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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card Review 2024

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updated: July 2, 2024

American Express recently updated some of its Hilton co-branded credit cards, including the card_name. Some of the changes—among them, Hilton credits and a new bonus spending category—add more value for cardholders. The recent update also included a significant increase to the card's annual fee and the loss of one of its best perks—airport lounge access.

card_name

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Welcome offer
bonus_miles_full
Rates & Fees

Pros:

  • Large sign-up bonus
  • $200 in Hilton annual statement credits
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status

Cons:

  • $150 annual fee
  • No automatic free award night
  • No airport lounge benefit

TIME's Take

Recent updates to the card_name, including an annual fee increase from $95 to $150, have put the card in an awkward middle ground. American Express and Hilton offer a luxury card and a no-fee card option for loyal Hilton travelers. With the increased fee and loss of benefits such as airport lounge access and Free Night Reward, it's hard to know if the card_name offers enough value to warrant getting it as opposed to one of the other two cards. In particular, while there is still a considerable gap between the annual fee of the card_name and that of the luxury option, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card, the Aspire also comes with better benefits and perks.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Large sign-up bonus
  • $200 in Hilton annual statement credits
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status

Cons:

  • $150 annual fee
  • No automatic free award night
  • No airport lounge benefit

Who is the card for?

The Hilton Honors card_name is for travelers who frequently stay at Hilton hotels and resorts, and want access to additional brand and travel benefits. It's also a good option for Hilton fans who aren't ready to commit to the premium Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and its $550 annual fee but still want to enjoy some Hilton benefits not found with the no-fee card_name.

Rewards structure

Earning Hilton points

The card_name card comes with a generous sign-up bonus, which American Express recently increased and which expires on July 31, 2024:

bonus_miles_full

The card_name also earns points on card purchases at the following rates:

  • 12 points per dollar on eligible purchases at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
  • 6 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 6 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations.
  • 4 points per dollar on U.S. online retail purchases.
  • 3 points per dollar on other eligible purchases.

With several bonus categories available for earning points, including the recent addition of U.S. online retail purchases, the card_name offers many ways to quickly boost your points balance depending on your spending habits. Like most hotel cards, the card_name reserves its highest bonus rate for purchases with the brand.

Redeeming Hilton points

Award nights at Hilton properties generally start at 5,000 points per night and can run upwards of 95,000 points for a standard room at most properties. An award night at some of Hilton's more exclusive properties goes for 120,000 points per night. Hilton uses dynamic pricing for its rooms, so the number of points needed to book an award night depends on the property and the timing of your stay. You can also book stays at Hilton properties using a combination of points and money.

Booking award stays is the best way to get the most value from your Hilton points. Hilton Honors offers other redemption options, which generally provide less value. Here are other ways you can redeem Hilton points:

  • Transfer your points to more than 20 airline partners.
  • Shop with points at Amazon.com.
  • Shop for merchandise through Hilton Honors' online mall.
  • Use points to pay for Lyft rides.
  • Redeem points for car rentals with Alamo, National, and Enterprise.
  • Redeem points for VIP experiences such as concerts, sporting events, and dining.
  • Pool points with another Hilton Honors member.
  • Give points to another individual.
  • Share your points with family or friends.

Point values vary among redemptions. Always check the value before redeeming Hilton Honors points.

Features

While the card_name doesn't offer the luxury benefits found with the Aspire card, it still comes with valuable features and perks that can offset the annual fee if used. They include:

Hilton Honors Gold status

The card_name card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, which offers benefits that include a discounted rate, no resort fees on award stays, an 80% points bonus on stays, a daily food and beverage credit or continental breakfast, and a fifth night free on award stays. You can also earn Hilton Honors Diamond status by spending $40,000 on eligible purchases using your card in a calendar year.

$200 Hilton credit

One of the new perks of the card_nameis the addition of $200 in Hilton statement credits. You can get up to $50 in statement credits per quarter for purchases at Hilton properties when using your card.

Free night reward

Previously, the card offered a Free Night Reward as one of its benefits, no strings attached, but that perk is gone. Now you have to earn your Free Night Reward by spending $15,000 on your card in a calendar year.

National Car Rental status

Another new perk included with the card_name is complimentary Emerald Club Executive status with National Car Rental (enrollment required). Executive status comes with perks such as Executive Area access and guaranteed upgrades on select rental reservations.

No foreign transaction fees

The card does not charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S. This makes it good for traveling internationally.

Travel protections

The card_name comes with a few travel benefits to protect you when traveling. Cardholders receive secondary car rental loss and damage insurance when they use their card to book a rental vehicle and decline the rental company's optional collision insurance. Other travel protections include baggage insurance and 24/7 emergency assistance through the Global Assist Hotline.

Shopping protections

Cardholders also receive consumer protections on eligible card purchases. Purchase protection provides coverage for new card purchases against theft or damage for up to 90 days from the purchase date. Extended warranty protection gives an additional year of warranty coverage on eligible card purchases with an original manufacturer's warranty of five years or less.

The fine print

Interest Rates

  • Regular annual percentage rate (APR): 20.99% to 29.99% (variable)
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A

Fees

  • Annual fee: $150
  • Balance transfer fee: N/A
  • Cash advance: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater

What could be improved?

With the increased annual fee, you might expect the card_name card to come with additional elite brand benefits instead of removing those perks. At $150, the annual fee is hard to justify unless you plan to spend considerable money on your card to earn rewards or a free night reward.

Card alternatives

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Good, Excellent
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
$550
Welcome offer points
bonus_miles
180,000 points
bonus_miles

For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

Bottom line

The card_name is a mid-range co-branded card sandwiched between two Hilton cards with clear target audiences. One offers an introduction to Hilton Honors perks without the cost of an annual fee, while the other provides elite Hilton and travel benefits with an elite-sized price tag. Note, though, that as with the card_name, holders of that elite Hilton Honors Aspire card are also losing their airline lounge privileges.

Because of its unique positioning, the card_name card is only right for Hilton loyalists who fall between those two groups. Some of the card's better benefits have high spending requirements to unlock them. If you are going to be spending that kind of money,, it might make more sense to opt for the Hilton Honors Aspire card, despite the $550 fee, especially if you primarily stay at Hilton properties when you travel.

card_name

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Welcome offer
bonus_miles_full
Rates & Fees

Pros:

  • Large sign-up bonus
  • $200 in Hilton annual statement credits
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status

Cons:

  • $150 annual fee
  • No automatic free award night
  • No airport lounge benefit

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is the card_name worth it?

The card_name card is worth the $150 annual fee if you spend enough money on the card to earn the sign-up bonus and you take advantage of most of the card's Hilton, travel, and shopping benefits.

Do you get a free night with a card_name?

The card_name The Hilton Surpass card no longer includes a Free Night Reward for cardholders. However, you can earn one after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in a calendar year.

What credit score is needed for the card_name?

American Express does not disclose credit requirements for its credit cards. You will likely need good to excellent credit to qualify for the card_name, which is a FICO score of at least 670.

Does the card_name have lounge access?

No. The Hilton Surpass card used to provide airport lounge access, but that perk has been dropped.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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