Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card – Full Review [2021]

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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card – Full Review [2021]

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"Plenty of Hilton bonus points for travelers!"

An excellent high-earning Hilton credit card that comes with perks like Hilton Gold status and Priority Pass lounge access.

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The information regarding The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


If you’re someone who loves traveling and loves staying in Hilton hotels, adding a co-branded Hilton hotel card to your wallet is almost a no-brainer. From automatic Hilton elite status, to airport lounge access, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card can be a great fit for Hilton loyalists looking to up their travel game.

Pros

Cons

  • $95 annual fee

Hilton Surpass Card — Snapshot

The Ideal Cardholder

Family checks into room at Hampton by Hilton
The Hilton Surpass card is perfect for individuals or families who like staying at Hilton hotels. Image Credit: Hilton

The Hilton Surpass card is best suited for travelers who enjoy or regularly stay in Hilton hotels and can regularly take advantage of the card’s perks.

Hilton Gold Elite Status

By far the best perk of the Hilton Surpass card is that all cardholders get automatic Gold elite status, which usually requires you to spend 40 nights a year in Hilton hotels!

Gold is the second-highest elite tier in the Hilton Honors program, and with your new Gold status, you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • Complimentary room upgrades (up to executive level)
  • 80% bonus on points earned from stays
  • Free breakfast
  • Late checkout
  • Milestone bonuses

Daily free breakfast and complimentary room upgrades can offer travelers great value during their Hilton stays. Not to mention the 80% bonus in points earned bumps you up to 18 Hilton Honors points per $1 on Hilton stays.

Hot Tip: When you combine your 80% bonus from your Hilton Gold status with the 12x points you earn with your Hilton Surpass card, you’ll be earning a total of 30x points per $1 — representing a return of 12% on your Hilton stays.

Priority Pass Lounge Access

Another great benefit of the Hilton Surpass card is that it gives you 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges each year. The Priority Pass lounge network includes over 1,300+ lounges worldwide, so you’ll almost always find one in whatever airport you’re flying in to, or out of.

Monthly Dining Statement Credit

Cardholders can earn up to $10 back per month at U.S. restaurants (dine-in or takeout) through December 31, 2021 — a benefit worth up to $110! Enroll in this statement credit through Amex Offers.

Great Card if

  • You like staying at Hilton hotels and want Hilton Honors elite status
  • You want a card that offers airport lounge access

Don't Get if

  • You’re not a fan of Hilton hotels or don’t travel much
  • You want a card with no annual fee

Hilton Surpass Card — Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • Enjoy $0 intro Annual Fee for the first year, then $95. Offer expires 8/25/202
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.74% to 24.74% variable
  • Late fees
    • Penalty APR: 29.24%
    • Fee: Up to $40
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 25.24% variable
    • Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Additional Info

Best Way to Maximize Hilton Honors Points

Hilton Stays

It shouldn’t be surprising that the best way to earn more Hilton Honors points with your Hilton Surpass card is to use it when you stay at Hilton hotels and earn 12x points per $1 spent. This gives you a return of 4.8% on your spend with Hilton hotels, based on our 0.4 cents per point valuation for Hilton Honors points.

Supermarkets, Gas Stations, and Restaurants

Hilton Surpass cardholders earn 6x points per $1 on all purchases at U.S. gas stations, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. restaurants. Given the fact that these 3 categories can make up a significant amount of someone’s budget, this can really help you rack up Hilton Honors points quickly.

Everyday Spending

With the Hilton Surpass card, you’re going to earn 3x points for every $1 you spend on all other purchases. While this represents just a 1.2% return on non-bonused spend, and many cards offer a better rate, it can still help significantly if you’re trying to rack up as many Hilton Honors points as possible.

Hilton Dining Program

When you link a credit card to the Hilton Honors dining program you will earn between 2x to 8x points per $1 spent at eligible restaurants, depending on your level in the program. This is in addition to the 6x points per $1 you’ll receive for paying with your Hilton Surpass card.

Lyft Rides

When you link your Hilton Honors and Lyft accounts you will earn 3x points per $1 spent on Lyft rides (economy, luxury, and extra seats), and 2x points per $1 spent on shared Lyft rides.

Amex Offers

All American Express cardholders receive dozens of Amex Offers each month which offer discounts, deals, or point-earning opportunities with dozens of merchants.

Each month, you can check for new offers and add any that fit your spending patterns to your card. This allows you to earn additional Hilton Honors points or statement credits for purchases you likely would have made anyway.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus

If you refer your friends and family to become cardholders of the Hilton Surpass card, you’ll receive bonus points for doing so. For each successful referral, you will earn 20,000 Hilton Honors points, up to 80,000 Hilton Honors points per year.

