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Last year, American Express partnered with the HHilton Honors program to introduce a co-branded credit card, the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express.
Designed to appeal to frequent travelers and people loyal to the Hilton Family of hotels, the card is a true credit card, not an American Express charge card, with an intro APR of 2.9% for the first six months and 15.24% variable after that.
If you frequently travel and prefer to stay in Hilton Family hotels, this card offers generous rewards. In addition to hotel stays, you can redeem your rewards on merchandise and gift cards or special experiences. Just like any American Express card, the list of benefits for this card goes on and on.
However, if you have good-to-excellent credit, better credit cards -- with a 0% intro APR, no annual fee and rewards you can spend any place -- are available. The CreditShout staff suggests you consider the Discover More or Discover Open Road cards for great travel rewards.
How this Card Works
The Hilton HHonors Surpass card is a travel rewards credit card issued by American Express with a generous rewards program. You can apply securely online at the American Express website and, as with other American Express cards, pay your bills and manage your account easily online.
In addition to the rewards program, you can step up to different “tiers” of benefits depending on how much you spend with your card each year.
As a CardMember, you automatically enjoy Hilton HHonors VIP Silver status, which gives you a 15% bonus credit on all HHonors points and other special privileges.
For the first year with your Hilton HHonors Surpass from American Express, you get a free upgrade to Gold VIP status for upgraded hotel accommodations (when available), free entry into fitness centers during your stay, and special VIP-only rewards offers.
Plus, you get 25% bonus credit on all base Hhonors points earned. After the first year, you can maintain your Gold VIP status simply by charging $20,000 or more on your card each calendar year.
When your eligible spending reaches $40,000 for a calendar year, you receive an automatic upgrade to HHonors Diamond VIP status. This status provides:
- A 50% bonus credit on all HHonors Base points earned
- 48-hour reservation guarantee
- Access to the Executive Floor lounge
- All the benefits of Gold and Silver VIP status
Automatic Silver VIP status, complimentary Gold VIP status for a year, and an opportunity to upgrade to Diamond VIP status is just the start of the benefits you receive with this card.
American Express is known for its generous benefits programs. The Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express provides:
- Discounted rates on EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffered Services, available in 650 cities around the world.
- Free Priority Pass membership ($99 value), which provides access to more than 500 airport lounges for a fee of just $27 per person
- Access to American Express's Global Assist Hotline
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Lost or stolen baggage insurance
- 100% purchase protection
- Extended warranty coverage of up to 1 year
- Full fraud liability coverage
So let's get down to the nitty-gritty. How do the travel rewards work?
Hilton HHonors starts you off with 40,000 bonus points after your first purchase, enough to redeem for up to four free nights in a Hilton Family hotel. Bonus points required range from 7,500 points for a night at an Opportunity Category hotel, 10,000 for a Category 1 hotel, and up to 40,000 points for a Category 6 hotel.
After that, you can earn 2,500 HHonors bonus points for each of your first Hilton Family hotel stays that cost more than $100 during your first 18 months as a CardMember. That's up to 20,000 points -- enough for another two free nights.
Normally, you earn 9 HHonors bonus points for every dollar you spend at Hilton Family hotels, including meals, gift shop purchases and hotel stays. You earn 6 HHonors bonus points per dollar on everyday purchases at gas stations, drugstores, grocery stores, as well as on telecommunications purchases (excluding purchases at warehouse clubs and superstores). Regular purchases not eligible for 6 bonus points earn 3 bonus points per dollar.
In addition to redeeming your points for hotel stays (an earning bonus points in the process) you can also redeem points for:
- Shopping and dining through the Hilton HHonors Rewards Store
- Airline miles through 50 participating airlines
- Special, once-in-a-lifetime experiences
There is a $75 annual fee for this card, which is much lower than many American Express cards.
- Earn up to 40,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points with your first purchase
- Redeem points for airline miles, hotel stays, merchandise or gift cards and special experiences
- Complimentary Gold VIP status the first year
- Opportunity to upgrade to Diamond VIP status for more benefits
- Extensive list of benefits
- $75 annual fee
- Introductory APR is not zero
- Relatively high variable APR after six-month introductory period