Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Review: Big Rewards and Free Weekend Nights
If you spend regularly at hotels while traveling, opening a hotel rewards credit card could be a money-saving move.
Hotel credit cards allow you to earn rewards you can then redeem for free award nights.
The rewards you with points for Hilton stays, as well as points on groceries and everyday spending.
This card also comes with some interesting travel benefits, including the opportunity to earn a free weekend night reward and upgraded status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program. There is an annual fee of $95.
If you're in the market for a hotel rewards credit card, here's more on what the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card brings to the table.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Pros & Cons
Competitive Rewards for Hotel, Everyday Purchases
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card features a tiered rewards program.
Here's how rewards break down when you make purchases with the card:
- Earn 12x Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on eligible Hilton hotel and resort portfolio purchases
- Earn 6x points per dollar on groceries and dining at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
- Earn 6x points per dollar on gas purchased at U.S. gas stations
- Earn 3x points per dollar on all other purchases
Obviously, you'll get the most rewards bang for your buck when using the card to book stays at Hilton properties.
But overall, this card features a very competitive rewards rate for everyday spending too.
Rewards are unlimited, so this card could be a great fit if you're a heavier spender who primarily charges hotel bookings, gas, dining or groceries.
Even at 3x points per dollar for miscellaneous purchases, you're still getting a solid rewards rate.
Eligible cardmembers can earn a great welcome bonus. There's a minimum spending requirement you need to meet to qualify. But if you're able to earn the bonus, that could easily give you a bank of points to use toward award nights with Hilton.
Earn a Free Weekend Reward Night
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card could be a good choice if you spend at least $15,000 in eligible purchases with your card annually.
Once you hit that spending threshold, you can qualify for a free weekend reward night.
This reward can be redeemed for one weekend night standard room at Hilton portfolio properties. Some exclusions apply but this is a valuable benefit if you're planning a weekend getaway.
In terms of how much you'll need to spend, it works out to $1,250 per month. And you're still earning Hilton Honors bonus points on those purchases, which you could use redeem for more award nights.
Aside from award stays, you can also redeem Hilton Honors points for:
- Exclusive experiences
- Lyft rides
- Rental cars
It's good to have those other options if you're not planning a trip any time soon. But generally, you'll get the most value when you redeem for hotel stays with Hilton instead.
It's also worth pointing out that you can exchange Hilton Honors points for points or miles from other rewards programs.
For example, you can exchange points between the Hilton Honors program and the American Express Membership Rewards program. Or you can exchange points with selected airline and rail partners.
Travel transfer partners include:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
When transferring points for air or rail miles, remember to check the transfer value to make sure they're stretching as far as possible.
Other Card Features and Benefits
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card includes some additional benefits you might appreciate, such as:
- Complimentary Gold Status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program
- 10 free visits per year to Priority Pass Select lounges
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Global Assist Hotline access
- Free shipping and returns for online shopping with ShopRunner
- Entertainment access
- Fraud protection
- Pay It Plan It
These benefits could be useful if you travel regularly.
For example, being able to visit more than 1,200 airport lounges is a nice feature if you need a break from airport crowds.
Complimentary Gold Status in the Hilton Honors program can yield additional benefits, such as special discounts and upgrades.
If you spend $40,000 or more per year with your card, you can move up to Diamond Status to unlock even more benefits.
This card has no foreign transaction fee, which is good if you travel outside the U.S.
As far as the annual fee goes, consider how easily you could earn back the cost in rewards.
Qualifying for the free weekend reward night each year alone, for example, could help you earn back the fee and then some.
The special benefits offered as a Gold Status member in the Hilton Honors program also boost the card's value.
Compared to Other Travel Rewards Cards
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is just one way to earn hotel rewards. Here are some additional travel cards to consider for hotel points.
Hilton Honors Card from American Express
The could be a good choice if you want to earn points on Hilton stays, with no annual fee.
This card offers:
- 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on eligible Hilton purchases
- 5x Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
- 3x Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
You're earning a lower rewards rate on hotels, gas, groceries and dining but the trade-off is no annual fee.
In terms of card benefits, they include complimentary Silver Status in the Hilton Honors program, car rental loss and damage coverage.
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is a premium hotel rewards card. With this card, you can earn:
- 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points per dollar on eligible Hilton purchases
- 7x points per dollar on select travel purchases, including flights and car rentals
- 7x points per dollar on dining
- 3x points per dollar on gas
Additionally, this card comes with some luxury benefits including complimentary Diamond Status in the Hilton Honors program, the chance to earn weekend night rewards and a $250 Hilton Resort credit each year.
The catch is that this card has a $450 annual fee.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
is another premium travel rewards card. But instead of being hotel-specific, you can use it to earn rewards for other travel spending.
With this card, you can earn 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express travel (up to $500,000 in these purchases per calendar year). You can also earn that same rewards rate on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com.
Card benefits include a fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, a $200 airline fee credit each year, access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and access to the Global Lounge Collection.
You can also enjoy Hilton Honors Gold Status as a Platinum Card member, which if you'll remember, is a Membership Rewards exchange partner. This card is the most expensive of the three included here, however, with a $695 annual fee (see Rates & Fees; terms apply).
What’s the Verdict?
The is one card to consider if you travel fairly often and choose Hilton in favor of other hotel brands.
This card's rewards program makes it easy to rack up points toward free award nights whether you're charging hotel stays or everyday purchases.
On the other hand, it may be worth considering a more general travel rewards card if you frequent other hotel brands.
Or you might choose a different card if you're looking for more in the way of premium benefits, such as airport lounge access or travel statement credits.
Overall, this card is a solid choice if you want to combine excellent rewards with a reasonable annual fee.
And if you spend at least $1,250 a month with your card, you can increase its value by earning the free weekend reward night. Just keep the regular variable APR for purchases in mind, since that can make carrying a balance more expensive.
See the rates & fees for the mentioned American Express cards: The Platinum Card from American Express (Rates & Fees; terms apply) and Hilton Honors Card from American Express (Rates & Fees; terms apply).