Posted by sirtheta on May 29, 2017
Credit Card Offers Hilton Honors Surpass 100k and Free Weekend Night

Published on May 29th, 2017 | by sirtheta

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Last Chance To Apply: American Express Hilton Cards – 80k / 100k + Free Night (Expires May 31)

American Express has finally caught up with the Hilton re-brand: they’ve changed the name of their Hilton cards and upped the standard offers.

The Offer

Head to the American Express website, or use these direct links: Hilton Honors, Hilton Honors Surpass. (thanks to reader DDG for reminding me about these links!). Help a reader out by using a referral link instead.

  • Hilton Honors card: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $2,000 within 3 months of account opening.
  • Hilton Honors Surpass card: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 within 3 months of account opening, PLUS earn a free weekend night award after your first anniversary of card membership.
  • Both of these offers can be generated by referral as well. The Hilton Honors card gives 20,000 points per referral, up to 80,000 per year. The Hilton Honors Surpass card gives 25,000 points per referral, up to 80,000 per year.

Hilton Honors Surpass 100k and Free Weekend Night

Upgrade Offers

A lot of people have been able to upgrade to the Surpass card and get a 100,000 point bonus as well. We discuss this in more depth here.

 

Generating Referrals

As a reminder, please do not share referrals in the comments. You can share and use each other’s links here.

 

Matching

As a general rule (with very limited exceptions mostly applying to the SPG cards), American Express does not match offers. However, reader T was able to get 3,000 courtesy points, having recently signed up for the 75,000 points offer. I doubt that American Express will match the weekend free night on the Surpass card, but it can’t hurt to try for some courtesy points on the Hilton Honors card if you recently signed up.

Our Verdict

These bonuses compete with the recent increased referral offers…but there’s a catch for each offer.

The catch for the Hilton Honors card is that the 80,000 bonus points requires $2,000 in spend instead of $1,000 in spend, and you only get an extra 5,000 points. That extra $1,000 in spend is $20 on a 2% card, which isn’t that much less than an extra 8,000 Hilton points (including 3,000 from unbonused spend), even before the recent program changes. And if you really wanted 5,000 more points, $1,000 in spend at a grocery store on this card gives you exactly 5,000 points. Let’s just say I’m not impressed, even if it is technically the highest public offer ever. (Basically, I would stick with the 75,000 bonus points for $1,000 spend offer unless you would put $2,000 on this card anyway. You can use that extra $1,000 in spend for more lucrative signup offers.)

The catch for the Hilton Honors Surpass card is that the free weekend night requires you to keep the card for year 2 and pay the $75 annual fee again. In my opinion, you should easily be able to redeem a free weekend night certificate for much more than $75. This offer is awesome and I’d go for it in a heart beat if I didn’t already have a Surpass.

If you have any questions or comments, please drop them below! If you’re interested in other recent offers on these cards, you can head over to our post “A Spreadsheet of Current & Recent Credit Card Signup Bonuses for Major Issuers”.

As always, we recommend reading through these things everybody should know about American Express credit cards before applying for this card or asking basic questions.

h/t u/ha_ka on r/churning



102 Responses to Last Chance To Apply: American Express Hilton Cards – 80k / 100k + Free Night (Expires May 31)

  1. Jay says:

    The extra $1000 spend on the Hilton card will get you 8000 points, not 5000.

    • sirtheta says:

      Yes, but you would get 3,000 of those 8,000* points whether you spent $2,000 with the 75,000 points for $1,000 offer or the 80,000 points for $2,000 offer. So the only gain is the extra 5,000 points from the signup bonus.

      * assuming we’re talking about unbonused spend, since it does have a generous 5x category.

      I’ll edit this into the post, but: if you’re going to spend $2,000 on it anyway (or MS or whatever), sure, go ahead and get the 80,000 point offer. Stick with the 75,000 point offer if you could hit other minimum spends with that $1,000, though.

      • DSP says:

        But the whole argument of $1k being a better offer revolves around the notion that you’re trying to maximize points/$. You would never put $2k on the card if you took the $1k spend offer. The two scenarios are:

        $2k * 3ppd + 80k = 86k
        OR
        $1k * 3ppd + 75k = 78k

        Personally, I don’t understand this newfound pickiness related to higher spend on cards. At some point, you run out of great offers and start needing to apply for OK offers. Then at some point, you stop getting approved at all because you have so many hardpulls. Then you’re just getting category bonus spend.

