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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 Honors Surpass cardholders will receive complimentary Hilton Honors 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 Honors Diamond status from meeting the spending threshold bonus on my Citi Hilton Honors 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.
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 Honors 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 Honors 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 Honors 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 Honors 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 Honors 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 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 Honors, see these posts: