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American Express is once again offering its best offer for the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card. You can get 100,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. This sounds like a whole lot of points but if you’re familiar with the value of HHonors points, you may still question if it’s worth it to jump on this offer. Here are some things to consider.
The annual fee for the Hilton HHonorsTMSurpass® Card is $75 and is not waived the first year. This is a pretty reasonable annual fee and considering the value of the sign-up bonus, I think it’s worth it. If you ever didn’t want to pay the annual fee down the line you could always inquire about downgrading it to the no annual fee version later (although some people have had issues with getting the downgrade in the past).
100,000 Hilton HHonors sign-up bonus
Many people value Hilton HHonors points at around .5 cent per point. In my experience, this valuation is more or less accurate, which means that you would value the sign-up bonus at around $500. However, I know of others who have found better redemptions closer to 1 cent per point, so this bonus could definitely be more valuable than $500.
Below is a chart of the different hotel categories and their redemption rates. When I try to book rooms in major cities like San Francisco or Chicago, I usually am required to spend close to 50,000 points for a nice Hilton property. However, you can definitely make the points stretch further if you are flexible with your planning and find some sweet spots at different locations.
For more on redemptions, check out the following article from one of my favorite blogs, Travel is Free, to get a sense of the locations of different Hilton hotels around the world and their corresponding categories. (Click the box on the left of the map to toggle which categories you’d like to view.)
After checking out that map also check out another Travel is Free article that gives the low-down on the best use of Hilton HHonors bonus points. That article lists a number of different Hilton hotels in different categories all around the world. It shows you that you can get great great value out of the lower categories and easily be able to spend a couple of weeks in Hilton hotels with the amount of points earned from these cards.
Also, if you take advantage of the 5th night free benefit (given to Hilton HHonors Silver, Gold, and Diamond Members), you can get more value out of your points. (More on that below.)
The Hilton HHonorsTMSurpass® Card earns bonus points for purchases other than just purchases on Hilton properties. It earns the following rates:
- Earn 12 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
- Earn 6 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card:
- at U.S. restaurants
- at U.S supermarkets
- at U.S. gas stations
- Earn 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
These are great earning rates for Hilton HHonors points and compared to other Hilton cards offered by American Express and Citi, this is your best bet for earning Hilton HHonors points.
Hilton Gold Status
The Hilton HHonorsTMSurpass® Card offers you HHonors Gold Status. Gold status is a pretty decent benefit — you can read more about the benefits of Gold Status here but the benefits most related to this card are the following:
- 5th night free
- Complimentary breakfasts
- Potential for upgrades
The 5th night free benefit is a great way to maximize the value of your sign-up bonus. So long as you book 5 nights consecutively, you’re given that 5th night for free. Thus, you can often increase the value of your points by taking advantage of this benefit.
Also, once you have Gold Status, you can always look into status matches with different hotels and try to gain status with other hotel chains or you can inquire about status challenges to earn Hilton Diamond Status.
Priority PassTM Select
The Surpass offers you a Priority Pass membership that grants you access to over 700 airport lounges around the world. However, this is the membership that is valued at $99, which means that all lounge visits are subject to a fee of U.S. $27 per person per visit. If you really are attracted to lounge access, you should consider other cards like the Platinum Card from American Express or the Citi Prestige to take advantage of that benefit.
This offer is a good deal if you plan on having stays at Hilton properties in the near future, especially if you can stretch the value of your points by getting the 5th night free. Personally, I’d look into applying for an additional Hilton card, perhaps one from Citi, so that I could potentially come out with 150,000+ Hilton HHonors points and quickly accumulate a pretty decent stash of their points. However, even if you only go with the Surpass and come out with 100,000 Hilton HHonors points, I still think it’s a deal worth jumping on for a lot of travelers.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.