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Since early April, American Express has been offering increased sign-up bonuses on their two co-branded Hilton credit cards. These increased offers are valid through May 4, 2016. The details of these offers are as follows:
- Hilton HHonorsTM Card from American Express — 75,000 HHonors bonus points after you spend $1,000 within three months; no annual fee
- Hilton HHonorsTM Surpass® Card from American Express — 100,000 HHonors bonus points after you spend $3,000 within three months; $75 annual fee
I figured I’d share the situation I’m in, and my thought process in picking up a new card.
I already have the Hilton HHonors Amex
I’ve had the no annual fee Hilton HHonors Amex for a few years. I got the card with a sign-up bonus a few years back, and have found it worth holding onto. It has no annual fee and has gotten me access to several Amex Offers which saved me money, so I’ve been doing quite well with it.
Furthermore, having a card long term helps your credit score, given that your average age of accounts is an important metric for your credit score. That being said, I haven’t had the card so long that canceling it would hurt my credit score much, as there are some other cards I’ve had for ~8 years now.
My options for the Hilton HHonors Surpass Amex
Even though I have Hilton Diamond status through a status match, I’ve been considering applying for the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card. The sign-up bonus is 100,000 points upon completing minimum spend, though if I log into my account I’m also presented with an option to upgrade my card.
Typically to get the full credit card sign-up bonus you have to apply for the card new rather than upgrade. In this instance I’m being offered 50,000 HHonors points for upgrading my card, after spending $3,000 within three months.
So which is better — upgrading my Hilton Amex to a Surpass Amex for 50K bonus points, or applying for a Surpass Amex new for 100K points?
There are a couple of ways to look at this:
- In favor of the 50K upgrade offer: there won’t be a credit pull, and I’ll maintain my account age on the new card
- In favor of applying for the 100K offer: Amex sign-up bonuses are once in a lifetime nowadays, so why would I accept anything less than the best offer?
Assuming you value Hilton points at ~0.4 cents each, 100,000 points are worth $400, and 50,000 points are worth $200. There’s a $75 annual fee, so really my “profit” for upgrading the card would be $125, while it would $325 for applying new.
Is it worth getting credit inquiry for $200? I’d say so, assuming you’re not maxed out on Amex cards. So I’m leaning towards applying for the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card, rather than upgrading my Hilton HHonors Amex.
I should note that since I’m Hilton Diamond I can’t take advantage of one of the best perks of this card, which is Hilton Gold status for as long as you have the card, which is an extremely valuable mid-tier hotel status, getting you free breakfast and/or club lounge access. This is the lowest annual fee credit card which gives you Gold status, so many will find the card more than worthwhile for that alone.
Conrad Hong Kong club lounge
Ultimately everyone has a different threshold in terms of how much a credit pull is worth to them, and also what kind of an offer they’re willing to “settle” for. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has the no annual fee Hilton Amex already, and is considering getting the Surpass Card.
If you’re in a similar position, are you planning on upgrading for 50,000 points, or applying new for 100,000 points?