American Express Surpass Card Increased Sign-Up Bonus

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Update: The below links for the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express are expired, but you can learn more about best available offers here.

Today American Express announced an increased sign-up bonus on The Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express through May 5, 2014.

The limited time sign-up bonus is 75,000 Hilton HHonors points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of having the card. The annual fee on the card is $75, and it isn’t waived for the first year.

While this is a better sign-up bonus than normal, in my opinion the sign-up bonus on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is still better, given that it offers two free weekend nights after spending $2,500 on the card within four months.

Here are the basic differences between the two cards:

The Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American ExpressCiti® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card
Sign-Up Bonus75,000 HHonors points after spending $3,000 within three monthsTwo free weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 within four months
Annual Fee$75$95
Points Earning Rates
  • 12x points per dollar spent at Hilton properties
  • 6x points per dollar spent at US restaurants, at US supermarkets, and at US gas stations
  • 3x points per dollar spent on everything else
  • 10x points per dollar spent at Hilton properties
  • 5x points per dollar spent on airline and car rental purchases
  • 3x points per dollar spent on everything else
Status Just For Having CardHilton HHonors Gold statusHilton HHonors Gold status
Status With Spending ThresholdHilton HHonors Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year.Hilton HHonors Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year.
Other PerksAccess to Hilton's AXON awardsFree weekend night certificate upon account anniversary when you spend $10,000 in a calendar year.

So I do definitely think it’s worth having (and keeping) one card for Hilton HHonors Gold status alone.

While I don’t love Hilton hotels as such, they do have an amazing global footprint, and Gold status gets you complimentary internet and breakfast/club lounge access, which I find to be the two most valuable elite benefits.

The other day I wrote a post about the economics of hotel mattress running, and ultimately the ease with which one can earn Hilton Gold status should be a compelling enough reason not to go for other hotel status for many.

Ultimately I also find it worthwhile to put $10,000 of spend on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card for the free weekend night certificate, which can be redeemed at a hotel that would otherwise cost 80,000+ points per night.

My Hilton credit card strategy is actually to keep the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card, and then I also have the no annual fee Hilton HHonorsTM Card from American Express, which I use to gain access to Hilton’s AXON awards.

Admittedly AXON awards are not nearly as valuable as they used to be (back in the day 145,000 points would get you four nights at the Conrad Koh Samui), but if nothing else it’s worth keeping no annual fee credit cards as long as you can since they help your credit score (by extending the average age of accounts).

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Comments

  1. *yawn*

    I’d rather hold the no-fee Hilton Amex & churn the Citi Hilton Visa repeatedly for 50K.

    Gold status does have real value for anyone who stays at Hilton properties regularly. Of course, if you stay regularly, you can earn Gold without paying an annual fee.

  2. “Of course, if you stay regularly, you can earn Gold without paying an annual fee.”

    Gold requires 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points.

    If you stay 10 times a year but not 20, then this is a no-brainer.

  3. @ beltway — Yes, except the two aren’t mutually exclusive. You can churn the Hilton Citi Visa and still have the Reserve Card, for example.

  4. Can you have both the Surpass and the Hilton HHonorsTM Card from American Express at the same time?

  5. Looks like a caching issue. Tried with Mozilla (that I don’t usually use) and I see 75K now.

  6. I swear I saw somewhere that you could exchange Hilton points for United mileage 1/1 ratio.But when I looked around I could not find that at all. Was there or is there a deal like that?

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