American Express Credit Cards

5 Reasons to Get the 100,000 Point Hilton HHonors Surpass Card

Hilton fans rejoice because American Express has increased the sign-up bonus on both the Hilton Honors Surpass Card and the Hilton Honors Card from American Express by 20,000+ points. No, that wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. Contrary to popular belief, Hilton Honors is one of the best hotel loyalty programs out there. Those 20,000 points can go a long way – I’ll get to that in a minute. In the mean time, let’s go over the increased sign-up bonuses for both credit cards. The Hilton Honors Surpass Card is offering 100,000 Hilton Honors points after $3,000 spent within three months. Meanwhile, the Hilton Honors Card is offering 75,000 points after $1,000 spent in three months.

The 100,000 point sign-up bonus from the Hilton Honors Surpass Card goes further than you might think
The 100,000 point sign-up bonus from the Hilton Honors Surpass Card goes further than you might think

I know, some of you are yawning and asking, “What can I do with a measly 20,000 Hilton Honors 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 Honors 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 Honors 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 Honors 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 Honors 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 Honors 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 points from the Hilton Honors Surpass or Hilton Honors 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 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 Honors 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. Gold status is pretty valuable, providing 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 Honors 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. I’ve gotten better treatment as a Hilton HHonors Gold member than a top-tier Hyatt Diamond. That’s why I’m adding more Hilton stays to my future travel plans.

5. Hilton Honors is one of the best hotel loyalty programs. Now back to my point about why Hilton Honors is actually not a terrible program. Hilton Honors is actually the second best hotel loyalty program (trailing behind Club Carlson) when it comes to earning free nights. While 95,000 points per night seems like a massive sum for a top-tier award, it only takes $6,333 worth of paid hotel stays. Or $31,666 in non-bonus category credit card spending. Compare that to a popular program like World of Hyatt. 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 as a base award? No, it does not. 

That’s my unbiased opinion of the 100,000 point Hilton Honors Surpass Card offer. If you have any low or mid-category Hilton award redemptions in mind, then I recommend the Hilton Honors Surpass Card. The bonus is flexible and can be used for up to 20 free Hilton Honors nights. The card also comes with Gold elite status and the annual fee is just $75. That’s $20 cheaper than the annual fee on the Citi Hilton Honors 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.

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 Honors 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 Honors Surpass and Hilton Honors Card from American Express cards?

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  1. Hilton Diamond is my second favorite hotel status, but no chance it beats Hyatt Diamond.

    With Hilton the program and benefits are far more variable. Sometimes variable to the negative.

    Also, Hilton is basically giving Diamond status away for free currently.

    • I like Hyatt Diamond for the confirmed suite upgrades, but if I’m honest with myself I don’t use them enough to make it worthwhile. As for Hilton, Diamond benefits aren’t distinguishable from Gold on the surface, but I’ve talked to a few hotels about pre-arranging upgrades and they always have lower rates for Diamond members than Gold. Plus, I feel like I get treated better as a Hilton Gold/Diamond than a Hyatt Diamond member. With Hyatt, most of the time they seem unaware of my status or the benefits I’m supposed to get as a result. I always have to ask and they usually seem thrown off by it. Plus, I can recall just two incidents over four years where I was proactively upgraded to a better room at Hyatt – I’m not even talking about a suite, but just a room that has a view or is considered slightly better than standard. They do like to upsell me at check-in, which I think is kind of tacky when it comes to elite members.

  2. I think you are not portraying the reality for reward nights. Let me explain:

    1. Hilton points are deceptive. It may sound a lot but in actuality they are not worth that much (~0.45cents) since they devalued the program e”exponentially” in last few years.

    2. Even though they say their top tier is 95,000 points, good luck finding at those rates where/when you want to go specially outside a very narrow window. Most of the time, even the mid-tier (50,000pts) hilton hotels will cost >100,000. They have their top tier rooms going at Hilton Venice for 3Million points and they gives you an option to buy those points for ~$70K! LOL.
    Regularly, they have those 95,000 hotel rooms going for ~300,000 points.

