Link: Apply now for the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hotel credit cards are among the most underrated credit cards out there, in my opinion, given the perks that they potentially offer, ranging from free night certificates to elite status. While I’m primarily loyal to Hyatt and Marriott, Hilton has grown on me a lot, thanks to the number of new luxury hotels the group has opened, and also how easy it is to earn points with Hilton’s credit cards.
In this post:
Hilton Honors Surpass Card Basics For March 2024
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is one of Hilton’s most popular consumer credit cards. The card has just undergone a full refresh, so in this post I wanted to go over all the details.
The card has a great bonus for new customers, offers valuable status for as long as you have the card, and comes with some bonuses on spending that might make the card worth using for your everyday purchases. Furthermore, if you stay at Hilton properties with any frequency, the annual fee should more than pay for itself.
Is the Hilton Surpass Card right for you? Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about this card.
Hilton Surpass 130K Points Welcome Offer
The Hilton Surpass Card has a welcome offer of 130,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3,000 within the first six months.
Eligibility For Bonus & Amex Application Restrictions
In line with Amex’s “once in a lifetime” rule, the welcome offer on the Hilton Surpass Card isn’t available to those who currently have the card, as well as those who have had the card in the past. You are eligible for the bonus if you have had any other Hilton card, though, including the no annual fee card, the business card, or the premium card.
I find that Amex cards are fairly easy to be approved for, assuming you have excellent credit. Just make sure you know that:
- You can be approved for at most two Amex credit cards in a 90 day period
- You can have at most five American Express credit cards at any point
Hilton Surpass $150 Annual Fee
The Hilton Honors Surpass Card has a $150 annual fee, and you can add authorized users to the card at no extra cost. (Rates & Fees)
Earning Points With The Hilton Surpass Card
The Hilton Honors Surpass Card offers some bonuses that could make the card worth using for your everyday spending. The card offers 3-12x points per dollar spent, depending on what categories you’re spending money in.
In addition to the actual points you earn with the Hilton Surpass Card, you can also earn Hilton Honors Diamond status and/or a free night reward with spending.
12x Honors Points At Hilton Hotels
The Hilton Surpass Card offers 12x Hilton Honors points for spending at Hilton properties globally. This includes all Hilton brands, from Hampton Inn to Waldorf Astoria.
I value Hilton points at 0.5 cents each, so to me that’s like a 6% return on hotel spending, which is excellent.
6x Honors Points In Select Categories
That’s the equivalent of a 3% return on spending in those categories, which is one of the best returns you’ll find in these categories on a co-branded credit card. Earning bonus points in three categories this broad is awesome.
4x Honors Points On U.S. Online Retail Purchases
The Hilton Surpass Card offers 4x points per eligible dollar spent on U.S. online retail purchases. For those wondering, this is defined as purchases on a website or a digital app from a U.S. retail merchant that sells physical goods or merchandise directly to consumers. That’s the equivalent of a 2% return on spending for online purchases.
3x Honors Points On Other Purchases
The Hilton Surpass Card offers 3x points on all other eligible purchases, which I value at a return of 1.5%. On the surface there are better cards for everyday spending, but as I’ll explain below, there are some tricks to do even better.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Hilton Surpass Card Benefits
The Hilton Honors Surpass Card is a well-rounded credit card, though the area where it really shines is with its benefits. This card can be worth having even if you don’t want to spend that much on the card. Why is this card so worthwhile?
Hilton Honors Gold Status
Just for having the Hilton Surpass Card you get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status. This is one of the lowest annual fee cards that offers Gold status with Hilton without any sort of spending requirement.
For someone who occasionally stays at Hiltons, Gold status is excellent, as it offers the following benefits:
- Free breakfast and/or executive lounge access (in the United States you receive a food & beverage credit)
- Late check-out, subject to availability
- Preferred rooms
- 80% points bonus
- Fifth night free on award stays
Hilton Honors Diamond Status With Spending
You can earn Hilton’s top tier Diamond status for spending on this card. If you spend $40,000 on the Hilton Surpass Card in a calendar year you’ll earn top tier Hilton Honors Diamond status, which comes with the following perks:
- Guaranteed executive lounge access for properties with lounges
- Free breakfast at properties without lounges (or a food & beverage credit in the United States)
- Room upgrades, including up to suites, at the hotel’s discretion
- Late check-out, subject to availability
- 100% points bonus
Free Night Reward With Spending
With the Hilton Surpass Card you can earn a free night reward after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. This is an ongoing benefit, and could make it well worthwhile to put spending on the card.
