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The days remaining on the temporarily increased Hilton Amex card offers are quickly ticking away as these offers are set to expire on May 31, 2017. Both the Hilton Honors Surpass Card and the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors Card are currently offering sign-up bonuses that are as large, or even larger, than any I have seen in the past. Even if Hilton isn’t your primary hotel loyalty program, these deals are still worth a serious look since there are thousands of Hilton properties available around the globe where you can put these points to good use…and Amex doesn’t follow the Chase 5/24 rules, so there’s that.
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express: 100,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, $75 annual fee. Terms Apply.
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express: 80,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months, no annual fee. Terms Apply.
If you are trying to decide which is the Hilton Amex better card to apply for, then this post is for you.
Get the Amex Hilton Card You Haven’t Had Before
The two cards are considered different products, so you can theoretically have both at the same time and should be able to get each sign-up bonus individually. However, each sign-up bonus is only available to those who have never had that specific product before. This means the best card to apply for is one that you haven’t had before. If you have already had one or the other, this makes your decision pretty easy.
Decide if the Annual Fee is Worth It
Up front the biggest difference between the two cards is that the Hilton Surpass Card has a $75 annual fee and the Hilton Honors Card has no annual fee. Not surprisingly, the Hilton Surpass Card also has a sign-up bonus that is 20,000 points higher than the Hilton Honors Card. Looking just at the initial bonus and the annual fee, paying the $75 annual fee for the Surpass Card gets you 20,000 more initial Hilton points at a “cost” of .375 cents each in the first year if you look at it in that way. I think most people are able to get more than .375 cents out of a Hilton Honors point, so I wouldn’t let the annual fee scare you too much.
Not only that, but on your first anniversary to kick off your second cardmember year you you will get a weekend award night with the Surpass Card which probably again makes the $75 annual fee worth it to most travelers. This first year weekend anniversary night is not a normal feature of this card, but it is part of this limited time offer that expires at the end of the month. On the other hand, if you are 100% anti-annual-fee, then the Hilton Honors Card is a good play.
What Hilton Elite Status Level Do You Need?
The Surpass Card awards Hilton Gold status which can get you some Hilton lounge access, breakfast, snacks, late-check out, better rooms, or more depending on the specific Hilton property type you are visiting. If you are a big spender, it also awards top tier Hilton Diamond status if you charge $40,000 per calendar year on the card.
The Hilton Honors Card provides Hilton Silver elite status to card holders, or it can provide Gold status if you spend $20,000 on the card per calendar year. Silver status won’t give you things like lounge access and breakfast, so if you need Hilton elite status perks then the edge goes to the Surpass.
However, if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express you can get Hilton Gold status from that card, making elite status from one of these cards not super relevant.
How Much Do You Spend on Hilton
If you plan to use one of these cards for your everyday or Hilton expenses, then you will want to check the bonus points payouts in those categories.
- 12x points at Hilton properties
- 6x at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
- 3x on other eligible purchases
The Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express awards:
- 7x for Hilton charges
- 5x for U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
- 3x for other eligible purchases
Obviously the biggest difference here is in Hilton spending, which is much higher with the Surpass Card, so that is worth factoring in if you are going to have a large amount of Hilton spending you want to put on one of these cards.
Using Hilton Honors Points
Hilton Honors recently did away with their award chart, but even still, 80,000 to 100,000 Honors points can go quite a long way at some properties, especially at the middle and lower end of the spectrum. Both of these two cards confer elite status, so you can take advantage of getting every 5th night free when booking a Standard Room Reward. This means that on a five night award stay you only really pay for four award nights.
To put that into practical terms, I personally have my eye on some Hilton properties on The Big Island that seem to range from 30,000 – 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night depending on the property and night. Paying 120,000-ish Hilton points for five nights with the fifth night free is suddenly very within range if you get 80,000 – 100,000 points via one of these sign-up bonuses!
Also remember that regardless of which card you decide on, Hilton Honors now offers the free pooling of points between up to eleven people! This could help if a couple folks in your circle decide to go for one of these temporarily increased bonuses and then want to pool the points together for a phenomenal trip!
Be sure to apply by 5/31/17 if you want in on the increased Hilton Amex bonuses!
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express: 100,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months, $75 annual fee
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express: 80,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months, no annual fee