Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Benefits & Review 2021
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is the middle sibling of the Hilton Honors credit card lineup. It has a budget-friendly annual fee and offers exciting Hilton perks and even Priority Pass airport lounge access.
Here are the nitty-gritty details of this mid-tier hotel loyalty card.
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is an excellent option for travelers that stay at Hilton Honors properties at least once per year and don’t need the luxury benefits the more expensive Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card provides.
You may also consider this card if you anticipate making at least $15,000 in annual card purchases to receive a free Weekend Night Certificate.
While the best reason to have the Surpass Card is its Hilton hotel benefits, frequent flyers may enjoy the ten complimentary Priority Pass visits each year.
|Benefits at a Glance|
|Annual Fee: $95|
Current Bonus: Up to 180,000 Hilton Honors points. Earn 130,000 points after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first three months. Earn an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $10,000 in the first six months.
12x points on Hilton Honors purchases
6x points at U.S. restaurants
6x points at U.S. supermarkets
6x points at U.S. gas stations
3x points on all non-bonus purchases
Weekend Night Reward after $15,000 in annual card purchases
Hilton Honors Gold Status
10 Free Priority Pass Select visits per year
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits
APR: 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR
Great Credit Score Required (700+)
Featured Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Benefits
These hotel benefits are the most valuable perks of the Surpass Card.
Up to 180,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points
New cardmembers earn 130,000 bonus Hilton Honors points after $2,000 in card purchases during the first 3 months. This welcome offer can be worth up to 26 free nights. However, most guests can expect around 5 free award nights at mid-level properties.
New cardmembers can earn an additional 50,000 bonus Hilton Honors points after $10,000 in card purchases during the first 6 months.
You won’t qualify for this signup bonus if you have previously received a signup bonus for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card or the Hilton Honors Amex Ascend Card.
You can be eligible for this welcome offer if you have held one of the other co-brand Hilton Honors credit cards from American Express or the discontinued Citi offerings.
$95 Annual Fee
The annual fee is $95, which is reasonable for the benefits offered.
Weekend Night Reward
Making $15,000 in annual card purchases per calendar year lets you receive one Weekend Night Reward. This benefit is valid for a single Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening at most Hilton Honors properties.
The entry-level Hilton Honors Card doesn’t allow you to earn a free night certificate but doesn’t charge an annual fee.
This benefit can be worth having the Surpass Card as the average hotel night can be worth more than the $95 annual fee.
Hilton Honors Gold Status
You qualify for automatic Gold status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program. This is the second-highest membership tier and typically requires 20 nights, 10 stays, or 37,500 points in a calendar year.
Some of the best Gold benefits include:
- Daily food and beverage credit (U.S. hotels)
- Continental breakfast (international properties)
- Free bottled water
- Space-available room upgrades
- Earn 80% bonus points on stays
- 5th night free on 5+ night award stays
- 10,000-point Milestone Bonus every 10 nights
Making at least $40,000 in annual card purchases automatically upgrades you to Diamond status.
Earn Up to 12x Hilton Honors Points on Purchases
Each purchase earns up to 12x Hilton Honors points:
- 12x points at Hilton hotels and resorts
- 6x points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations (U.S. purchases only)
- 3x points on all remaining purchases
Like other hotel credit cards, several purchase categories make it easy to capture bonus points on purchases you’re likely to make weekly.
Other Hilton Honors Surpass Card Features
These other notable Surpass Card benefits add extra value as you travel or stay home.
Priority Pass Select Lounge Visits
Each year, you can get 10 free visit vouchers to Priority Pass Select airport lounges.
A similar membership plan can cost $299 per year if you purchase the Standard Plus plan directly from Priority Pass.
Several hotel rewards cards offer limited air travel benefits. This perk is a good compromise for travelers that want airport lounge benefits without paying the hefty fees for a premium travel credit card.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
There are zero transaction fees on international purchases.
Unfortunately, only Hilton purchases at overseas properties will earn bonus categories as the 6x bonus categories are for United States purchases only.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
Most domestic and international car rentals are eligible for secondary collision and theft protection. You will need to pay for the entire rental with your Surpass Card and also decline the rental agency’s collision damage waiver policy (CDW) to activate this perk.
