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Hilton HHonors Surpass Amex 60,000 Point Bonus

by on February 13, 2012 · 40 comments

in American Express, Credit Cards, Hilton

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American Express is now offering a fairly lucrative bonus (at least, compared to past offers) of 60,000 points for its Hilton HHonors Surpass card.

The current Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass card bonus of 60,000 points.

The Past Offer

I wrote about the Hilton HHonors Surpass card in a Sunday Reader post from this summer. At the time, the card offered a bonus of 40,000 points after the first purchase, and 2,500 bonus points for each of your first eight eligible stays at Hilton when the stay was paid for with the Surpass card within the first 18 months of membership. Eight stays just to earn 20,000 HHonors points was a bit onerous if you ask me, but the card carried other perks for Hilton loyalists that might have made it worth it (I’ll get to that below).

The Current Offer

Those who apply for the card now:
-Earn 40,000 HHonors bonus points with their first purchase.
-20,000 more HHonors points when they spend $3,000 or more within the first three months.
In my opinion, meeting a general minimum spend requirement is a lot easier than the conditions of the previous offer where you had to specifically use the card to stay at Hilton properties.

Benefits

Cardholders earn:
-9 points per dollar on Hilton spend.
-6 points per dollar on grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations, home and wireless phone, cable and satellite TV, and Internet service providers (less returns).
-3 points per dollar on all other spend.
-500 bonus points when the card is used to make Hilton bookings online..
-Complimentary Gold status (room upgrades, free internet, 25% point bonus on Hilton stays) for the first year, and each subsequent year with $20,000 in annual spend.
-Diamond status (upgrades, club access, free internet, room guarantee, amenities) if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year.
-Priority Pass membership valued at $99 (but you still have to pay for lounge visits at $27 per person)
-PointStretcher reduced awards, elite-only access awards.

Card benefits listed on Hilton's site.

Drawbacks

-The card carries a $75 annual fee, which is not waived for the first year.
-It also charges foreign transaction fees, and I find Hilton awards to be expensive and that their award chart is highly skewed towards expensive categories -There are very few low category hotels I’d want to stay in, versus Hyatt and Starwood, which have some real gems.

Redemptions

With the full 60,000-point bonus, per the chart below, that’s enough to stay in any non-Waldorf Astoria property for a night like the Hilton San Diego Del Mar (Category 5, 35,000 points) or the Conrad Maldives (Category 7, 50,000 points), and two nights in hotels up to category 4 like the DoubleTree Atlanta Galleria (30,000 points per night).

The Hilton Honors Categories Awards Chart.

It’s also enough to stay at any Waldorf Astoria except the Grand Wailea on Maui for a free night in low season, and any Waldorf Astoria except the Grand Wailea and the one in the Maldives in high season.

The Spend Scenario

Let’s say you spend $20,000 on the card the first year (so you have your gold status extended) with the following breakdown:
-$4,000 at Hiltons on ten stays: So 4,000 x 9 points each spent at Hilton, plus 10 stays x 500 bonus points each = 41,000 points
-$12,000 on gas, groceries and utilities like phone and cable: 12,000 x 6 points each = 72,000 points
-$4,000 on other things: 4,000 x 3 HHonors points on all other spend = 12,000 points.

So your spending earned you 125,000 HHonors points. Add in your 40,000 point first purchase bonus and the extra 20,000 points from meeting your minimum spend, and you’ve got 185,000 HHonors points.

You could use those for a free three-night stay at a Category 7 hotel, which costs 50,000 points for a free night redemption, like the Conrad Tokyo where rates start at $475 in March saving you $1,425, or the Hilton Bentley Miami South Beach where rates start at $499 in March saving you $1,497, and still have 35,000 HHonors points left over.

If you wanted to take the family to Disney World or Universal Studios Orlando, you could redeem those points for 6 room nights at a Category 4 hotel like the Embassy Suites Orlando Downtown for a total of 180,000 HHonors points, where rates start at $215 in March, saving $1,290.

Verdict

With this latest offer, it seems like Hilton and Amex are upping their game in a few ways. First of all by matching more lucrative recent bonus offers from competitors like Marriott, and second, by playing around with the minimum spend requirements to find the right sweet spot to attract both more customers, and more high-yield customers.

There are some definite drawbacks to the card, like the lack of great low-level redemption properties, but the bonuses cardmembers earn with Hilton stays, as well as the general spend categories bonuses might make it worth it to Hilton loyalists.

