The Hilton Honors Surpass from American Express is looking to top itself. The card recently brought back its sign-up bonus of 100,000 points — matching its biggest previous offer — and sweetened the pot with an additional free weekend night reward certificate on the first anniversary of card membership.
What can you do with 100,000 Hilton Honors points?
Here are a few ideas:
- A two-night stay at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas.
- Two tickets to a sold-out Billy Joel concert in Los Angeles.
- A trip to see Tibetan antelopes at a nature reserve in China plus two nights and breakfast at the Doubletree Hilton Qinghai-Golmud.
And, the card grants holders Hilton Honors Gold Status, which comes with the additional benefit of getting every fifth night free when you book stays of five nights or more using points.
The catch? You have to spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months to get the points bonus and there’s a $75 annual membership fee. The offer expires May 31, 2017.
Who should consider this card
The 100,000 sign-up bonus is worth far more than the annual fee. But what about after the first year? Is the card still worth keeping?
If you like to travel, want to earn rewards towards more travel and are OK with staying exclusively at properties within the Hilton portfolio, this could be a great card to keep in your wallet.
Here’s how the rewards break down:
- Earn 12 points for every dollar spent at a participating Hilton property.
- Earn six points on grocery, gas and restaurants
- All other purchases earn three points per dollar.
- Get 500 bonus points when you book and pay for your Hilton hotel stay.
A family that drives to a Hilton-owned property and eats most of their meals at the hotel, could potentially earn enough points to cover their next hotel stay. Or a road-warrior who can put their travel expenses on their card and get reimbursed is also likely to benefit.
A standout feature of Hilton Honors points is that there are no blackout dates when redeeming for hotel stays. Any night there’s a room available is fair game, although the number of points required per night is linked to the cash value so weekends and holidays will typically cost more points than other nights.
If this card isn’t for you
Those who don’t want the hassle of meeting a high minimum spend or paying an annual premium, should consider the Surpass’ sister card, the Hilton Honors Card from American Express, which has no fee and a slightly lower 80,000 point bonus if you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first three months. The points you’ll earn also are lower at seven points per dollar spent at Hilton properties and five points at grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants. All other purchases earn three points per dollar.
Depending on how you spend and travel, you might get more value out of another type travel credit card so it pays to do the research before signing up for this one.
Keep in mind that the Hilton Honors Surpass card and the Hilton Honors card charge foreign transaction fees, so if you plan on traveling internationally, you might be better off using a card without this surcharge.