Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Review

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American Express and Hilton have again rebranded their mid-tier rewards card (formerly known as the Hilton Ascend) as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

DoubleTree-by-Hilton-Hotel-Kuala-Lumpur
100,000 points can land you 10 nights at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels Kuala Lumpur

In addition to earning 12x points on Hilton purchases and receiving complimentary Gold Elite status, the Hilton Surpass enjoys some additional perks; Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year, no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), and ten free Priority Pass lounge passes (Terms Apply).

The improved Hilton Surpass joins Hilton's refreshed lineup below, with similar benefits to the new business card.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms Apply)
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night reward after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 4 months of Card membership.
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night reward after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 4 months of Card membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card Welcome Bonus

New cardholders can earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night reward after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 4 months of Card membership.

Some of the best value in the Hilton Honors program is found at the lower end of the award spectrum. Hotels in Asia are often particularly good value, where 100,000 points can land you as many as 10 nights at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur or up to 20 nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport. If you're more interested in aspirational properties, you can splash out on one night at the Conrad Tokyo, which runs to 95,000 points per night in peak season.

Points Earning Potential and Category Bonuses

The Hilton Surpass retains the same earning structure as the Hilton Ascend: Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

While Hilton points don’t hold the same cent per point value as rival program Hyatt, the high returns at Hilton properties, combined with the 25% bonus for Gold status and Hilton’s regular promos, offer some of the highest earning ratios of any hotel rewards card we’ve reviewed.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card Feature Benefits

Weekend Free Night Award after spending $15K

Hilton Surpass cardholders receive a weekend free night certificate after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year. A nice feature, the free night is redeemable across the Hilton portfolio of hotels and resorts (with a few exceptions) and could return hundreds of dollars in value if redeemed at a high-end property.

Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status

Hilton Gold ranks at the top of the charts for mid-tier elite status, providing complimentary breakfast, potential room upgrades and late checkout, and a 25% bonus on top of the base points earned for your stay. It’s also possible to earn Hilton Honors Diamond after spending $40K on the card in a calendar year. But the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card receives automatic Diamond status alongside a host of other benefits, and there's a good argument for applying for Hilton’s premium card if your annual spend is over $40K.

10 Free Priority Pass™ Lounge Passes

Another new benefit, Hilton Surpass cardholders receive 10 free Priority Pass Lounge passes just for holding the card. If you don’t already receive a complimentary Priority Pass membership via another card, this is a tangible benefit that provides added value for the increased annual fee.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Foreign transaction fees used to be a common complaint from international travelers swiping this card while out of the country. The 2.7% foreign transaction fee imposed on overseas purchases has been removed on the revamped Hilton Surpass which features no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees). It may not be a high-flying perk like lounge access or elite status, but it can potentially save you hundreds of dollars when traveling abroad.

Application Restrictions

The Hilton Surpass is not considered a new card product. If you’ve previously received a bonus for this card or the Hilton Ascend, you won't qualify for the welcome bonus on the Hilton Surpass card. As per the Amex application page:

“Welcome Offer not available to applicants who have or have had the Hilton Honors Surpass® Card or the Hilton Honors Amex Ascend Card. American Express may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

Hilton’s refreshed lineup of co-brand cards includes two new credit card products, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, opening up terrific points earning opportunities for new and existing cardholders alike.

Final Thoughts

A step-up from the Hilton Amex, the Hilton Surpass is a quality co-brand hotel rewards card that’s sure to be a hit with Hilton fans. Featuring new and improved perks including 10 free Priority Pass lounge passes, no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), and a weekend free night certificate after spending $15K, the Hilton Surpass is a significant improvement on the Hilton Surpass of old. If you’re chasing even more benefits, more points, and higher status, Amex’s new Hilton Aspire card is the latest premium travel card on the market, and it offers all that and more.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees)

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Review
5 (100%) 5 votes
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Comments

  • Not a bad deal. Are the 10 PP passes issued once or annually?

  • I wish some of the simple perks from the Ascend (grocery points, etc) were on the Aspire.

  • Hm. Think I might pass on this one, though it isn’t a bad setup.

  • The increase in the AF may be worth the PP access for some, but for those who get unless PP access from other cards, it’s effectively $20 less value from this card

  • Come on, guys… Cards, cards and more cards… A few weeks ago there would dozens of comments on your posts, but now…

    • Not sure what you’re getting at? We’re covering too many credit cards? The focus here is points and miles — with new cards coming out from Hilton, they’re gonna get a ton of attention.