Hat tip: TPG reader Britt.

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.

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  • Gpapadop

    I have had the no fee AMEX for years and easily doing $20k on coins to keep the Gold status going….I may do this one next year to keep Gold for an additional year (as the one from that Signature Russian cc will expire). Do we apply for this one as a new card or do we need to call in to “upgrade” from the no fee AMEX? If upgrade, do we get the opening bonus or not? Never really looked into this…

    And for the Citibank Hilton Visas: Are there are TWO different cards out there? I have also had the no fee Hilton Visa for years and would not mind getting the 2nd one for the opening bonus…Or there are just two different offers for the same card? Some clarification would be appreciated. If it is thorough, I will likely use your ref links:-)

    Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I just got the other american express hilton hhonors card – no fee for the first year, silver status, and 60,000 points after spending $750. That would seem to be a better point offer than this card – though it does not give gold. https://www262.americanexpress.com/apisites/microsite/apply/hilton-hhonors-card/71-1000-112

  • Guest
  • http://twitter.com/jamucsb Jamison

    love the signup bonus! I am staying at the Doubetree Hotel Centraal Station (formerly Mint Hotel) right now using points+cash….. used 17,500 HHonors points + 30EUR thats usually 177EUR(Tax included) a night! As a HHonors Diamond VIP guest, I was upgraded to their King Master Suite, which is going for 1,227EUR !

  • james

    anyone know if you hold the no fee Hilton Amex, whether you can apply and receive the Surpass as well?

  • Nick E

    Just a quick note that the 500 bonus points for booking online applies to ALL Amex cards. I constantly book Hilton hotels using my corporate Amex and get the 500 bonus points each time. I don’t think this has to do with my Diamond status, but I’m not positive.

  • http://twitter.com/windycityflo Windycityflo

    I got this card in January. I was already Gold through March 2013 due to last years Visa signature promotion. But now due to this card, I am Gold through March 2014.

  • Alan Fowler

    How do Hilton properties stack up in Italy? I’m taking a trip this Spring, and I’m hoping to utilize points, including a credit card sign-up bonus, if necessary.

  • http://twitter.com/ez005799 Christopher P.

    You can also get his same surpass card via a referal from an existing memeber and the existing member gets 20k bonus points, the new member gets 60k plus gold. so if you already have the card be sure to refer your friends, the 20k deal ends today

  • M Pranivong

    I got the Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines miles – 35,000 miles transfer to 70,000 Hilton points, $79 annual fee not wait, $1000 spend in 4 months.
    https://www.applyonlinenow.com/USCCapp/Ctl/entry?sc=VAA7C8&mboxSession=1327870560977-676320

  • benFlys

    You totally missed it on not posting info on GLON (elite) and AXON (amex cardholder) discount redemptions! A first year cardholder would have acxess to both. Through these programs offer significant savings on redemption over what you have listed.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hilton-hhonors/1225861-making-sense-hilton-reward-options-axon-glon-everything-else.html

  • http://twitter.com/mgalicki Mike Galicki

    Wow, thanks. Now if I could just find someone who is signing up today. Let me refer you! :-) All I need is your email address and I get 20k points for free. Wonder if TPG will let me send people $20 paypal as a bounty…..

  • http://twitter.com/ez005799 Christopher P.

    If he does can you share the wealth. i was lucky enough to find 3 to refer to hope they all got approved

  • Anonymous

    Definitely share the wealth! This isn’t even one of my referral links so I’d rather see TPG readers getting something out of it

  • http://twitter.com/ez005799 Christopher P.
  • Iolaire

    Question how does the priority pass membership work? Should I look for another card? I recently got the card (and didn’t spend much time on the paperwork) and might have overlooked any priority pass information.

  • http://twitter.com/ez005799 Christopher P.

    the priority pass sends you a priority pass card that is linked to your amex card. you can look up on the priority website if the airport has any participating lounges and then if you go in and show your priority pass card and go in they will automaticly charge your amex card 27 for the visit. i checked and at lax it is very limited might be better elsewhere

  • Dan

    I think so. I’ve attached the The T&C on the Surpass card. Lots of it refers to the Surpass product line specifically, but then says this: “Cardmembers who have previously earned a First Purchase Bonus from any Hilton HHonors Card from American Express earn the difference between 40,000 Bonus Points and the number of First Purchase Bonus Points previously earned.” The interesting thing is that the current offer for the free card is “60,000 points after spending $750 in the first three months.” There is *no* first purchase bonus for that card, so it looks like you should net 120,000 between the two.