For example, this could be redeemed at properties costing up to 150,000 points per night. If you put $15,000 of spending on the card in non-bonused categories you’d earn 45,000 Honors points plus a free night, which is an excellent deal if you redeem it for a top property.
Up To $200 In Hilton Credits Annually
The Hilton Surpass Card offers up to $200 in statement credits annually for Hilton purchases. The way this works, you get up to $50 in statement credits each quarter for purchases made directly with a Hilton property when paying with your card. So as long as you spend at least $50 per quarter with Hilton (even if it’s on incidentals), this perk could earn you $200 per year, more than covering your annual fee. That’s awesome.
National Emerald Club Executive Status
The Hilton Surpass Card offers National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status for as long as you have the card, as long as you enroll. National is my favorite major rental car company, and this status gets you Executive Area Access in the United States and Canada, letting you pick your car from the lot. You can register for this through your online account using the card.
Purchase And Extended Warranty Protection
The Hilton Surpass Card offers some potentially valuable purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. While you’ll want to check your cardmember agreement for all the details, you can potentially expect:
- Purchase protection, offering protection on eligible purchases that are accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost; valid for up to 90 days, and $1,000 per occurrence, and $50,000 per calendar year
- Extended warranty, where you can get up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty, for warranties of five years or less
One of my favorite features of Amex cards is access to Amex Offers, which offers savings on purchases with all kinds of retailers. There’s huge value to be had in getting as many Amex cards as possible, so that you can get these offers on multiple cards.
Amex Offers could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can access these offers by logging into your account and scrolling down to the bottom of your account summary page.
Is The Hilton Surpass Card Worth It?
Hilton is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, and the Hilton Honors Surpass Card is a great option for anyone who is looking to get started with Hilton Honors. At a minimum, the card is worth having for Gold status, which could pay for itself after just one or two stays thanks to free breakfast and more. The card could also be worth putting spending on, in order to earn a free night reward and Diamond status.
Two other things stand out about the card:
- If you stay at Hiltons at least once every quarter, then picking up this card is a no-brainer, given that you’ll get up to $200 in statement credits annually
- There’s value to spending $15,000 on the card per year in order to earn the annual free night certificate
Let’s take a quick look at a few other aspects of the card that are worth considering.
Card Showdown: $150 Annual Fee Vs. No Annual Fee
The no annual fee card doesn’t offer complimentary Gold status, and doesn’t give you the opportunity to earn Diamond status or a free night reward with spending. Personally, I think the Surpass Card is well worth the annual fee. You can always try out the Surpass Card and then downgrade it after a year.
How Does The Hilton Aspire Card Compare?
I should also mention that Hilton has the excellent $550 annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review). I think the Hilton Aspire could be well worth it, though many people will be put off by the annual fee. However, the card does offer:
- Diamond status for as long as you have the card
- Up to $400 in Hilton resort credits annually; get up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually
- Up to $200 in flight credits annually; get up to $50 in statement credits quarterly
- A free night award on your account anniversary annually, and additional free night awards for passing $30,000 and $60,000 in annual spending
- Up To $189 in CLEAR Plus credits annually
- National Emerald Club Executive status for as long as you have the card
The information and associated card details on this page for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by OMAAT and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Hilton Honors Surpass Card is an excellent mid-range card that offers a stellar bonus for new members. On top of that, the Hilton Surpass offers valuable ongoing perks. The card can be worth having for the Gold status alone, and the annual fee is easy to justify thanks to the up to $200 in statement credits annually for Hilton stays. On top of that, it could be worth putting $15,000 or $40,000 of spending on the card per year for the threshold bonuses.
Even if you don’t stay at Hiltons that often, the value of free breakfast and upgrades will add up quickly.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees), and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees).