Get Started

Learn more about Credit Cards, Travel Programs, Deals, and more.

HHigh Marks – 6 Reasons to Love the New Hilton Honors Amex Surpass

This post may contain affiliate links - Advertiser Disclosure. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Hilton Honors Amex Surpass

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express, Surpass, Aspire and Business cards has been collected independently by Miles to Memories.

Hilton Honors Amex Surpass

Many Amex cards have been recently refreshed, including the suite of consumer Hilton Honors cards.  More often than not, such revamps come with an annual fee hike.  Naturally, issuers emphasize the improvements while oh-by-the-waying the fee increase.  Not coincidentally, the consumer rebuttals swing the other way – demonize the annual fee increase and understate the perceived improvements.  I hope to reconcile both today with the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass.  Last October’s $55 Surpass annual fee increase can’t be ignored, but there’s still much to love about the card – perhaps more than before.

$200 Hilton Statement Credit

I’m starting with the most significant addition to the card’s benefits.  Surpass cardholders receive up to $50 each quarter for Hilton charges.  According to the card terms:

​Basic Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Members can receive up to a total of $50 in statement credits each calendar quarter (January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December), for up to $200 back annually, for eligible purchases charged directly with a property within the Hilton portfolio on their Card Account, including bookings and incidental charges. 

In practice, the statement credit is remarkably easy to trigger.  I’ve obtained the full $50 credit in Q4 2023 and Q1 2024 with minimal effort.  This perk also plays nicely with the Hilton elite food and beverage credit.  By charging such incidentals to their rooms and paying with the Surpass, cardholders can easily cover small amounts over the F&B credit with the $50 quarterly hotel credit.  And, according to the terms, additional card members’ charges are also eligible for the $50 credit.  (To be clear, this is not an additional $50 credit.)

And speaking of the Hilton food and beverage credit…

Hilton Honors Amex Surpass

Hilton Honors Gold Status

The Hilton Surpass and Business cards come with automatic Hilton Honors Gold elite status, the best mid-tier elite status from any hotel program, in my view.  Gold status unlocks the elite food and beverage credit.  Also, members earn an 80% bonus on base points earn and space-available room upgrades.  In my experience, Hilton has been more generous than other programs with room upgrades, even at the Gold elite level.  Golds also have access to milestone bonuses, such as 10k extra points with every subsequent 10 nights after hitting 40 nights annually.

A “Compatible” Card

Travelers’ needs can change.  So it’s convenient the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass can be easily product changed to the no-fee Hilton Honors Amex card or the premium Hilton Honors Amex Aspire.  Maybe an individual doesn’t have much travel planned for the current year but would like to keep earning Hilton Honors points on spend.  If that’s the case, a downgrade to the no-fee card may be an optimal move.  In some other year, that same individual may be traveling and staying in Hiltons often, including luxury properties.  Product changing and leveraging the Aspire’s benefits on such stays can lead to big wins.  I love the Hilton Honors Amex Business card, the Surpass has it beat on the product change front.

Hilton Honors Amex Surpass

Excellent Earning with the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass

The Surpass generously earns points in staple categories.  Cardholders earn an uncapped 6x points on all US supermarket, gas station, and restaurant spend.  And as part of last year’s refresh, the card earns 4x on US online retail purchases.  Finally, the Surpass earns 3x on all other spend.  While I don’t put much focus on cents-per-point valuations, I’ve been easily able to obtain at least 0.5 cpp on most of my Hilton redemptions with a bit of flexibility.  If your goals involve future Hilton stays, the Surpass offers an easy option to top off your points balance, at a minimum.  But many of us are able to leverage an additional benefit with Surpass spend.

An Attractive Big Spend Bonus

I consider Hilton’s free night certificates the best ones available.  They’re widely redeemable at most all properties, with only a few exceptions.  The Surpass provides a free night certificate when cardholders spend $15k in a calendar year.  Even better, many organically spend $15k in the staple 6x spend categories each year.  Without much effort, cardholders pick up a free night at many aspirational properties, and those 90k points will probably be enough for a second night there, as well.  Plus, given it’s a calendar year benefit, cardholders can obtain two free night certificates on one annual fee.

National Status

As part of the refresh, Surpass cardholders are granted National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status.  Many already obtain that status from other cards, but often, those cards carry annual fees well beyond $150.  National loyalists looking for elite status easily enter their ranks at a relatively low fee with the Surpass card.

Hilton Honors Amex Surpass – Conclusion

The card no longer comes with 10 annual visits to Priority Pass lounges, a niche benefit that many loved.  Many of us can obtain such access with other cards, anyway, but this is definitely a devaluation for some, particularly infrequent travelers without other Priority Pass options.  And given Amex’s once per lifetime rule, also consider the size of the Surpass welcome offer as part of your signup strategy.  Big picture, though, I’m loving the new version of the Surpass, and it plays a role in my plans of indefinitely holding some version of a consumer Hilton Honors Amex card.  Why do you love the Hilton Honors Amex Surpass card?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Lower Spend - Chase Ink Business Preferred® 100K!

Chase Ink Business Preferred® is a powerful card that earns 3X Ultimate Rewards points in a broad range of business categories on the first $150K in spend per year. Right now earn 100K Chase Ultimate Rewards points after $15K $8K spend in the first 3 months with a $95 annual fee.

Learn more about this card and its features!

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here