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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.
Through October 4, 2017, we’re seeing increased sign-up bonuses on Hilton’s two co-branded American Express cards:
- The $75 annual fee Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is offering a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months, plus a free weekend night certificate valid at virtually any Hilton Honors hotel on your first account anniversary
- The no annual fee Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months, plus a further 25,000 bonus points after spending another $1,000 within the first six months
Both of these are great offers that are seriously worth considering, in my opinion. But one thing I really love about Hilton Honors is how easy it is to transfer points between accounts. Hilton Honors added a bunch of new benefits earlier this year, and one of them is the ability to pool points with other Hilton Honors members.
The basic terms of these points transfers are as follows:
- Up to 11 Hilton Honors members can combine points — one pooler can initiate and receive points from up to 10 members
- You need to have a minimum balance of 1,000 points to take advantage of this
- You can use pooled points for whatever you’d like, including both room and non-room rewards
- You can transfer a minimum of 1,000 points and a maximum of 500,000 points into a pool in a calendar year
Best of all the process couldn’t be easier. You can transfer points online instantly, and the process is facilitated by points.com, so the system is similar to many other points transfer processes out there.
So why does this matter in the context of the sign-up bonuses on the Hilton Honors Surpass Card and Hilton Honors Card from American Express? Because to me this makes the points you earn on the sign-up bonus significantly more flexible and valuable:
Pool points towards a fifth night free redemption
One of the great things about being able to pool points is that you can get enough points in an account for a free night redemption, or ideally, for a fifth night free redemption. Hilton offers elite members a fifth night free on all standard room free night redemptions. So say you and your spouse both sign-up for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card, and want to redeem at a property that costs 52,000 points per night. If you each had 109,000 points (how many you’d have after applying for the card and completing the minimum spend) you’d have more than enough for four free nights, while if you had the points in one account, you could make a fifth night free booking, and stay for five nights.
Make it easier to track points expirations
I’ve had several family members apply for these card under this increased offer, though sometimes my family isn’t especially good at tracking points, to put it mildly. So as much as I try to keep track of points for everyone in my family, sometimes that doesn’t work out quite as I’d hope. I hate to admit it, but points have expired several times in my family without me knowing. Hilton Honors points expire after 12 months of inactivity, so by consolidating points it’s much easier to keep track of points expiration, have qualifying activity so that your points don’t expire, etc.
Maximize elite status
The Hilton Honors Surpass Card offers Gold status for as long as you have the card, while the Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers Silver status for as long as you have the card. However, if you spend enough on either card you can get boosted to the next elite tier.
Hotel stays are always better with elite status, so it’s great to transfer points to the person who has the highest elite status, and then maximize the points that way.
I really love the way that Hilton allows (almost) no strings attached points pooling. While some other hotel programs also offer points pooling, none make it this easy, in my opinion. With Hilton you can combine points online and for free, and you don’t need special circumstances to do so. To me this enhances the value of Hilton’s co-branded credit cards even more, in terms of being able to combine points towards redemptions, making it easier to track points expirations, and also in terms of maximizing elite status.
Have you taken advantage of Hilton’s points pooling feature?