    ***
    To earn a First Purchase Bonus of up to 40,000 Hilton HHonorsTM Bonus Points (Bonus Points), you must make your first eligible purchase with the Hilton HHonorsTM Surpass® Card from American Express (Card) within one year of the date your Card account was opened. Limited to one First Purchase Bonus per Card account. Only first-time Hilton HHonors Surpass Cardmembers are eligible to earn a First Purchase Bonus of up to 40,000 Bonus Points. Cardmembers who have previously earned a First Purchase Bonus from any Hilton HHonors Card from American Express earn the difference between 40,000 Bonus Points and the number of First Purchase Bonus Points previously earned. Allow 8-12 weeks for Bonus Points to be credited to your Hilton HHonors account. Bonus Points do not count toward elite tier qualification.

  • guest

    when i click your link it takes me to a page that shows only 50k bonus and no breakdown of it

  • Travis Swanson

    For those of you that already have the no-fee card. – If you log into your account and then search for the Surpass Card (via Google or another search engine), you will receive an offer of 50K points after you spend 3K. Rumor has it that it does not give you a hit on your credit report.

  • http://twitter.com/ez005799 Christopher P.

    I upgraded last october to the surpass and got the 50k for 3k spend, they did not do a credit pull since it was a card upgrade not a new application

  • MarkJ

    I am an SPG PLatinum and I have been thinking of adding a second Hotel Program.

    I am intrigued by the spend $40,000 on the Surpass Card and become Diamond. If I understand this correctly I could charge my income tax quarterly estimates and generate the $40,000 in annual spend. I would pay about $940 in convenience fees for the charge and I would get [3 point per dollar charged on my card?] 120,000 Hilton Points.

    I have seen estimates of the value of the points at .7 cents/per point when taking into consideration the special prices they give AMEX card/Elite status holders on redemptions. S0 maybe over $800 in net value in the points generated by charging my tax payments.

    This would put the net cost of Diamond status in the $100-150 range each year which seems like a good value to me.

    Of course I am totally open to the idea that my thinking is flawed.

    Comments?

  • http://twitter.com/ez005799 Christopher P.

    I think you might be able to do better than .7 cents per pt, one benefit of having the amex card is the access to AXON awards, you can get 4 nights in a cat 7 hotel with the amex card for 145k. Three are many cat 7 properties that gofor 350 a night so you are closer to 1 cent per point.

  • Sanrafaelca

    Travis, Sir,

    Thank you for your Surpass comment. I never knew thist card existed, or that I could combine it with my recent no fee $750 spend Amex HH card. I was approved seconds ago for the card and I wanted to thank you for your post!!

  • http://twitter.com/mgalicki Mike Galicki
  • Scott

    So if you’ve already got Gold Status, they’ll tack another year onto it?

  • Puppydogs

    60k is a nice bonus. However, I have noticed that most decent hotels require approx 30k points per night. What makes this deal less appealing is that those hotels that require 30k points retail for only $100 per night.

  • Travis Swanson

    Not a problem. Sure worth upgrading. – $75 is easily worth 50K points and Gold status for a year to me.

  • http://www.travelandcredit.com/ Travel and Credit

    This is definitely improved from the previous offer! For me though, Hilton HHonors points & their credit cards are my last resort on my applications. I think I’ll have a few Hilton cards (or cards that transfer to Hilton like BOA & Virgin) in churns maybe at the end of this year, but they’re a low priority for me.

  • Guest

    It’s actually no fee period. I have this card and it was a good deal.

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  • Jfadds

    your link for the new card does not work

  • Gpapadop

    So you received a new card WITH a different cc number?? I have several vendors going through the non fee amex and would hate to redo them:-) Thanks a lot for the reply!

    I wonder how easy it is then to downgrade to the no fee card when the annual fee comes due…Anyone knows?

  • Anonymous

    AMEX has really gone downhill, with the uselessness of MR, and these points which will get u…. one frickn night at a somewhat nice hotel. what a joke AMEX has become, plus the FX fees on almost all of their cards? Why would anyone use AMEX

  • http://twitter.com/windycityflo Windycityflo

    Too be fair, I am making an assumption. It’s the only way I can see why I got a new card.

  • Jblaze9

    If you’re going to Venice the Molino Stucky Hilton is awesome, definitely use points though it was about $500 / night when I went. I stayed at the Hilton Milan too, it was ok but a little out of the action, it’s best feature is that it is close to the main train station.

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