Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Review: Worth the annual $95 annual fee?

Hilton enthusiasts might find this card to be a handy travel companion.
4 minute read | 7/18/19July 18, 2019

If you typically book stays with a property from the Hilton Portfolio, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card could be worth looking into. In this review, we'll take a look at the card's pros and cons to help you decide if it's right for you.

Robust Welcome Offer

Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express

Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express

Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express

Benefits

  • 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points welcome offer
  • High rewards rate
  • Automatic Gold Status
  • No foreign transaction fee

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee

Who should get this card?

As a branded card, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is suited for avid travelers with a preference for saying at Hilton hotels or resorts. Specifically, travelers who might be new to the Hilton Honors program or haven’t reached Hilton Honors Gold status yet can receive the immediate benefit of ascending to a higher loyalty program tier through this card.

Card basics

Annual Fee $95
Welcome Bonus Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night rewards after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 4 months
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top card benefits

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night rewards after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 4 months.
  • Rewards: Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points when spending directly with an eligible hotel or resort, 6X points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations, and 3X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Complimentary Gold status: You’ll receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status through the card, which opens the door to an 80% bonus on all earned Hilton Honors base points and free breakfast at all hotels.
  • Weekend Night Reward: Earn a free Weekend Night Reward after spending a minimum $15,000 using your card within a calendar year.
  • 10 Priority Pass Select visits: Get 10 complimentary Priority Pass Select lounge visits after enrolling your card in the Priority Pass Select program.

Earning & redeeming

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card gives cardholders a number of ways to earn points while traveling or through everyday spending.

Best ways to earn

Categories Rewards rate
Hilton Portfolio hotels and resorts 12X
U.S. Restaurants 6X
U.S. Supermarkets 6X
U.S. Gas Stations 6X
All other purchases 3X

If you plan on spending a lot at Hilton properties, you’ll have the greatest chance at earning points. Other earning accelerators, like the 6X points per dollar earned at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations, also help you earn Hilton Honors points faster.

However, the card only earns you 3X on all other eligible purchases. If a majority of your card spending is outside of the top aforementioned earning areas, you may want to find a better card option.

Maximizing your redemptions

Although you can use points toward non-Hilton purchases, redeeming earned points toward Hilton reward stays maximizes the value of your redemption.

If you don’t have enough points to fully cover a free rewards stay or if you’d prefer to save your points toward a future trip, you can use Hilton Honors’ Points & Money option, which allows you to use a mix of rewards points and cash toward your booking.

Common questions

What are Hilton Honors points worth?

The value of Hilton Honors points is about 0.6 cents per point, depending on how you redeem them. The value per point might differ when redeeming points toward merchandise, shopping, or transferring Hilton Honors points to another airline loyalty program.

How many Hilton points do you need to earn a free night?

The amount of points you need may differ depending on your hotel, room tier, and booking details, but rewards stays start at 5,000 points. And with the complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status, when you book Standard Reward Stays of at least five consecutive nights, your fifth night is free.

Is the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass worth the annual fee?

If you’re already a Hilton aficionado and regular guest, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is worth the $95 annual fee.

Without Priority Pass Select membership through the card, becoming a Priority Pass Standard member costs $99, plus $32 per visit. If you plan on maximizing the available Priority Pass Select benefit through this card, the value easily makes up the cost of the annual fee.

What are some lesser known benefits offered by the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass Card?

Outside of the key features listed above, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card offers helpful travel benefits, like no foreign transaction fees, car rental insurance (secondary coverage), and a 24/7 Global Assist Hotline, if you come across emergencies on your trip.

It also provides useful shopping protections, like additional warranty coverage on eligible purchases, return protection, and purchase protection for theft or damage.

Other cards to consider

If you’re on the fence about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, you’ll find other cards in the market that offer similar rewards and benefits.

For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Card offers points toward the same spending categories as the Surpass but at a slightly decelerated rate. If you’re not loyal to the Hilton brand, you may also want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, which offers cardholders many travel perks that frequent travelers expect and enjoy.

Robust Welcome Offer

Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express

Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express

Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express

Special Offer

Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night rewards after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 4 months

See how these cards compare:

Hilton Honors American Express Card
Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • 90,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points welcome offer
  • High rewards rate
  • Complimentary Silver status
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card
  • 75,000 bonus point sign-up offer
  • 6X Bonvoy points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • One free night each year
  • No foreign transaction fee

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