        • DSP says:

          If you take this same arguement to the SPG cards – the previous offer was 30k points (incognito) for $3k spend.

          The current offer is 35k points for $5k spend. Well, $2k spend for 5k SPG points isn’t that great either. If you’re looking to maximize points/spend the 30k offer is better. But I see nobody suggesting that.

          • sirtheta says:

            It’s not about maximizing points / spend but rather maximizing the return on the signup bonus as compared to other signup bonuses and spends. I think the SPG cards are very different on multiple fronts.

            1) The 30k SPG incognito offer is no longer available (as far as I know), so if you get the card now your choice is 25k for $3k or 35k for $5k.

            2) The 35k offer is 25k for $3k + add’l 10k for add’l $2k. Because it’s a tiered bonus, you don’t have to spend the extra $2k if you think SPG points aren’t worth it. With the Hilton you have to spend the extra $1k.

            3) SPG points are extremely valuable and are very hard to accrue. Even by conservative estimates (Hilton = 0.5cpp; SPG = 2cpp), they’re worth 4x as much as Hilton points, and you could easily claim 6x and maybe even 8x as valuable. Compare an +10k SPG for +$2k spend [5k / $1k] and +5k Hilton for +$1k spend [5k / $1k]. Using those valuations, SPG is +10% cash back on the +$2k, which is very solid for a signup bonus. Hilton is only +2.5%, which is pretty terrible for a signup bonus.

            4) Even if the choice were 30k for $3k and 35k for $5k, the extra $2k spend for 5k SPG points can be equated to a value of +5% cash back on spending if SPG points are conservatively valued at 2 cpp. That’s compares very favorably with the opportunity cost.

          • DSP says:

            “It’s not about maximizing points / spend but rather maximizing the return on the signup bonus as compared to other signup bonuses and spends”

            I don’t want to argue semantics, but that is exactly the same thing. You’re saying you want the most points / spend on a sign up bonus. I’m saying that I want the most points regardless of spend as long as the delta beats a 2% card, which this Hilton offer does, by $20 according to your valuations above.

            To each their own, but your argument sounds as if it is coming from the perspective of someone very new. When you run out of cards and are no longer able to get the best signup bonuses, you will be wishing you had taken the offer with the most points.

          • sirtheta says:

            It’s not at all the same thing, though! Maximizing points on spend would mean a hypothetical 50k / $500 offer is MUCH better than 75k / $1,000. Maximizing the return on the signup bonus as compared to other signup bonuses & spends would mean that 75k / $1,000 is better. (If we use a valuation of 0.5 cpp, +$500 spend gives us +$125, for +25% cash back. That’s great! Less great at lower valuations, but still not bad at all.)

            Beating a 2% card isn’t really the whole story though. For one, I stated I was being extremely generous in my valuation, and that’s definitely true. Based on the many Hilton redemption options I’ve looked out, I value Hilton points at about 0.33 cpp. That equates to a value of $26.40 for $1,000 in spending, which so barely beats a 2% card that it’s almost laughable. For two, you are disregarding the context of other signup bonuses. Let us work from the premise that most people do not MS (true) and would not put $2,000 in spending on this card if they didn’t have to (true & stated by you). Then, for the $1,000 in spending you could put on this card, you could get any number of signup bonuses, including $200 from 2x BOA cash rewards cards, $250 from a BCE or BCP, 25k MR on the AmEx Green or Gold, etc.

            That’s not to say we should always compare the marginal gains from a different signup bonus with what you could get for that spend (otherwise many signup bonuses would start to look quite bad indeed!). Rather it’s that if a 2% card is at all competitive with the marginal gain from a signup bonus (as compared to a similar signup bonus you could get)…well, that’s when you should start thinking about looking elsewhere!

            I can assure you that my argument is rooted in plenty of experience and that I know my way around quite well. I can also assure you that there’s no way I would ever regret going for 75k / $1k instead of 80k / $2k. The offers with the most points are only any good if the marginal gain in points versus the increased spend is worth it, and that’s definitely not the case here.