      • Thank you for your work! I can’t see myself doing all this math, finding the best solutions, always like to read your tips. Thank you!!!

      • I have to agree. I love reading about credit cards that earn hotel or airline points or status. This one looks particularly exciting.

      • Sorry if i sounded like a rant. I guess the blog is very US-focused, which means that for many (most?) of the readers and Award Wallet users these amount of posts about (US only) credit cards feels like spam.

  • Still better than any option in Canada. Really hope they offer something at some point.

  • lorem ipsum says:

    Does spend on the Surpass this calendar year before conversion to Ascend count towards the $15,000 spend for the free weekend night?

  • Bill from Maine says:

    This is a great improvement for me over the Surpass card I have. 10 PP visits are no charge, foreign transaction fees are gone and the free weekend night for an additional $20.00 seals the deal. I get my Diamond status from spending on my card and actually staying at Hiltons so that remains a non-determining factor for me. Overall, this is a pretty powerful card for what you pay if you stay at Hilton properties and if you are eligible, receiving 100K points for $3K spending is good for a few additional nights.

  • Any news about getting the sign up bonus if I had the Surpass card? If not, could one refuse card and apply for Aspire, or call and negotiate? ( eg. to get the bonus associated with being accepted for the Aspire card?)

  • I have the Ascend, but was told it was spend $3000 in first 3 months. Was I misinformed?

  • I wish I could qualify, but I’ve had the surpass

  • hilton pesos….

  • It’s always interesting to read all about these new products…keep it up!

  • Great review! Thanks for the info.

  • The passes are electronic and issues annually.

  • Extra PP has high appeal. I’ve always been a sucker for anything airport lounge related.

    • It was the attraction of lounge access that first led me to taking out a card with a hefty annual fee. While a wouldn’t pay anything to access a lounge on a pay as you go basis, I will happily pay for a credit card that gives me free access.

  • I called AMEX today. The Ascend card is being used to transition folks out of the expiring (cough cough!) CITI card to the new AMEX product. BUT if you also have or have had the old AMEX Supass card, even if you cancel your CITI card ( and that’s probably now past deadline as transition is “in process”), you won’t get the sign up points promo. The only ways you can get the promotional points is to apply for the Aspire card ( annual fee= ALOT) or the Business HHonors AMEX whose benefits mirror the Surpass card with a similar fee.

  • I thought the Surpass come with free night certificate?

    • The Surpass card, historically, has not come with a free night certificate. There was a short recent time period where it was added as a benefit — if you were eligible for that you’ll still have it coming to you, but with the card and its benefits changing, you should be aware that how that certificate works won’t be the same going forward.

  • That signup bonus is really sweet! The only thing you might look out for is the Amex brand, since it’s not easy to find merchants abroad that will take them

  • Great benefits for a low fee card.

  • Really a solid offering. I thought I’d miss the Citi Reserve more, but this card basically ticks all the same boxes for me.

  • darn. missed out on the surpass giving free nights away. got 75000pts after 30K spend.
    Thanks for updating this post as more information becomes available.

  • Wish I could qualify for the bonus, but had and cancelled the Surpass. However, my husband got it last summer and he’s going to hang on to it.
    That way we will still get free breakfast.

  • CAMILLA SAUDER says:

    Wish I knew WHERE to max out the Hilton value. My redemptions have not been great.

  • If I take my family of 3 to a lounge, can I use 3 of the 10 complimentary PPs”?

  • New Hilton credit card useless in small town America and Canada, most small hotels and shops will not accept it thus we get no points now. Without the added points we will have less rewards.
    Will probibly cancel after we use our current points. Between Hilton raisins all reward points and not being able to use card we don’t want it.

  • Mac Trausneck says:

    I had a HH Honors Amex and was approved and received the Surpass card without the 130,000 points offer. I was told when I contacted them that I was upgraded and did not apply for a new Surpass card and was therefore not eligible. I had clicked on the apply button to receive the card, there was no upgrade button. Over 1 1/2 hours, three representatives, two managers worth of discussing this and being misinformed by a second level escalation manager of what he was going to do and what would occur, I am now supposed to be sent a new standard HH Amex card. Amex card member for 36 years. Verbiage on offer and disclosure which I read thoroughly is not what is offered. Compliant filed with Amex but have no idea what they will do. I was told they do not contact complainant about resolution.

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