Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review: Quality perks for a reasonable fee - The Points Guy (2024)

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card overview

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card provides solid earnings at Hilton properties and automatic Hilton Gold elite status, which offers complimentary breakfast, increased earnings and space-available upgrades when you stay at Hilton properties. The status perk alone may make it easy to justify the card's $150 annual fee (see rates and fees). Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG's editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

The Hilton Surpass is an ideal choice for those who stay at Hilton properties often and want a cobranded credit card with a modest annual fee and valuable perks — but who aren't willing to shell out for the top-tier Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

The card has recently been refreshed to expand earning categories and provide statement credits for Hilton purchases and rental car elite status while also raising the annual fee. Applicants should have a credit score of 670 or higher to be eligible for this card.

You might wonder whether the Surpass card is a good addition to your wallet. Here are the details and other cards to consider as you decide.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Hilton Surpass pros and cons

ProsCons
  • Reasonable annual fee
  • Annual Hilton credit
  • Hilton Honors Gold status, with the opportunity to earn Diamond status
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Hilton Honor points are not valued highly (according to TPG valuations)
  • Dynamic award chart can require many points for a redemption

Hilton Surpass welcome offer

For a limited time, new applicants for the Hilton Surpass can earn a welcome offer of 130,000 bonus points plus a free night reward after they spend $3,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. The offer ends July 31.

Depending on how you utilize the free night award, this could be the best welcome offer we have ever seen.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review: Quality perks for a reasonable fee - The Points Guy (1)

Having another Hilton credit card doesn't make you ineligible for the welcome bonus, but remember that Amex has a "once per lifetime" rule on card bonuses. Amex also has these terms for the welcome offer:

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review: Quality perks for a reasonable fee - The Points Guy (2)

Daily Newsletter

Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter

Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts

You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card or the Hilton Honors Amex Ascend Card or previous versions of these Cards. You also may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer based on various factors, such as your history with credit card balance transfers, your history as an American Express Card Member, the number of credit cards that you have opened and closed and other factors.

Luckily, Amex will inform you before submitting your application if you're not eligible for the bonus. If you get this message, you can proceed without the welcome offer or withdraw your application before Amex performs a hard pull on your credit report.

Related: A complete guide to Amex's one-bonus-per-lifetime restrictions

Hilton Surpass benefits

The Hilton Surpass card's welcome offer is attractive, but the card's ongoing perks provide long-term value for semi-regular Hilton guests.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review: Quality perks for a reasonable fee - The Points Guy (3)

The following are some of the perks the Hilton Surpass has to offer:

  • Hilton Honors Gold status: Complimentary Gold status, including the following perks: an 80% points bonus on paid stays, space-available room upgrades, elite rollover nights, a fifth night free when you book a stay with points and daily breakfast or food and beverage credit. Spending $40,000 on the card in a calendar year will earn you top-tier Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year. Enrollment required for select benefits. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Up to $200 in Hilton statement credits: Earn up to $200 back annually on eligible Hilton purchases (up to $50 in statement credits each quarter).
  • Rental car elite status: Receive complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status after enrollment in the Emerald Club program (terms apply).

The Hilton Surpass offers various other benefits. For example, you will pay no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) when traveling outside the U.S.

You'll also enjoy free two-day shipping with Shop Runner, to divide bills with friends — such as a group dinner — Pay It Plan It to pay large purchases over time and secondary rental car insurance of up to $50,000 for theft or damage.* Enrollment required for select benefits.

* Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered, and geographic restrictions apply. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

Related: 6 reasons to get the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass card

Earning points with the Hilton Surpass

The Hilton Surpass card is a great way to earn Hilton points. You'll earn 12 points per dollar at Hilton Hotels and Resorts — a 7.2% return on spending, based on TPG's valuations. This is better than you'd get with most of the best credit cards for booking hotels, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (6%).

You'll earn 6 Hilton points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery), U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, giving you a return of 3.6% on these purchases.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review: Quality perks for a reasonable fee - The Points Guy (4)

The Hilton Surpass also earns 4 points per dollar on U.S. online retail purchases, which can be maximized when clicking through shopping portals.

