Top 7 Benefits of the New Hilton Surpass Special Offer

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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

I wrote a month and a half ago that American Express would be renaming their ‘Honors Ascend Card’ to bring back the old Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card name.

Well, they’ve done so and they’ve done it with the best-ever initial bonus for what’s one of the best American Express rewards cards and certainly among the best value rewards cards they offer.

Here are the 7 things I especially value about this card:

  • Limited-time offer for more points. You can earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $4,000 on the new card within 4 months. (American Express tells me this limited time offer will run through August 28, 2019).

  • A free night is part of the initial bonus, too. In addition to those points when you meet the minimum spend in the time allotted you will receive a free weekend night reward as well. The points offer is increased, and they’re topping it off with a free night that itself could be worth nearly as many points as the usual offer for this card — making this in my opinion more than double the value they usually offer.

  • Complimentary Gold status. To me Gold status is the sweet spot in the Hilton program, it comes with breakfast and Hilton doesn’t exclude brands from honoring that benefit either.

  • Get another free night each year. Each year you spend $15,000 on the card you’ll earn a weekend night reward, which makes using the card certainly worthwhile.

  • Spend for Diamond. You can get top tier with their more expensive premium card, but this $95 annual fee card (See Rates & Fees) will give you Diamond status, the highest in the Honors program, after just $40,000 in spend in a year. That isn’t credit towards Diamond, it’s actual Diamond with card spend. I’ve spent $40,000 in a year for Diamond on this card in the past.

  • Priority Pass airport lounge access. This is the only sub-$100 annual fee card that comes with a Priority Pass membership and includes 10 free visits each year.

  • Purchase protections. This card offers extended warranty (up to 2 years additional coverage on top of what product manufacturers offer for qualifying purchases), returning protection (coverage when a merchant won’t accept qualifying items back that you want to return), and purchase protection (coverage for accidental damage or theft of recent purchases). With Citi eliminating these sorts of protections it’s worth noting that this American Express card comes with them.

Conrad Koh Samui

American Express limits you to an initial card bonus once per card type. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card isn’t a ‘new product’ but if you haven’t had it before (or Amex doesn’t show you as having had it when you ask) this is the best offer I have ever seen for the product. You want to apply for American Express cards when they have their best-ever offers, since you get only shot bonus per card type.

Surpass was the name of Hilton’s premium co-brand American Express card since it went live in February 2009. With the re-upped Hilton deal that went exclusive with American Express (and ended Hilton’s co-brand relationship with Citi), a new more premium card was introduced and Surpass was renamed with improved benefits. They’ve decided to resurrect the Surpass name.

Conrad New York

By the way there’s also an improved offer for the no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card, a 90,000 point initial bonus after $2000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership (See Rates & Fees). The product comes with Hilton Honors Silver status ($20,000 spend on the card in a calendar year earns Gold status through the end of the next calendar year).

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Does the Priority Pass membership gained thru the new Amex Hilton Surpass card allow you to bring guest(s) in? If so, how many? If not, can I ask them to swipe the PP card twice so I can bring a guest in with me (i.e. using 2 of my 10 allotted free passes to access the same lounge at the same time)?

  2. This card is more compelling if it is true the travel credit for buying a gift card for the Aspire has quit working. After the credit that card was $200 but came with a free weekend night and Diamond (with lounge access). That was worth the extra $105. But without the ability to knock the fee down to $250 by buying gift cards, people may prefer this card at $95, with no pressure to have to use a weekend night before it expires.

    IMO, Amex needs to make the travel credit on the Aspire more usable. There are few applicable fees to apply if you fly first class, have status, have airline credit cards, etc. At a minimum they should make the $250 credit be on ANY airline instead of just one.

  3. @Ron, how that works is you get 10 passes to use however you want. You x 10, you and a guest x 5, etc.

  4. @Ron No, I got a Priority Pass card. They just knew it had 10 “visits” on it. And you could count guests as visits.

  5. Would the 10 “Vistis” include the restaurant locations that are being eliminated from the Amex Platinum PP Benefits?

  6. Clicked on the links to obtain a surpass card tonight and it now shows a $95/yr fee. What gives?

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