Global Assist Hotline
American Express will provide complimentary medical, legal, financial, and emergency assistance when you travel at least 100 miles from home.
You will pay any service costs that third-party providers charge. A quick example is requesting roadside assistance and paying a tow bill.
Free ShopRunner Membership
Basic cardmembers will get a free ShopRunner membership. Benefits include free 2-day shipping and complimentary return shipping at participating online stores.
You can activate one-time online and in-store shopping offers at participating retailers for extra cash back. These purchases also earn Hilton Honors points.
Cardmembers can receive baggage insurance with the following coverage options:
- Carry-on baggage: Up to $1,250 per person
- Checked baggage: Up to $500 per person
New York State residents qualify for up to $10,000 total coverage per trip.
Qualifying purchases are eligible for purchase protection benefits of up to $1,000 per purchase and $50,000 per calendar year.
Covered reasons include accidental damage and theft within 90 days of the purchase date. Natural disaster claims have a maximum $500 coverage limit.
Items with an original manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less can receive a complimentary 1-year extension. Terms and conditions apply.
Pay It Plan It
The Pay It Plan It feature can be a reduced-fee alternative to the purchase APR on large purchases. You can make a customized payment plan on purchases of $100 or more.
Your plan fee is up to 1.33% of the purchase amount. You earn rewards points on these purchases, but the costs can outweigh the earnings.
Redeeming Hilton Honors Points
There are several ways to redeem Hilton points. However, free nights within the Hilton portfolio remain the most valuable option.
Hilton points are most valuable when booking award nights in the Hilton Honors portfolio. The average redemption value is approximately 0.8 cents per point.
Award nights can be as low as 5,000 points or as much as 150,000 points. Luxury properties and peak season travel dates are the most expensive.
Hilton Honors Experiences
On-property experiences at luxury resorts can start at 25,000 points. You can also get tickets to famous sports tournaments and festivals across the world.
Lyft Rides and Rental Cars
It’s also possible to redeem points for Lyft rides and rental cars. You can also earn Hilton points on Lyft purchases after linking your loyalty accounts.
You can convert your Hilton points to airline miles for over 30 loyalty programs. Unfortunately, the transfer ratio is 10:1 (1,000 Hilton points equal 100 miles).
You can also redeem your points for online purchases at Amazon.com and the Hilton Honors shopping mall.
Below is a brief look at the Hilton Honors Surpass card fees:
- Annual Fee: $95
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Purchase APR: 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR
- Plan It Fee: Up to 1.33% of the purchase amount
- Late Payment: Up to $40
Hilton Honors Surpass Card Compared to Similar Cards
These cards may be a better option for your travel preferences.
Hilton Honors Aspire Card:
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card can be the better option if you stay at high-end properties and want additional air travel benefits.
Some of the best reasons to consider this card include:
- One Weekend Night Certificate at account opening and each card anniversary
- $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
- Hilton Honors Diamond status
- $250 airline fee credit
- Unlimited Priority Pass Select lounge visits
If you can stomach the $450 annual fee, these perks can provide more value.
Not having to reach a spending minimum to earn your first free night is convenient too. You also have the opportunity to earn a second free night award after $60,000 in annual card purchases.
The annual fee is $450.
Hilton Honors Card:
The Hilton Honors American Express Card is the better option for guests that still want to enjoy some Hilton perks for an infrequent stay.
As the card has no annual fee, it can also be an excellent way to prevent your Hilton points from expiring.
Card benefits include:
- Hilton Honors Silver status
- Earn up to 7x points on purchases
- $0 annual fee
- No foreign transaction fee
This card doesn’t provide an opportunity to earn a Weekend Night Reward. However, if you intend on making at least $15,000 in annual card purchases on your Hilton card, the Surpass Card is worth applying for.
Chase Sapphire Preferred:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred fits the bill when you prefer earning credit card points that you can redeem for hotel or airline rewards with the same redemption value.
Some of the best travel benefits include:
- Earn 5x points on travel bookings on Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 2x points on all remaining travel purchases
- Receive 10% anniversary points on all points you earn for the year
- 25% redemption bonus when booking award travel
- 1:1 point transfers to select airlines and hotels
- Annual $50 hotel credit for bookings on Ultimate Rewards
While Hilton isn’t a 1:1 Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards for Hilton stays.
