Hilton fans rejoice because American Express has increased the sign-up bonus on both the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card and the Hilton HHonors Card from American Express by 20,000+ points. No that wasn’t an April Fool’s joke – contrary to popular belief, Hilton HHonors is one of the best hotel loyalty programs and 20,000 points can go a long way. I’ll get to that in a minute, but in the mean time let’s go over the increased sign-up bonuses for both credit cards: The Hilton HHonors Surpass Card is offering 100,000 Hilton HHonors points after $3,000 spent within three months while the Hilton HHonors Card is offering 75,000 points after $1,000 spent in three months.
I know, some of you are yawning and asking, “What can I do with a measly 20,000 Hilton HHonors points?” Or maybe you’re wondering whether I finally got into the credit card affiliate game and am pushing my new links. No, I have not transitioned to becoming a full time credit card pimp – just part time, over at FTG 😉 – but I do think these offers are worth considering. Here are five reasons why…
1. Get up to 20 free nights. The Hilton’s award chart has 10 categories ranging from 5,000 – 95,000 points per night. That means the 100,000 point sign-up bonus from the American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass card can be redeemed for upwards of 20 free nights! Before some of you go off about how “there are no Category 1 Hilton hotels” (which happens every single time I mention Category 1 Hilton awards), there are in fact 54 and you can find them here.
2. Redeem 100,000 Hilton points for multiple nights at low or mid-level properties. The go-to card for those saving for Hilton HHonors awards is usually the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card. The card offers two free weekend nights after $2,500 spent within 4 months. The free nights are good at almost any Hilton hotel worldwide, with a few exceptions. The Hilton HHonors Reserve card is great if you’re redeeming a top-tier award. However, for mid-to-low level awards and mid-week hotel stays, you’re better off utilizing the sign-up bonus from the Hilton HHonors Surpass or Hilton HHonors American Express card.
If you go for a mid-tier award (i.e. 30,000 – 50,000 points per night) and redeem the two free weekend nights from the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, you will completely undervalue those free night certificates which could be worth up to 95,000 points each – instead you’re trading them in for half their value. Booking a low or mid-tier property with Hilton HHonors points earned from the Hilton HHonors Surpass or Hilton HHonors American Express card is a better option. With the increased sign-up bonuses on the two Hilton branded credit cards, you can get more than just two nights at low to mid-category hotels.
3. Flexible redemption options. Having a stash of 100,000 Hilton points gives you options you wouldn’t have with free nights certificates. Other than being able to redeem them for any night of the week, at any hotel that has award space available, you can also opt for a Points & Money award to stretch your point balance further. Points & Money awards can be a great value, so the next time you’re searching award space, be sure to check out Points & Money award rates for potential savings.
4. Get Hilton HHonors Elite Status. The Hilton HHonors Surpass card comes with cmplimentary Hilton Gold status, with the ability to spend your way to Hilton Diamond status after just $40,000 of annual spending. Gold status is pretty valuable in itself, offering members complimentary breakfast, bonus points, and room upgrades based on availability. I once stayed at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District on a $25 mistake rate as a Hilton HHonors Gold member and got upgraded to a room with a great view and club lounge access. At the Conrad Bali last summer, my brother got his standard room upgraded to a Conrad Suite while my Diamond status got me upgraded to the Penthouse Suite when I extended our stay for another night and the Conrad Pool Suite we booked wasn’t available. I’ve gotten better treatment better as a Hilton HHonors Gold member than a top-tier Hyatt Diamond, which is why I’m adding more Hilton stays to my future travel plans.
5. Hilton HHonors is one of the best hotel loyalty programs. Now back to my point about why Hilton HHonors is actually not a terrible program. Hilton HHonors is actually the second best hotel loyalty program (trailing behind Club Carlson) when it comes to earning free nights. So while 95,000 points per night might seem like a massive sum for a top-tier award night, it only requires $6,333 worth of paid hotel stays (elite bonuses excluded) or $31,666 worth of non-bonus category credit card spending to earn that free night. Compare that to a beloved program like Hyatt Gold Passport where, granted, base members have to spend just $6,000 on hotel stays and $30,000 in credit card spending for a free night at a top-tier hotel. But does Hyatt have pool villas in Thailand you can book with a base award? No, it does not.
That’s my unbiased opinion of the 100,000 point Hilton HHonors Surpass Card offer. If you have any low or mid-category Hilton HHonors award redemptions in mind, then I’d recommend picking up the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card. The bonus is flexible and can be used for up to 20 free Hilton HHonors nights, the card comes with Gold elite status while you can spend your way to top-tier Diamond, and the annual fee is just $75 – a good $20 cheaper than the annual fee on the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card. This makes the Hilton HHonors Surpass card a better option for a long-term Hilton card, especially if you plan on spending your way to elite status every year.
However, if you’re planning a trip to the Maldives, then by all means, go with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card. In any case, don’t discount Hilton HHonors as useless, even if they did massively devalue their rewards program three years ago. It’s still a good program and points from their co-branded credit cards can be put to great use.
What do you think of the increased sign-up bonus on the Hilton HHonors Surpass and Hilton HHonors Card from American Express cards?
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