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Hilton HHonors Amex Surpass Cardmembers Receive Automatic Hilton HHonors Gold Status

by on November 12, 2013 · 16 comments

in Hilton

Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.

Update: The offer mentioned below for the Business Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.

With all of the devaluation stories going around, I’m happy to be writing about a new perk/benefit that isn’t coming at the cost of losing another. Hilton and American Express announced that as of November 10, 2013, Hilton HHonors Surpass cardholders will receive complimentary Hilton HHonors Gold status.

 Hilton HHonors Surpass Card members will now get complimentary gold status.

Hilton HHonors Surpass Card members will now get complimentary Gold status.

Previously, cardholders got Gold status for just the first year of card membership, but if they wanted it after that, they’d have to make $20,000 or more in eligible purchases each year, so this new benefit waives that spending requirement and seems to be Amex playing catch-up with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, which awards cardholders with automatic Gold status and Diamond status after spending $40,000 per year, which the Surpass card does as well.

Although I have Hilton HHonors Diamond status from meeting the spending threshold bonus on my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card last year, this is a good way for people who want to fast track to Gold – and you’ll save $20 by getting this card instead of the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve because the annual fee is $75 compared to the Citi card’s $95 one. However, if you can spend $10,000 a year, the free weekend night award (good at almost any Hilton Hotel & Resort, including the Conrad Maldives where I am now) can catapult the Citi Hilton Reserve card way ahead of the Surpass.

Hilton Gold

Gold status normally requires 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 base points in a calendar year.

While it is not a huge change, Hilton Gold is arguably the best mid tier hotel status. It is normally achieved after 20 stays, 40 nights, or 75,000 base points within a calendar year.

  • 25% bonus on all the HHonors base points you earn on stays
  • Brand specific perks like upgrades and a choice of either a 1,000 point amenity or a complimentary continental breakfast for you and up to one additional guest registered to the same room each day of your stay.
  • Late check-out.
  • Complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs.
  • Two complimentary bottles of water per stay (at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn and Hilton Grand Vacations hotels).
  • Complimentary WiFi during stays at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels and Hilton Grand Vacations.

The potential for room upgrades plus those bonus points (learn more about how to maximize your HHonors points earning) and the free internet are definite pluses in my book. Especially in Europe where internet can cost you in the neighborhood of 20 EUR a day, that could be huge savings. You can find the full list of Gold benefits here.

This is the second opportunity to HHonors to leap to Gold in recent weeks. Hilton announced a promotion on November 4 offering cardholders of the American Express Platinum card, the Business Platinum card and the Mercedes-Benz Platinum card an instant upgrade to Hilton HHonors Gold status when they call customer service now through December 31, 2013, and that status should be good through 2014.

In May, Amex also added restaurants as a bonus category, so cardmembers can now earn 6X the HHonors points per $1 at US restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets and upped the earning per $1 on Hilton spending to 12X points – beating out the Citi HHonors Reserve, which only offers 10X points per $1 at Hilton. Below is the breakdown of how to earn with the Hilton Surpass Card.

The breakdown of the Hilton awards.

The breakdown of the Hilton Surpass Card earnings.

The latest positive announcement comes in the wake of recent devaluations by Hilton including the news that the hotel chain is discontinuing the ability to earn Points + Fixed Miles as a double dip option as of January 6, 2014. While this isn’t nearly as debilitating as the major program devaluation from earlier this year that nearly doubled some aspirational award night points requirements, nor the AXON award devaluation for Hilton Amex cardholders from April, it’s still always bad news when a loyalty program takes away choices from its members, many of whom are now going to have to reevaluate their earning strategy with the chain and decide whether to keep their business with Hilton or take it to another program.

This is also just one more reason why I’m not sticking with Hilton past this year. While I am currently enjoying a stay at the Conrad Maldives I booked using points before the devaluation went into place last spring, you won’t find me hanging out at too many Hiltons in the future. But if it’s your chain and you’re thinking about getting a co-branded credit card, the Surpass is looking a lot more attractive now.

For more information on Hilton HHonors, see these posts:

Instant Hilton HHonors Gold Status For American Express Platinum Cardholders

Hilton American Express Cards Bonus Spending Category Changes Go Into Effect

Hilton HHonors Offers Elites Expedited 2015 Requalification

Another Hilton Devaluation HHonors Discontinues Points And Fixed Miles Earning Options

Are The Maldives Worth It? Short Answer Absolutely Yes

Reminder: Hilton Axon Award Levels Changing Friday June 15

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Susan

    You say you are not sticking with Hilton past this year…. can you share which chain will be taking its place for you?

  • http://travelwithgrant.com/ Grant

    Does the Amex Surpass have forex fees? The Citi Reserve doesn’t. Reserve is better for international Hilton stays.

  • GuestA

    Amex surpass does have forex fees, it’s 2.75. But if you’re using points for hotel stay, it wont matter.

  • phil

    Seems the Surpass only gives you Gold the 1st year. The Reserve gives you Gold as long as you keep the card. Right? Plus 2 free weekend nights are worth a lot more than 50K pts.

  • FlyingJoey

    AmEx Plat membership will also get you HH Gold status. No forex.

  • bote

    is the 10k spend free night calendar hear or card year?

  • thepointsguy

    That’s what has changed – the Surpass now offers Gold status as long as you’re a cardmember.

  • thepointsguy

    Card year.

  • bote

    thank you!

  • joeypore

    Amex Plat only giving HH Gold as a promo right now… It’s not a straight up feature of the card.

    Hopefully it will be though…

  • joeypore

    The Hilton HHonors program is way too inflated for me at this point. Looking at those large numbers of points that you need for one night… even though HHonors points are easier to earn… it’s just daunting.

    HHonors Gold has been immensely valuable to me, as it’s saved me quite a bit of money, and I’ll probably end up getting the Reserve card, coz who couldn’t use another free night cert? But other than that… Hilton’s losing my loyalty as well.

    It really makes it that much easier to go Hyatt (my all-time favorite chain…though a little disappointing to see the deval)

  • Kalboz

    Also, the AMEX HH Surpass is $95 annual fee while the Citibank HH Reserve Visa is $75 annually. Further, with the HH devaluation, the two free nights offered by the Citicard could be worth much more the 65K HH points offered by AMEX.

  • Bonnie Jones

    Points guy, can you please tell me if the upgrade to Gold status works with the American Express Delta Platinum card, or just a plain American Express Platinum card?

  • Ash N

    I clicked on the Surpass link and it still shows that “complimentary hilton Hhonors gold access for the first year”. Am I missing something or is this the wrong link in the post?

  • Will

    Unless I’m missing something, as long as you’re going to spend 10k then the Citi Reserve is better after the first year. Am I correct? My wife got both this time last year and trying to decide which to cancel(assuming nothing offered for retention)

  • Adam

    How much are the point valuations worth on the hilton surpass. It’s one thing to see a high redemption, but what are the 3x up to 12x points worth in percentages?

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