          • DSP says:

            “The offers with the most points are only any good if the marginal gain in points versus the increased spend is worth it, and that’s definitely not the case here.”

            And you literally said, 2 posts ago that the 80k offer is $20 better…

          • sirtheta says:

            I think my 2nd and 3rd paragraphs explain very well what I mean by “worth it” and why I judge this offer not “worth it”.

          • DSP says:

            Which assumes that the individual can’t get both this 80k offer and the other cards.

          • sirtheta says:

            That is true, but I think that’s a premise that I think is fair unless you MS or have a high level of organic spending because organic spending is a zero sum game. My opinion is that those two situations do not apply to the churning community (or the readership of this blog) in a general sense. (i.e. while a significant fraction of the people may satisfy either of those two conditions, I believe the vast majority do not.)

          • Anony Mouse says:

            I see your point, however, I think a lot of churners are interested in getting the highest offer for a card because each card might waste a hard pull, and I’d rather get 86k in exchange for a hard pull than 78k. You’re right regarding the points/$ figure, however, that’s not the only significant factor in the decision. For those of us who find MSing pretty easy, doing an extra $3k or $5k is no big deal, and if we get an incremental bonus that’s worth, say $200+ in travel rewards, then the extra spend and extra points might be worth the extra time expended by MSing.

        • sirtheta says:

          Yes, but you *could* put $2,000 in spend on Hilton from the 75k offer, so the extra points are a wash. You have to eliminate the points from spending (or consider the same, highest spend on all offers) or a comparison becomes meaningless—to go into the absurd, a signup bonus of 75k / $2k would be 3k extra points in this scenario. (And if someone wouldn’t put $2,000 in spend on a Hilton from the 75k / $1k offer, then I definitely don’t think they should consider the 80k / $2k offer.)

          I have no problem with higher spend on cards in the abstract, but this offer sucks because there’s an (imo) better one available (were it not available, that’d be different). Compared to 75k / $1k, you spend +$1k and get +8k Hilton points. If you spent $1k on a 2% card you’d get $20. Even if we use TPG’s extremely generous valuation of 0.5 cpp, $1k spend for 8k points has a value of $40—meaning the extra points for this signup bonus equate to +$20. That sucks!

          • ice_corner says:

            The problem with your argument, sirtheta, is the constant inconsistency in your comparison. In your original post, you are comparing the extra signup bonus (5k points) and the normal spend cashback of a 2% card ($20), while in fact, a fair comparison should be 8k points and $20. The same inconsistency exists when you are saying the 75K/$1K bonus is essentially 78K/$2K bonus, thus making the 80K/$2K less attractive. While in fact the 75K/$1K bonus will always be 75K bonus no matter how you spend, just like 80K/$2K bonus will always be 80K bonus, assuming you are able to meet each spending requirement. Let’s assume your 2K are put in regular spending, 75K bonus will give you 81K points, while the 80K bonus will give you 86K points, you are still getting 5K extra in the latter offer. The nature of bonuses is that they are always ADDITIONAL amount of points/money.

            With that said, it is okay to argue putting an extra 1K to get 8K points is not worth it comparing to other alternatives. But the comparison you are trying to make in the article and in the comment section are somewhat confusing and misleading.

          • sirtheta says:

            That’s absolutely correct – when I was writing the article, I forgot to include the extra 3k from spending (since I was talking about a different card instead of a different offer on the same card). I’ve updated the post to correct that error – thanks!

      • chaseaholic says:

        30k SPG incognito is still up

        I pulled it yesterday FYI

        No biz though 🙁

  2. Danielle says:

    If we already have the Surpass, will we be eligible for the free night after our card anniversary?

    These would be killer offers if it wasn’t for the massive Hilton devaluation. There isn’t a single 5-night stay at my intended hotel that falls within the minimum/maximum stated on their website. It’s at least double the minimum a few weeks, often triple, no matter when you look over the course of the next calendar year.

    • sirtheta says:

      The weekend free night certificate is explicitly part of the “welcome offer” (not the benefits), so existing cardholders are SOL 🙁

      (It can’t hurt to ask, but I don’t see it happening.)

