Instant Approvals All Around On The Hilton Surpass Card

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!

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 May 31, 2017, we’re seeing the best ever sign-up bonus on the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express. The card 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 family property on your first cardmember anniversary.

The card has a very reasonable $75 annual fee, and offers Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card, which I consider to be one of the all around most useful mid tier hotel status levels, as it offers room upgrades and free breakfast at many Hilton brands.

The way I see it, this is a worthwhile sign-up bonus not just for Hilton loyalists, but for just about anyone. The card has a fantastic sign-up bonus and can be worth holding onto long term for the Honors Gold status it offers. With Hilton’s new (mostly) revenue based program, you should easily be able to get at least $500 worth of value out of 100,000 points.

When the limited time sign-up bonus was first announced I shared Ford’s experience getting approved for the card instantly. Anecdotally I find this card to be really easy to get approved for.

With only about a week left on this offer, both of my parents decided to apply for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card today as well, as they’ve never before had a Hilton credit card. They both have other Amex cards, and were both instantly approved for this card. Instant approvals on this card seem to be more common than not, at least among the data points that I’ve received.

If you are considering applying for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card, keep in mind that:

  • You can typically have up to five American Express credit cards plus four American Express charge cards at any time (it doesn’t matter how many of those cards are business and how many are personal)
  • In the unlikely event that you are denied, this typically won’t count against your credit score, assuming you’re an existing cardmember

The Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria

There’s only about a week left to take advantage of these deals. I don’t see the sign-up bonus on the Hilton Honors Surpass Card getting bigger anytime soon, so if you haven’t yet picked up this card, I’d highly recommend doing so.

In event you do already have this card, it could also be worth considering the no annual fee Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, which has a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Honors points after spending $2,000 within three months.

If you’ve applied for either of the Hilton American Express cards lately, what was your experience — did you get an instant approval, or…?

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  1. Just got instant approval for Amex Plat with 100k bonus. Offer is still available if you use the Amex site right

  2. I was approved for the Surpass card immediately. Super fast and easy. Might even get the no annual fee card since I’ve already completed the required spend.

  3. “With only about a week left on this offer, both of my parents decided to apply for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card today as well, as they’ve never before had a Hilton credit card.”

    Woah! @Lucky’s folks just jumped on, “of all things”, the HILTON HONORS AMEX Surpass card bandwagon! Who would’ve thought that possible just 3 years ago when the program was hotel loyalty’s pariah in travel blogopshere!

    That shocking development aside, this is a great offer because one can EASILY get a monetary value of much more than $500 out the 100,000 HH points, considering that for “just” 95,000 HH points, one can book a reward night at, e.g., Conrad Maldives Rangali Island that would cost $1,420/night in hard currency, and that does not even include the savings that one gets on the hefty taxes that are common at such ‘aspirational’ resorts; $1,420 is more than 2x $500!

    Don’t want to do a one-night stand out there in the middle of nowhere? That’s even better! Use the 100K points as part of a 5-night reward stay at that ‘aspirational’ property in the middle of nowhere and get the 5th night free to achieve an outsized redemption value that can be as high as 2.19 cents/HH points, in which case the 100,000 points would be worth:

    $0.0219/HH point * 100,000 HH points = a whopping $2,190, or more than 4x $500!

    Don’t believe me? It turns out that just the other day, I demonstrated, using a dummy booking at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island as a realistic example (it was a dummy booking simply because I did not do the final click to book, but it was as real as things can be), that one can get — even under Hilton’s new revenue-system (the real point of the post) — such outsized redemption values . Check it out here:

    and then call me in the morning!

    Bottom line: Folks should stop getting hung up on the largely meaningless AVERAGE redemption values of points currencies that are peddled by travel bloggers. A redemption value several-fold the AVERAGE that’s peddled for HH points can be achieved by anyone who plays the game with a “full deck.” Really. Check out the example at the link…go on.