    3. Hilton gives points, like the Helicopter Ben throwing US $, and in another hand devalues the program every few months.

    4. Hilton’s 40,000 and lower Hotels are worse than SPG and Hyatt’s lowest category hotels. So, that extra 20,000 points is not worth much.

    Only “lasting” thing of getting Surpass is the Gold status. Let’s be objective and give your readers some “reality” check on Hilton points of extra 20K points usability.

    • Point valuations are for the most part subjective and what really matters is how you’re able to put them to use. At properties like the Conrad Koh Samui, you can easily get 1 cent per point in value. Finding award availability at 95k isn’t hard if you book in advance. When standard rooms fill up they’ll sell premium rooms at much higher rates, but that’s to be expected. Hilton hasn’t had a major devaluation since 2013 – they have quarterly category changes where some properties go up and others go down. That’s every hotel program. As for the quality of low-category hotels, it’s hard to make a blanket statement like that without researching thousands of hotels across all three chains – something I’ve done and I haven’t found Hilton hotels to be noticeably lower in quality. Hilton has 4,600+ hotels, while Starwood as 1,300+ and Hyatt 600+ which makes comparing their property quality a tough feat (with “high vs. low quality” being highly subjective).

    • Farnorthtrader

      I have stayed on points in Hiltons in Manhattan, Versailles, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, and Macau, all during high season, all at standard rates. All of these hotels were in the top 2 or 3% of hotels on Tripadvisor. The only time I have used a premium award, I booked a suite at the Hilton Miami, not because I couldn’t get a standard room, but because the suite was less points than the standard room.
      As for lower points Hilton hotels being inferior quality, I would point you to the Hilton Luxor (30,000 points and one of the best reviewed hotels in the world) and the Doubletree Beijing (10,000 points and in the top 1/2 of 1% of all hotels in Beijing on Tripadvisor).
      Across all of my redemptions, well over 1.6 million points worth, I have averaged exactly 1 cent per point.

  3. Part of your comment is wrong. Hilton will charge 2x-3x more points for “standard rooms” but during their “wide” High season. I have seen it many times. Marriott also does it in small degree but not like Hilton (they can charge whatever they want).
    SPG doesn’t have any blackout dates, doesn’t matter if high season, and same points requirements.

    • Agreed. I always get annoyed when my family wants to go to Honolulu for Christmas shopping and they’ve upped their points requirement considerably

    • Farnorthtrader

      Your comment is remarkably lacking in facts. Hilton will give you a standard room for their standard rate of it is available for cash, same as SPG and Hyatt (unlike Marriott, Carlson, and IHG, that limit the number of award rooms). They have seasonal ranges for many categories, but so does SPG.
      At least with Hilton, you are guaranteed to be able to get any room in the hotel on points, even if you have to pay ridiculous points for it. That is not true of any other program, where points availability is not guaranteed for anything other than standard rooms.

  4. Isn’t best available Amex no fee card offers 75000 points?

    Your link direct to 40000 points offer…. tell the truth

    • Yep, it increased to 75k. I updated the post with a link to that offer (side note: I don’t get paid for any of these links).

      • Indeed. I’m inclined to apply for the 75k, no fee version here, especially as I already have Hilton Diamond status for the year, (courtesy status match) Plus, I’d have to do 2k less in spending to get the 75K.

  5. Are these card limited to one bonus ever like other Amex cards? I’m considering picking either this one or the no-fee one for a trip to Thailand, but hotels in Bangkok are pretty cheap (Le Meridien is around $120 right now), so I don’t think I would get the best redemption out of the bonus and don’t stay in Hiltons super often otherwise. I’d probably cancel the card after the trip, and I’d hate for this to be my one chance.

    • Yes this is once in a life time bonus offer. HOWEVER, you can always get more Hilton points from Citi Hilton cards. Hilton is also a transfer partner of thankyou points and membership points. So this is not like your only chance to get Hilton points via credit card.

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