The Chase hotel transfer partners are IHG, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt.
Each point is worth 1.25 cents each for award travel bookings. Ironically, this redemption value can be higher than directly redeeming points through Hilton. As a reminder, the average redemption value is 0.8 cents for Hilton points on award nights.
Another reason this card is a top alternative is for its 100,000 Ultimate Rewards signup bonus worth up to $1,250 in travel rewards. You can receive the bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
World of Hyatt Credit Card:
If you’re not a diehard Hilton fan but want to earn the most valuable hotel points instead, the World of Hyatt Credit Card can be worth it.
Hyatt points can easily be worth up to 2 cents each. That’s double the value of Hilton points, in most instances.
In addition to the higher redemption value, you may also have to spend fewer points on Hyatt award nights.
Card benefits include:
- One free night award each card anniversary (Category 1-4)
- Receive a second free night award after $15,000 in annual purchases (Category 1-4)
- World of Hyatt Discoverist status
- Earn up to 4x Hyatt points on purchases
The annual fee is $95.
American Express Gold Card:
Consider the American Express Gold Card if you want to earn bonus points on lifestyle purchases and have the flexibility to redeem your points for various travel and cash rewards.
The Gold Card earns Membership Rewards on purchases that you can transfer at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments to Hilton Honors and other loyalty programs.
Highlighted travel and shopping benefits include:
- Earn 4x points on restaurants worldwide
- 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 per year then 1x)
- 3x points on flights you book directly from airlines or on amextravel.com
- $100 onsite credit at The Hotel Collection from American Express Travel
- Up to $120 in Uber Cash per year
- Up to $120 in annual dining credits
The annual fee is $250.
This fee might be higher than the Surpass Card, but if you can earn a significant number of points each month, the point redemption opportunities can be worth it.
The annual fee $95 for each card anniversary.
The foreign transaction fee is 0%.
The Hilton Honors benefits include automatic Gold loyalty status and earning a Weekend Night Certificate after $15,000 in annual card purchases.
Another notable feature is 10 free Priority Pass Select visits per year (a $32 per visit savings).
The Weekend Night Certificate is valid for one free night on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday check-in. Most Hilton Honors portfolio properties accept this certificate.
The Priority Pass Select benefit provides up to 10 free lounge visits to the 1,300+ worldwide locations each year. You pay the standard entry fee for any additional visits.
Purchases at Hilton hotels and resorts, including online reservations, earn 12x points.
Purchases within the United States at supermarkets, gas stations, and restaurants (includes takeout and qualifying delivery apps) earn 6x points.
Grocery purchases at superstores (i.e., Walmart and Target) and warehouse clubs (i.e., Costco and Sam’s Club) won’t earn bonus Hilton points.
Non-bonus purchases earn the base rate of 3x points.
The current welcome offer is 130,000 Hilton Honors points after $2,000 in purchases during the first 3 months. You can earn an additional 50,000 bonus points after spending a total of $10,000 in the first 6 months.
Hilton points are most valuable for award nights in the Hilton Honors portfolio. Redeeming points for on-site activities in the Hilton Honors Experiences section on the Hilton website.
Hilton Honors points expire after 15 months of inactivity. Point expirations are currently on paused until December 31, 2021.
Hilton points are usually worth 0.8 cents each for award nights.
The redemption value can be significantly lower for non-Hilton redemptions like online shopping and airline point transfers.
Applicants will need good or excellent credit to qualify for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card. A credit score of at least 700 can indicate high approval odds.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
If you want a Hilton Honors credit card, the Surpass Card can be a good option if you can spend $15,000 per year to get the Weekend Night Reward and you also want Gold loyalty status.
The 10 free Priority Pass Select visits can also be worth getting this card.
However, the other co-brand Hilton Honors cards are a better fit if you regularly book luxury travel. Or, you’re on the other side of the spectrum and sporadically visit Hilton properties. Even if you stay at Hilton properties several times per year, you might appreciate the flexibility of other travel credit cards with more valuable redemption options and travel features not connected to a specific loyalty program.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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