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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 Express||Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card|
|Sign-Up Bonus||75,000 HHonors points after spending $3,000 within three months||Two free weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 within four months|
|Points Earning Rates|
|Status Just For Having Card||Hilton HHonors Gold status||Hilton HHonors Gold status|
|Status With Spending Threshold||Hilton HHonors Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year.||Hilton HHonors Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year.|
|Other Perks||Access to Hilton's AXON awards||Free 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).