Which Hilton Amex is Right for You?

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Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express  Is No Longer Available through this Site.


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.


If you are trying to decide which is the Hilton Amex better card to apply for, then this post is for you.

Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express  Is No Longer Available through this Site.


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.


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.

The Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express awards:

  • 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.

Grand Wailea

Grand Wailea in Hawaii

Using Hilton Honors Points


Hilton Honors recently did away with their award chart, but even still, bonus sign-up 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.


Embassy Suites are great for family travelers

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!



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  1. Question- if I get the 100k/free weekend night. Old I theoretically use the free weekend night in summer of 2019? (Looking at Hawaii in July of 2019- does the free weekend night on anniversary expire in a year or do I just need to book it by the expiration date?) hope this makes sense! Thanks!

    • Marsha, let’s say you apply now in May 2017. The anniversary night will be awarded in roughly May 2018. You will then have a year to use it, so by May 2019. Now as to whether or not they would be willing to extend it a month or two…I don’t know, but technically it probably would fall just short of July 2019 unless they made an exception for you.

  2. Nothing to do with this post, but wanted to say thank you. Before I discovered your blog, I would have just bought Ticketmaster tix and paid for them with Amex points. Thanks to you, I knew to check the redemption rate – and 100,000 points only buys me $500 in Ticketmaster tix! I nearly just threw away at least $500 in benefits! Ack!

  3. I just applied and was approved for the no annual fee Hilton card. My first new credit card since October! I’ve been trying to hold out to get under 5/24, but I think I’m too far gone.

    Anyway…when I first clicked on your link, the page did not offer me a Welcome Bonus. So I opened a new private browser window and the bonus appeared so I took a screen shot of the bonus on my application page. Just in case. I’m guessing AMEX recognized me (even though I was not signed in) as already having an EveryDay card.

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