  3. Saurabh says:

    I have Hilton hhonors card, I am seeing 100,000 Points offer to upgrade to surpass. Upgrade offer doesn’t offer weekend night certificate. So basically it’s buying of one night certificate in $75 if I decide to not to upgrade & open a new card for surpass.

    • James says:

      Apply for the new Surpass card first to get the free anniversary night with 100k bonus. Then afterwards you can upgrade still your existing regular Honors card to another Surpass to get another 100k bonus. This circumvents the once per lifetime rule. I did it for my Amex Business Platinum by applying and getting the 100k bonus and then upgrading my existing BRG afterwards and getting the 50k upgrade bonus 😉

    • sirtheta says:

      Yes, but you may be able to apply for the Surpass then do an upgrade, which would net you a whole lotta points & a free night. (You want to be sure to copy any relevant upgrade links beforehand, as they may disappear.) It’s possible you could get very unlucky and the upgrade link would disappear entirely, but there’s really nothing to lose from applying for it new from an either/or standpoint.

    • sirtheta says:

      update: the upgrade offer includes “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.” So you will almost certainly not be able to double-dip :/

  4. iahphx says:

    Thanks. I successfully referred my daughter for the Surpass. It’s a good card if you travel. The “devaluation” at Honors is “complicated.” There are definitely fewer fantastic deals, but there are now more opportunities to use your points at a fair price In the past, most properties were overpriced and points were hard to use.

  5. tassojunior says:

    Doesn’t AmEx have a certain maximum number of cards? I’m holding 4 now.

  6. JamesIV says:

    I have the regular Hilton Honors card with the 100k upgrade offer. However I have had the Hilton Surpass card before ( I think 2 years ago).
    Am I still eligible to get the upgrade bonus showing in my account?

  7. mike says:

    Does anyone know if the Surpass free weekend night certificate only available after the first year? Or is it EVERY card-member anniversary (like the Citi Reserve after $10k spend)?

  8. Dave C says:

    Just FYI, I went to book a room 2 nights ago, it was $209 or 42,000 points. Waited until last night to book, same cash price $209, but points was 51,000. Points are NOT directly linked to cash price.

    Posted in Frustration Friday

    • MarcoPolo says:

      IIUC all this for just 2 nights?
      Am I missing something here?
      I had Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card and received 50,000 points but they were only good for one night (40,000 points) and the remaining 15,000 points are just being wasted as I can;t book anything with them now and they will soon expire.

  9. Jerry U says:

    Question about the free weekend night offer with the Surpass card. I just received a free anniversary night with my Chase Marriott card even though my annual fee isn’t due for a few weeks. I am assuming (hopefully correctly) that my free night won’t be taken away when I cancel my card to avoid paying the annual fee. Is there any possibility this would work with the Surpass?

    • sirtheta says:

      There’s a possibility, the same as with Chase. It just depends on when they award it—if it’s 8 weeks after your anniversary, you probably won’t be able to do it.

      Additionally, remember that AmEx gets a bit more pissy than other issuers about things like this, so it may affect your relationship with them.

      • Jerry U says:

        Thanks for your response. Just to clarify, do you think I can “safely” cancel my Marriott card without losing my free night or otherwise incurring the wrath of Chase?

  10. Nate says:

    No idea what Hilton was thinking by calling it Hilton HHonors. That extra H looked out of place.

    I wonder how long it’ll be before Amex changes their card designs for the re-brand. Their links and stock images still have HHonors.

  11. Corridor says:

    I have never applied for the surpass card. I have upgraded the same Hilton card on 2 different occasions and received the upgrade bonus both times. This same card is now back to being a regular Hilton card. Do I have a shot at upgrading or applying for the surpass card?

    TIA

  12. dan says:

    about the free night, can one gift it or book stay for family or friend w/o the acct holder checking in?

  13. dizzy says:

    Oh man, this is sweet. I got the upgrade offer too…since I redeem at lowest level hotels, that means between 2 cards you would get 52 nights (assuming you are booking 5th night free pkgs). Um, win? Heck, I might even go crazy and stay in the odd “category 2” hotel. Guess I’m’a spend some time in Romania and Egypt…

  14. Tyler says:

    Any one know if this free night will be applied to current Surpass holders? This would be awesome and worth $75

  15. T says:

    I recently applied for the no AF Hilton card at 75k. Called in to get “matched” to the 80k. After escalating it to a manager, i could only get them to give me 3k more points as a courtesy credit. Still, 3k more than i was expecting to get till i saw this, so i’ll take it. not too bad 🙂

    • sirtheta says:

      3k out of 5k is really good! I’ll update the post with that information 🙂

      • dan says:

        agreed, seems that amex is more generous with matching nowadays than chase; got CSP &FU in branch for less than 90 days at lower bonus, asked for a match to the higher bonus 70K & 30K pts respectively via phone & sm, but all were shot down by numerous chase rep; thought chase used to be more generous & flexible in the past

  16. jf says:

    Do you have to receive the new card before they start counting the spend? Is there any way to expedite the card? Re: surpass 100k/3k upgrade from reg hhonors amex?

    • sirtheta says:

      According to TPG, your account number & CL remain the same, but your expiration date & security code will change. Charges done using the upgraded card will go through for 45 days, after which you have to use the new card they send you.

      Whether that means the spend will count or not, or whether they’ll expedite the card…I don’t know. I recommend asking customer service 🙂

      • jf says:

        Thank you ST… after 2 chats with amex CS, they remarked the account, and claimed that the 3k bonus spend starts immediately after accepting the upgrade. The card is showing up as Surpass online as well. But, as well all know with amex, sometimes they give misinformation! No option to expedite the card either, and they claimed there was no need to.

  17. brian says:

    so should i upgrade or apply for a new card?

    • sirtheta says:

      In my opinion, the free night (only available for new applications) is worth far more than the annual fee and I would apply for a new card to get that.

      If you didn’t want a new account on your report, or had other considerations related to keeping that specific account open, it’s possible an upgrade would make more sense.

  18. P says:

    I have both a Hilton Honors card and a Hilton Honors Surpass card. But I successfully upgraded Hilton Honors card by the link. This that means I will have two Hilton Honors Surpass cards?

    • Dan says:

      I would double check with amex before you do the spend on the upgraded card. You are likely not eligible to receive the bonus on the upgraded card (the upgrade link has restriction language for those who have or have had the product)

      • P says:

        Thanks for reminding. I didn’t see the restriction language when I upgrading the card. I will still double check with amex tho.

  19. Dan says:

    You can ignore I see this all in the post now

    • sirtheta says:

      no worries, mind if I delete your comments to keep the thread clear?

      • Dan says:

        yep go for it, i think the language in the post could be a little clearer at this part “so it is almost certainly not possible to double-dip with a new Surpass + upgrade offer.” that part is true but i’d also say:

        it is unlikely to be eligible for the upgrade offer if you have had the surpass card, unless you get a specific targeted offer without the restriction language (so people should not use the link if they have had a surpass card before). I think it would be good to specifically add that.

        Since I already initiated my upgrade, I’ll be the data point that sees if its enforced. Thanks!

        • sirtheta says:

          Good point & thanks! I’ve added that in. (I’ll keep this comment thread up for its usefulness 😉 )

          • Dan says:

            Just wanna ping back and say that I did receive the 100k hilton points after meeting the $3k spend. I used the upgrade link with the restrictive language (prior to the no restrictive language link coming out). I also had already received the signup bonus for the surpass card. So it seems at least in my case, the restrictive language on the upgrade offer was not enforced.

  20. P says:

    I’d like to say that I’ve gotten upgrade offers from Citi on my Hilton card, and there’s no upgrade offer bonus. It’s just paying the annual fee now and getting gold status and if I pay the annual fee and spend $10k then next year I will get a weekend night certificate. Whereas Amex most of the time has an upgrade bonus and sometimes the “once in a lifetime” language is not even there.

  21. Jay says:

    I don’t have any hotel credit cards, but I have 2 Amex cards (PRG 10/16 and Blue 7/16). I also got 4 cards (3 HP) in January – Alaska, Merrill, Barclay Aviator, Citi AA – and I’ve just finished my minimum spend on all of them. Fico is 730s. I wanted to try to combine a pull (although I feel like I’ll be rejected from the second). I’ve been going back and forth deciding between SPG + no fee Hilton 75k, or both Hilton cards, or Surpass + another amex card, or SPG + another amex card. Ideally I would’ve wanted to do SPG + Surpass, but 6k-8k is way too much minimum spend for me, I want to try to keep my spend around 4-5k maximum. Any advice?

