-4 times a year at least, this is of interest. I don't have the card, but I might consider...

    If I recall, the previous card had no hotel credits. Someone who stays once per year would have an EAF increase of $5. You hit that credit twice, you come out ahead. And I imagine the subsection of people using this for priority pass was pretty low, all things considered. For people that actually use Hilton 3-4 times a year at least, this is of interest. I don't have the card, but I might consider it now (depending on how my foray with IHG goes over the next year). It is clear they are designing the card for users, not holders.

  17. AL Guest

    I never used the PP benefit so that isn't a loss, but I'm not a fan of the higher annual fee offset by quarterly credits at Hilton. It's useful to some I'm sure and it's not a terrible idea, but I just don't see myself getting enough value from that so I'll be downgrading my card to the free version when the fee hits rather than keeping the surpass and spending $15K for the free night.

  18. Euro Gold

    When exactly will all these changes take place? Have some stays coming up with Hilton in Q1 and possibly Q2 of next year and it would be great to be able to use these new benefits. Even with the annual fee increase I should come out ahead at least next year. But I'll see if I want to downgrade or cancel for 2025.

    I should be less upset than I am with the Priority Pass...

    When exactly will all these changes take place? Have some stays coming up with Hilton in Q1 and possibly Q2 of next year and it would be great to be able to use these new benefits. Even with the annual fee increase I should come out ahead at least next year. But I'll see if I want to downgrade or cancel for 2025.

    I should be less upset than I am with the Priority Pass changes. How exactly will that work? My PP membership card expires in Apr 2026. Will it still work, except I just get charged a fee for every lounge visit now instead of lounge visit #11 and up?

  19. AmexNLL Guest

    In the bonus categories I think you have a typo and refer to Aspire not Surpass.

  20. Bitter Proffit Guest

    I am not happy about the increase in annual fee. The $50 quarterly credit helps some, but I will have to review my stays and times to see if it works for me. I rarely used the priority pass benefit. The online retail bonus doesn't do much for me. I currently get a lot of value from the card, but I guess its time to re-evaluate that. Thanks for the summary.

  21. pstm91 Diamond

    The credit being allocated quarterly is a deal breaker for me. I'm staying at Hilton properties one or two times per year at most, so that just doesn't cut it. I space out my small weekend trips around the various credit card perks I have (free nights from Marriott, IHG, etc), and hit a Hilton here and there. I'm sure I'm not alone, and the fee increasing to $155 isn't worth the gold status.

    1. esokol Member

      One strategy to get more value out of the credit, even if you only stay one or two times a year is to utilize a prepaid rate in a previous quarter. You get the $50 credit on the amount you prepaid and then get an additional $50 credit for charges to the room when you stay. Staying 2x/year you can actually access the full $200.

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Jim in Philly Guest

Since I have full Priority Pass membership via another credit card, I never used the one included with the Hilton card, so the loss of that benefit is meaningless to me. However the $50 per quarter hotel expense credit is a big plus. I can use that to supplement my existing F&B credit.

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Euro Gold

When exactly will all these changes take place? Have some stays coming up with Hilton in Q1 and possibly Q2 of next year and it would be great to be able to use these new benefits. Even with the annual fee increase I should come out ahead at least next year. But I'll see if I want to downgrade or cancel for 2025. I should be less upset than I am with the Priority Pass changes. How exactly will that work? My PP membership card expires in Apr 2026. Will it still work, except I just get charged a fee for every lounge visit now instead of lounge visit #11 and up?

1
esokol Member

One strategy to get more value out of the credit, even if you only stay one or two times a year is to utilize a prepaid rate in a previous quarter. You get the $50 credit on the amount you prepaid and then get an additional $50 credit for charges to the room when you stay. Staying 2x/year you can actually access the full $200.

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