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Double down: Why it makes sense to get the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Business credit cards

Oct. 26, 2021
7 min read
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There are two schools of thought in the world of travel rewards — and both hold weight.

If you're in the market for a new credit card, on one hand, you may want to diversify what's already in your wallet by getting a card that earns a different type of rewards currency. Whether it’s airline miles, hotel points or transferable credit card points, all are subject to significant and sudden changes — and you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket, as they say.

But on the other hand, it also makes sense to double down on a specific program, as TPG's Eric Rosen explains. Perhaps you're looking to accumulate points or miles with a particular currency in a hurry or are attracted to complementary earning rates on two cards that fall within the same family.

Whatever the reason, doubling down with two cards that earn the same points or miles can be incredibly valuable. Today, we’ll take a look at two Hilton cards that may be worth applying for in tandem: the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.

Here's a closer look at why these two mid-tier Hilton cards are worth having in your wallet.

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Generous welcome bonuses

First, let's point out the obvious: The Hilton Surpass card is a $95 annual fee consumer card (see rates and fees) while the $95-per-year Hilton Business card (see rates and fees) is, well, intended for business customers.

But remember, you don’t have to have an office with dozens of employees to apply for a business card. A side hustle or consulting gig may be more than enough to qualify you for a small-business card. And both cards are currently offering a generous welcome bonus.

The Hilton Surpass currently is offering 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Those welcome offer points equate to $780 in value, based on TPG’s most recent valuations.

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Meanwhile, the Hilton Business card is offering a similar bonus: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Plus you can earn a Free Night Reward after you spend $10,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership.

In total, there is the potential to earn up to 260,000 Hilton points with these two welcome bonuses. That's a lot of spending ($20,000 in six months) but even if you only spend $2,000 on the Hilton Surpass and $5,000 on the Hilton Business cards within the initial three-month period, that's 260,000 Hilton points, worth $1,560 according to TPG valuations.

Related: Better together: An ultimate guide to the best credit card pairings

Complementary earning rates

(Photo by Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images)

With either the Hilton Honors Amex Business card or the Hilton Surpass card, you’ll earn 12 points per dollar on eligible purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, which gives you a solid 7.2% return according to TPG valuations.

The Hilton Business card also earns 6 Hilton points per dollar on a wide array of categories including:

  • U.S. gas stations.
  • Wireless phone services purchased from U.S. providers.
  • U.S. shipping purchases.
  • U.S. restaurants.
  • Flights booked directly with airlines or through the Amex portal.
  • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies.

Meanwhile, the Hilton Surpass earns 6 Hilton points per dollar at:

You’ll also get 3 points per dollar spent on other eligible purchases with both Hilton cards.

While there is some overlap in terms of bonus categories, the biggest perk is that you'll earn 6x points on a total of seven unique categories by having both of these cards, including common everyday purchases at gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets.

The Hilton Surpass exclusively offers 6 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, while the Hilton Business card exclusively offers 6 points per dollar on U.S. wireless phone services, U.S. shipping purchases, flights booked directly with airlines and rental cars booked directly with select car rental companies.

Related: Hot take: Why doubling down on one rewards program may be better than diversifying

Double up your Priority Pass visits

The Priority Pass-accessible Air France lounge at New York-JFK. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Both the Hilton Surpass and Hilton Business cards offer 10 complimentary Priority Pass entrances to airport lounges every year. Since these entrances are tied to your specific credit card, you should be able to double up on this — and get 20 Priority Pass entrances per year. Enrollment is required.

If you’re a semifrequent traveler who goes through an airport with a Priority Pass lounge a handful of times a year, this is a great perk that won’t break the bank like similar benefits on premium travel rewards credit cards.

Other perks

Breakfast is included as a Hilton Gold member. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

With both of these cards, you can enjoy a wide assortment of additional perks.

Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold elite status: With Gold status, you’ll earn an 80% points bonus on Hilton stays, the fifth night free on award redemptions, elite-tier rollover nights, complimentary breakfast at all hotels, room upgrades (when available) and more. When you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year, you receive Hilton Diamond status.

Free night reward: You can earn a free night reward when you spend $15,000 in a calendar year.

The Hilton Business card exclusively offers a second free night reward if you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.

Travel protections: Baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance, roadside assistance and access to the Global Assist Hotline are all included with both of these cards.

Bottom line

At just a $95 annual fee per year for the Hilton Surpass card and $95 per year for the Hilton Business card, there are some valuable benefits to having one — or both — of these cards in your wallet. From generous welcome bonuses to complementary earning rates, it pays to consider doubling down with these two cards.

If you're looking at redeeming Hilton points, remember you can also transfer points from an Amex Membership Rewards account to top off your balance.

Application link: Hilton Honors Amex Business available with 130,000 bonus points and a free night reward
Application link: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card available with 130,000 bonus points

For rates and fees of the Hilton Business card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, click here.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023