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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.
For the past two weeks, Hilton has been offering an increased sign-up bonus on the excellent Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express, which is valid through May 31, 2017. The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months, plus a free weekend night valid at any Hilton Honors hotel on the first cardmember anniversary.
This is the biggest sign-up bonus we have ever seen on the card. The 100,000 point sign-up bonus is pretty straightforward, in the sense that you get the points once you complete the minimum spend, and can spend them however you want.
However, the free weekend night certificate you get on your account anniversary is a bit more complicated.
Hilton Surpass free weekend night certificate basics
The free weekend night certificate being offered on the Hilton Surpass Card is a benefit available exclusively through the current sign-up bonus. You get a free weekend night certificate only on your first account anniversary, upon paying the $75 annual fee.
Within 6-8 weeks of your card’s first anniversary, you’ll be emailed the certificate to the email you have on file on your account. Then you can redeem that certificate electronically for a stay within a year of the date the certificate was issued. The stay has to be consumed within a year, and not just booked within that timeframe.
The certificate is valid for a stay on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night.
At what hotels is the Hilton Surpass free weekend night certificate valid?
The free night certificate offered by the Hilton Surpass Card is valid at virtually any property where standard award redemptions are available. Specifically, it’s valid at all properties except those listed on this website. As you can see, this includes all but a few dozen Hilton properties. Most of the excluded properties are all inclusive properties or Hilton Grand Vacation properties.
I’m supposed to go to the Maldives/Bora Bora/Koh Samui for one night?
What’s the value of a single free night certificate for a redemption at a remote, aspirational property? Most people aren’t going to go to Bora Bora, the Maldives, etc., for one night… and they shouldn’t. There are two ways to approach this.
One way is to use the free night certificate as part of a longer stay. In other words, if you’re booking a stay of a few nights at one of these properties (either using cash, points, or a combination of the two), you can add on an extra night to the stay using this certificate.
Alternatively, there are lots of good city hotels where you can redeem this certificate. For example, the Conrad Hong Kong is a great option in Hong Kong, if you happen to be in the area…
Those are just a few examples. The point is, there are lots of fantastic city hotels where you can redeem a weekend night that are closer to home (or closer to major cities).
That’s part of the reason I value this certificate conservatively. I value it at ~$250 or so, even though you could easily redeem it for a hotel that would cost $1,000+ per night. But I think most people can get ~$250 of value out of a certificate like this by redeeming at a major city hotel, and it leaves a lot of room for people to maximize the value even further, if they so choose.
The sign-up bonus of 100,000 points plus a free weekend night certificate on the Hilton Surpass Card is the best bonus we’ve ever seen on the card. The value of the 100,000 points speaks for itself, but I think there’s a lot of value to be had with the free night certificate as well. If you haven’t yet applied for the card, I’d seriously consider doing so — Ford applied for the card a few days ago, and was instantly approved.