    It was, I believe, Ric Garrido who commented once that points currencies do not have a redemption value until they are redeemed. The verdict is in and his comment was right on the money…


  4. I applied for the card through Lucky’s link a few weeks ago and got my first invoice yesterday that includes ~$2k of the spend. Already I’ve accumulated 9k points with just that spend. There are so many multiples on restaurants, etc.

    Just completed the spend today (thanks, ER visit), but I think I’ll keep using the card until I accumulate ~200k points which I can use for a nice 5th night free. With my spend, the 100k sign-up and a couple stays, I’ll be there in a couple months.

  5. Worth going for both? I know Amex won’t auto approve both dam day but should sort out a week or 2 later…

  6. Two points to add/clarify:

    1) Annual fee is NOT waived the first year.

    2) Amex will screw you for 2.7% of all Foreign Transactions. So this is not an ideal card if you travel internationally (not to mention Amex is extremely difficult to use outside of the US).

  7. Sent my wife a referral, she applied last night, got the “we will get back to you” message and then almost immediately got approved. 125,000 points, boom.

  8. I think 0.5c value from HH points is on the high side. I value them at 0.4c or less. Even in the post you linked, your own readers agree that 0.5 is an overestimation. To be honest, even 0.4c may be too high. Have to average the highs and lows. And remember, when we book with points, we don’t earn the points we would if we paid cash.

  9. ‘Nice’ sales job 🙁
    Every blasting of a CC offer should start with THE negative
    for American Express offers: Once a life time
    for Chase CC pushes: 5/24 rule

    Of cause that would shorten the time one spends here by 99 percent LOL

  10. Remember, with just about any AMEX card, if you have had the exact same card opened in the past 7 years, AMEX will still give you a new card, let you make the min spnd and pay the AF, but then refuse to give you any sign up bonus. Really easy to forget that you had and then closed a card six years ago…

    But if you only had the “regular” Amex HH card, and not the Surpass, you still qualify for a Surpass bonus….

  11. Applied for the no fee card as I’m still building my credit file and was instantly approved, I do however have a Blue Cash card from AMEX early. Never thought to try for this card so early. Thanks “Lucky”!

  12. I moved recently to the US from the UK. Moved back in July 2016 actually. So my credit history in the US is pretty much nonexistant. I have an Amex Platinum card. that I managed to get as soon as I arrived in the US. This is because Amex has this policy of considering my UK credit history. I had a number of Amex cards in the US. That is the background info. I applied for the Hilton Surpass card back in March when the 100k points offer came along. But I was rejected. But when I applied again yesterday, I got instant approval. Meanwhile, I also noticed that my fico credit score that Amex shows on my ccount has improved from what it was in March.

  13. I was denied because I reached the maximum number of credit cards within a 90 day period (I applied for SPG business and personal), any advice?

  14. @Dave sez: “I think 0.5c value from HH points is on the high side. I value them at 0.4c or less. Even in the post you linked, your own readers agree that 0.5 is an overestimation. ”

    First off, it is rather silly for quibble about whether a HH point is worth 0.4 or 0.5cpp when (a) the estimate is very CRUDE, and (b) it would not make any difference if the value were 0.4 or 0.5cpp.

    Now, @Dave, I am going to take to school, AGAIN, so that you’ll stop posting silly things.

    On AVERAGE, one should not expect to get redemption values above 0.5cpp CONSISTENTLY, especially now since Hilton’s new revenue system is based on TYING award costs to room rates in a near constant ratio of 0.4-0.5cpp. But that is not forcibly a bad thing because (a) as I showed at the link above, there is a “loophole” that still allows outsized redemption values to be obtained; and (b) when room rates in cash GO DOWN significantly, one is often able to book “premium room rewards”, including suites, at a huge points discount. For instance, I just booked a King Junior Suite — a PREMIUM ROOM REWARD — for 2 nights at Hilton Chennai in late December for 44K/night, where I would have paid $322.50/night ($645 for the 2-night stay) if I’d paid cash. That is when one redeems points although the redemption value is “just” 0.57cpp. Standard awards at such a property when rates in $ are down would be dirt cheap in points, and paying cash would be the better strategy. Fortunately, there is a better option: book a PREMIUM ROOM REWARD since such rewards also become affordable when cash rates are low — a great feature and upside of the revenue system.