Finally, you'll get 3 points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases — a return of 1.8%.

These returns on non-Hilton spending aren't spectacular. But, if you want to boost your Hilton points balance, the Surpass card provides a decent return even for purchases outside the Hilton Honors program.

Related: Booking direct: How much value does Hilton status provide?

Redeeming points with the Hilton Surpass

Regarding the Hilton Honors program, your best bet is to redeem your Hilton points for free nights. Unfortunately, Hilton doesn't publish an award chart; instead, it uses dynamic pricing, where the number of points needed for a redemption fluctuates based on factors such as the cash cost of the hotel, holidays and peak travel periods.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review: Quality perks for a reasonable fee - The Points Guy (5)

One of my favorite options is to focus on properties that cost relatively few points but provide great value. For example, here are 20 of the best Hilton hotels in the U.S. bookable for 20,000 points or less per night. And here are some of the top Hilton properties overseas bookable for 10,000 points or less per night.

allows you to pay more cash (and fewer points) when making a reservation. This can be useful when you don't have enough points for a full booking but don't want to pay the full cost of the hotel room.

Finally, remember that Hilton allows you to pool your points with up to 10 other members. If you want to combine balances with a friend or family member to put an even more luxurious award stay within reach, you can.

Related: 5 ways Hilton Honors should improve its loyalty program

Which cards compete with the Hilton Surpass?

For those looking to earn and redeem points with Hilton, natural competitors of the Surpass card will be other Hilton credit cards. It's also worth considering cards whose points you can use at Hilton in addition to other redemption options.

  • If you don't want an annual fee: The Hilton Honors American Express Card also earns points you can redeem with Hilton for complimentary hotel stays. As a card with no annual fee (see rates and fees), you'll naturally earn at lower rates and receive fewer perks. With the Amex Hilton Honors card, you'll earn 7 points per dollar at Hilton hotels and resorts, 5 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery), 5 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3 points per dollar on other eligible purchases. For more details, see our full review of the Amex Hilton Honors card.
  • If you want more perks: The Amex Hilton Aspire card is Hilton's premium card, offering top-tier Diamond status as an automatic benefit. The card's annual fee is $550 (see rates and fees). You'll receive a free night reward on each account anniversary, and you can earn another two by spending $30,000 and $60,000 on purchases with your card during a calendar year. Additionally, you can receive statement credits each year for up to $200 in airline fees per year, up to $400 in Hilton resort credits and up to $100 in Hilton on-property credits. For more details, see our full review of the Amex Hilton Aspire card.
  • If you aren't partial to Hilton: The Amex EveryDay Preferred card earns 3 points per dollar on up to $6,000 of annual purchases at U.S. supermarkets (then 1 point per dollar), 2 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. You'll also earn a 50% points bonus each billing period if you have 30 or more transactions during that period. The Amex EveryDay Preferred card doesn't earn Hilton points. Instead, it earns American Express Membership Rewards points, which you can transfer to Hilton for hotel redemptions but can also use with 20 other airline and hotel partners. For more details, see our full review of the Amex EveryDay Preferred card.

For additional options, check out our full list of the best travel cards.

Read more: Which credit card should you use for Hilton stays?

The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred and Hilton Aspire cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

While the Surpass doesn't offer the flexibility of a card like the Amex EveryDay Preferred card or the elite perks of the Amex Hilton Aspire card, it could still be just what you need to make your next stay with the Hilton Honors program even more rewarding. You'll get the benefits of Gold status and up to $200 statement credits toward Hilton purchases.

Apply here: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex EveryDay Preferred card, click here.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review: Quality perks for a reasonable fee - The Points Guy (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanael Baumbach

Last Updated:

Views: 5760

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanael Baumbach

Birthday: 1998-12-02

Address: Apt. 829 751 Glover View, West Orlando, IN 22436

Phone: +901025288581

Job: Internal IT Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Motor sports, Flying, Skiing, Hooping, Lego building, Ice skating

Introduction: My name is Nathanael Baumbach, I am a fantastic, nice, victorious, brave, healthy, cute, glorious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.