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UPDATE: This offer has expired.
The limited time bonus offers for the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express and Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express are both offering an increased up offer which is coming to an end on October 4, 2017. If you are wondering which card to get (if any), here is an analysis comparing the offer and benefits between the two cards. Remember though, since they are two different products you are able to get the welcome bonus for both cards.
- Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express – Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months. Plus, earn a free weekend night on your anniversary date of Card approval. Some hotels may have mandatory services and resort charges. Offer Ends 10/4/17. *Terms Apply. Rates and Fees
- Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express: Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 75,000 bonus points – Earn 50,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership and an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you make an additional $1,000 in purchases with your new Card within your first 6 months. *Terms Apply. Rates and Fees.
Comparing the Welcome Offers for the Hilton Cards
While the Hilton Surpass card comes with a $75 annual fee, the non-Surpass version has no annual fee! That clearly makes the no annual fee version much more enticing, but the offer is less by 25,000 points and you do not receive the free night. Hilton points are worth about 0.5 cents per point, so the extra 25,000 points can be valued at about $125. Taking into consideration the $75 annual fee, you are already ahead $50 for the first year. And on top of that, you receive a free night certificate to use at any Hilton hotel (just needs to be a weekend). A conservative value of that free night is probably about $200, but some will receive a much higher value in places like Bora Bora, Aruba, Paris, Tokyo, etc. Remember though, the free night certificate does not get deposited to your account until your first anniversary with the card, so that requires you to pay the 2nd years $75 annual fee as well. You can learn more about the Hilton free night certificate here.
Remember though, the welcome offer is just a one time thing. So while you will come out ahead the first year, you’ll still be on the hook for paying the annual fee every year thereafter that you keep the card. With just taking the offers into consideration, you’ll probably break even after year three.
Comparing the Benefits Between the Hilton Cards
Aside from the welcome offer, the two cards come with varying benefits. This ranges from the status you are given, the status you can earn, and the points you earn when spending on the card. Keep in mind that both cards allow you to take advantage of Amex Offers where you can earn statement credits at many popular merchants. This can help offset the annual fee, or allow you to make money on a no-annual fee card!
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold elite status each year you keep the card
- Earn Hilton Honors Diamond status after you spend $40,000 in a calendar year
- Earn 12x points at Hilton Hotels, 6x points at U.S. gas stations, supermarkets, and restaurants, and 3x points on all other purchases
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver elite status each year you keep the card
- Earn Hilton Honors Gold status after you spend $20,000 in a calendar year
- Earn 7x points at Hilton Hotels, 5x points at U.S. gas stations, supermarkets, and restaurants, and 3x points on all other purchases
My big take away between the two cards is that the Surpass version comes with Gold elite status where the no annual fee version comes with Silver elite status. Gold status at Hilton is actually pretty good. Even though it is a mid-tier status, you’ll still receive complimentary breakfast, and based on availability an upgrade and concierge floor access. Silver status will not give you much, unfortunately. However, both statuses will give you your 5th night free on award redemption, so having some sort of status at Hilton is always good. Hilton does have various status match opportunities throughout the years, so earning status outside from having the credit card is possibly obtainable.
I am excited to see Hilton offering the highest ever offer on the Surpass version of the card and an almost best offer ever on the no annual fee version. While there are also Citi co-branded cards, they currently are not offering anything comparable. I don’t love that Hilton points are worth so low these days, but these offers can definitely get you a few free nights depending on how you use your points. If you are looking to increase your Hilton balance, these cards are worth it. Although, keep in mind that American Express typically only allows you to have 5 credit cards (not charge cards) in your name at a given time and you are only able to receive the bonus once in a lifetime.
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