    But, @Dave, the trouble with getting hung up on the peddled values of points currencies is that they are almost universally misunderstood. The values of points are meaningful only within a denomination, and not across denominations because different programs award different number of points for the same spend. If a redemption value, RV, is given by

    RV = cost of stay in hard currency ($)/cost of stay in points currency (P) or $/P

    and for the same spend ($) one earns different number of points (P) in different programs, then

    RV cannot be compared across programs, and a NUMERICALLY small value of RV does not mean the points currency is worthless or worth less as is the general misconception. For instance, P, the number of points that one earns per spend is 5-6x larger for HHonors than for SPG or 3x larger than for HGP/WOH. Since P for HH is that much bigger, it means that RV or $/P for HH would be correspondingly smaller (the denominator is a larger number). Therefore, a redemption value of 0.5cent/HH points would be like getting a redemption value of 2-3cents/STARPOINT, after adjusting for differences in EARN rates.

    The 0.5 cent being peddled does not literally 0.5 cent. It is 0.5cent PER HH POINT. If converted to STARTPOINT, 0.5cent PER HH POINT would be equivalent to 2-3cents PER STARPOINT.

    If the preceding confused you then the better reason not to get hung up on such estimates. Do your own back of the envelop calculations on a redemption by redemption basis and you would be better informed and better off.

    “Points currencies have a redemption value only after they are redeemed.”


  15. Is this card subject to once in a lifetime approval restriction?

    I had this card when the sign up bonus was 75K Hilton points – is the 100K bonus HH card a different product?

    Thank you

  16. Similar to what @DCS says.

    The $.005 “value” doesn’t at all take into effect how easy it is to acquire Hilton points. For example:

    I have an upcoming 6 night business trip to New Orleans and I figured out the points I will earn:

    $226 rate per night
    6 nights
    $1,356 total room rate
    $232 taxes
    $200 estimated room charges (wild guess)
    $1,788 Total invoice amount

    15560 base points
    7780 points & points
    3890 gold status
    21453 credit card points – AMEX Surpass
    15560 double points promo
    500 book via app
    500 book online with amex surpass
    65243 Total points

    Taxes are not included in any of the points amounts except the credit card spend.

    That’s enough for 1 free night in Aruba or the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in September.

    You can’t earn that amount of value from any other program!

  17. Dave,

    Perform the algebraic calculations for net rate of return accounting for points earned per dollar spent and dollar value returned per point redeemed adjusting for the annual fee to obtain net rate of return (ROI) for direct comparison to a no annual fee 2% cash back card. The result is very sensitive to the redeemed point value. You can also introduce a factor for percent annual spend in bonus categories (like Southwest or AMEX Blue Cash 5%) to establish how much bonus spend may be required to yield 2% net ROI. I have completed such an analysis for the AMEX Surpass, Chase Southwest Premier, Chase Sapphire Reserve, AMEX SPG, and the AMEX 5% Blue Cash cards. The algebraic equation I developed for the AMEX 5% Blue Cash card is summarized in a one page spreadsheet graph and accurately defines net ROI as a function of total annual spend and percent annual bonus category spend based on many years of my using the card.


  18. Hilton Gold and Hilton points are worthless. I’m Diamond and I don’t get anything unless I yell. Save your money. I’ll spend mine at SPG while it lasts…

  19. @Mr B — Should these folks believe you, who can’t even make the most of a Diamond status, or their own lying eyes and ‘golden’ experiences 😉

    BTW, you’re on the wrong train. The one on which Hilton is shit and SPG is golden already left the station and sped away…

  20. Watch out Amex bait and switch practice. I called to have rep to check and double check that I am eligible for bonus. The answer is yes. After i opened the account called again, was told no worry just keep spending and i will get the bonus. Just when im about to reach the required spending i was told sorry, you got the bonus many years ago and since this is once in a life time offer you wont get anything now or ever. I escalated my issue to supervisor to no avail. Be careful everyone if you get this card before.

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