    • sirtheta says:

      Strictly speaking, you cannot “combine” pulls with AmEx credit cards (with rare exceptions) because a second credit card application is automatically set to pending and re-evaluated later. You can read more at https://www.doctorofcredit.com/brief-time-related-rules-imposed-american-express-chase-citi/. However, American Express may use an existing credit file if you apply within ~30 days, which you can read about at https://www.doctorofcredit.com/amex-credit-card-approvals-without-hard-pull/

      As for what you should do, that depends on your goal. The weekend free night on the Surpass can easily be worth several hundred dollars if played right. But whether that + 100k HHonors outweighs 35k SPG is going to come down to personal preference & how you use the certificate.

      My advice would be to choose one of SPG or Surpass (and remember: the SPG offer ends a month sooner), and possibly to throw in a charge card from an incognito offer. If you do the SPG now, you may also be able to do the Surpass before that offer ends.

  22. TH says:

    I’m new to this and can’t understand why 100,000 HH points is anything fantastic. When I look at the redemption values for HH points for hotels in my area (I live in Central Florida), they all want around a hundred thousand points for a single night at the beach in the summer. I don’t see the value unless you regularly travel & stay at Hilton brands anyway

  23. chuck says:

    I upgraded my wife’s card using the link, but now that we’ve chatted with Amex, they don’t show any bonus code. The upgrade seemed to go through, and no language about previously having had the card (which she did). Not sure where to go from here. If nothing good happens, I guess we’ll just undo the upgrade, we apparently have another couple weeks.

    • VG says:

      Did you check again? Amex CS usually asks to check after 48 hrs to see if bonus is tagged to your account or not. thanks !

      • Chuck says:

        This time they found it! Cool. As an aside, did you know that chatting with Amex you want to start the chat session from the card you’re asking about? You can be looking at another card once you’re chatting, but it apparently facilitates them finding the relevant card (assuming you’ve got 10 on your acct) if you are looking at it when you chat.

  24. howard says:

    I have a question about the amount of referral bonus you can get per year. The terms say you can get 80,000 points per year. Is it per individual or per card (i.e. if you have both the no AF card and the surpass the max would then be 160,000)?

  25. Dan says:

    Just wanna ping back and say that I did receive the 100k hilton points after meeting the $3k spend. I used the upgrade link with the restrictive language (prior to the no restrictive language link coming out). I also had already received the signup bonus for the surpass card. So it seems at least in my case, the restrictive language on the upgrade offer was not enforced.

  26. Dan says:

    Just kinda curious actually, is there any chance that the rebranding of the card from HHonors to Honors actually counts as a new product in Amex’s system. You would think not, but I don’t know what kind of criteria they use to determine if you’ve had the card and received the bonus before. Could be at least possible that a name change of the card actually leads to the creation of a new “product”…

  27. ZHEYU LI says:

    i clicked the upgrade link. and it doesnt show 100Kbonus words on it. I dont know what is going on? Can i use that link?

  28. adam d says:

    I am new to hotel bonuses but have done around 30 or so airline and other travel cc bonuses. How does the free night after first year of card membership work and cost? Is it you pay the $75 when opening card, then $75 again to access free night? So $150 basically for 1 free night only plus the 100k points is the bonus for the surpass? Any idea on how long the spg offers are going to be around, I just signed up for spg personal but want to get a spg biz before they disappear.

  29. TJ says:

    Bit the bullet and applied. Got approved instantly and it asked me if I wanted to see my card details. I clicked yes so I could add it to Apple Pay but something went wrong and it went to a blank page. But at least I’m approved. That’s 5 regular cards so that beats the 4 limit you have posted on your Amex facts page.

  30. Nick says:

    Just got approved, thanks DOC! Is it possible to generate a referral link immediately after getting approved or do you have to wait until the card arrives?

  31. TG says:

    Tempting, but I’m not sure if the extra 1 weekend night is worth it to me now. To maximize the value of it, you’d have to go to a high end property, which I wouldn’t want to pay for a second night with points or cash. And I almost never stay at a city for only 1 night so that means switching hotels right after which would be a big pain.

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