To send out a referral, visit the Refer-a-Friend website and log in using your Amex username and password (or your credit card information).

Adding Additional Hilton Cards

Adding a second Hilton card to your wallet could be a great way to earn additional Hilton Honors points. Not only will you earn another welcome bonus, but a second card can give you the opportunity to earn points from new bonus categories.

Take the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card for example, which offers 7x Hilton Honors points per $1 spent on select travel purchases like airfare and rental cars.

Adding Additional Amex Membership Rewards Cards

Hilton is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner, so you’ll have the option of transfer points from your Membership Rewards balance to Hilton at a rate of 1 Membership Reward point to 2 Hilton Honors points.

While this may seem great on the face of it, we value Membership Rewards points significantly higher than Hilton Honors points. So unless you need to transfer a relatively small number of points to make a certain booking possible, we recommend you hold onto your Membership Rewards points for other uses.

Best Way to Redeem Hilton Honors Points

Hilton Bali Resort
Use can use your Hilton Honors points for award stays at world-class Hilton hotels. Image Credit: Hilton

Hilton Stays

Without question, the best way to get the most value for your Hilton Honors points is by using them for award stays at Hilton hotels. While Hilton does not publish an award chart, award nights at Hilton hotels can range between 5,000 to 95,000 points per night depending on the quality of the hotel and its location.

Fortunately, Hilton offers a Points Explorer Tool that gives you a range of what you can expect to pay for an award night at any hotel in their portfolio.

Hot Tip: Don’t forget that Hilton elite members get their fifth-night free on all award stays. This is the perfect way to get even more value out of your points and effectively stretches their redemption value by 20%.

Hilton Experiences

Hilton members can use their Hilton Honors points towards an experience package like tickets to a sporting event or a show. This could be a worthwhile option if there is an exclusive event you want to attend that you otherwise couldn’t get tickets to, but you’ll almost always get less value for your points this way.

Lyft Rides

While Lyft rides give you the option to earn extra Hilton Honors points, you can also redeem your Hilton Honors points for Lyft gift cards — but at a poor value. Redeeming your points this way offers a value of just 0.2 cents per point, which is half of what we value them at.

Amazon Purchases

If you have your Hilton account linked with your Amazon account, you’ll be able to use your Hilton Honors points to offset purchases you make through Amazon. But again, your points will only be worth 0.2 cents apiece when you redeem them this way, so you’re better off redeeming them for hotel stays.

Alternative Cards to the Hilton Surpass Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

If you’re not committed to the Hilton Honors program and prefer the Marriott Bonvoy program instead, then the Marriott Boundless card is worth your consideration.

With the Marriott Boundless card, you’ll receive automatic Marriott Silver Elite status, a free night certificate each year on your account anniversary, plus 15 Elite Night credits each year to help you reach a higher elite status level like Gold Elite or Platinum Elite.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Another hotel credit card that is a fan favorite among frequent travelers is the Hyatt Credit Card. With the Hyatt Credit Card, you’ll receive automatic Discoverist status, a free night certificate on your account anniversary, 5 annual Elite Night credits, plus a way to spend yourself to high elite status levels.


We’ve also compared the Hilton Surpass card to the other Hilton co-branded credit cards in the post below:


Frequently asked questions

What is the annual fee on the Hilton Surpass card?

The annual fee is $95 (see rates and fees).

Is the Hilton Surpass card worth it?

If you visit Hilton hotels at least a few times a year and are confident that you’ll get plenty of value out of the card’s benefits, then yes the card should be worth it.

How many Hilton Honors points do you need for a free night?

While Hilton does not offer an award chat, you will generally need to pay between 5,000 to 95,000 points for a free night depending on the quality and location of the hotel.

Which Hilton credit card is the best?

In terms of elite benefits and return on your spend on Hilton stays, that would be the Hilton Aspire card. It offers top-tier Diamond status, travel credits, a free night each year, and 14x points per $1 on Hilton stays.

With that said, it might not necessarily be the best Hilton card for you if you don’t want all of those benefits, don’t visit Hilton hotels that often, or aren’t comfortable paying the card’s annual fee.

Does the Hilton Surpass card offer a free night certificate?

Hilton Surpass cardholders can get a free night certificate, but only if they spend $15,000 on the card within a calendar year.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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2 comments

  1. chris wright January 3, 2021

    I am looking at the Surpass card and I see that it comes with 10 free visits for Priority Pass. Is that only for the cardholder or can you use one free visit for the holder and one for the guest each time, which essentially giving you 5 free visits? Thank you.

    Reply

    • Hi Chris. The Surpass card comes with 10 free Priority Pass one-time-use passes. You are correct in that the cardholder must use 1 pass and then another pass must be used for the guest.

      Reply

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