Best Ever Amex Hilton Cards Now Available

If you’ve been sitting back on the Amex Hilton cards and waiting for the best time to apply, the time has probably come. Amex is now offering its two strongest offers ever publicly available (and not released via accidental leak).

100K Surpass with free night

  • Earn 100K Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 within your first 3 months
  • Free weekend night award after your first anniversary of Card Membership.
  • Offer Ends 5/31/2017.
  • 12X on Hilton purchases
  • 6X at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X for all other eligible purchases on your Card
  • Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year
  • Earn 500 Hilton Honors Bonus Points when you use your Card to both book online and pay for your Hilton stay.
  • Foreign transaction fee is NOT waived
  • Annual fee of $75 is NOT waived

Free weekend night

  • Free weekend night award after your first anniversary of Card Membership.

This is the big game changer here that I’m most excited about. This free weekend night can be used on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday on virtually any Hilton property, allowing you to cash out on former category 10 properties that would otherwise require 95,000 Honors points or cost close to $1,000 per night!

It’s important to note that you won’t get this free night until your account anniversary, which means that you’ll have to pay the annual fee for year one and year two (for a total of $150 in fees). Also, judging by the language here, it looks like this is only good for your first anniversary date. In other words, you won’t get this free night every year.

Still, this adds significant potential value to the sign-up bonus, and bumps this up to one of the most valuable hotel credit cards, in my opinion.

Hilton Cabana in Miami, currently at 70,000 points per night.

Valuable Sign-up bonus

  • Sign-up bonus worth around $500 if you value Honors points at around .4 or .5 cents per point. 

100K points sounds like a lot but odds are you’ll probably just be able to land 2 or maybe 3 nights at a decent hotel in a major city and 1 or 2 nights at a solid hotel in a big city. However, it’s always possible if you’re really flexible to maximize the value of these points by staying on properties in places like Asia or random countries like Egypt. On some of those properties, you could squeeze a week or much longer out of the sign-up bonus.

But as stated, for a nice hotel in a major city, you’re probably looking at around 40,000 to 60,000 points a night. For example, if you wanted to book a Hilton hotel in the major tourist areas of Chicago (e.g., Mag Mile), it’s currently around 50,000 to 60,000 per night and even up to 70,000 to 80,000 per night for South Beach, Miami.

Although Hilton has done away with their award chart, the award chart below can guide you to see roughly how many points would be required for certain categories.

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.24.22 AM

Bonus earning potential

  • Earn 12 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card:
    • at U.S. restaurants
    • at U.S supermarkets
    • at U.S. gas stations
  • Earn 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

These earning rates are great and Hilton often offers different kinds of promos where you can earn double the base points on Hilton stays. Those promos combined with the high earning rates of the Surpass can be a superb way to rack up Hilton Honors points in a hurry. For example, it’s not uncommon to be able to capitalize on multiple promotions and earn around 20% back or more on Hilton purchases, which is very good.

Hilton HHonors Gold status

The Hilton Honors Surpass Card offers you Honors Gold Status. Gold status is a pretty decent benefit — you can read more about the benefits of Gold Status here but the benefits most related to this card are the following:

  • 5th night free
  • Complimentary breakfasts
  • Potential for upgrades

Don’t forget the American Express Platinum Card also offers you complimentary gold status. 

Chicago Skyline
View from the Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile Suites Hotel.

80K with no annual fee

The second offer is for the no annual fee version of the card.

  • Earn 80K Hilton Honors points after you spend $2,000 within your first 3 months
  • Offer Ends 5/31/2017.
  • 7X on Hilton purchases
  • 5X at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X for all other eligible purchases on your Card
  • Hilton Honors Silver status
  • Spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year
  • Foreign transaction fee is NOT waived
  • No annual fee

No annual fee! 

This card’s selling point is that it comes with no annual fee, so you can hold on to it and allow your accounts to age over time and help improve your credit score. You can always periodically check for offers to upgrade to the Hilton Surpass for a nice little bonus, too.

Valuable Sign-up bonus

  • Sign-up bonus worth around $400

80,000 is a nice bump up from the prior 75,000 offer but it comes with the need to spend $1,000 more. $1,000 for an additional 5,000 Honors points isn’t that great and I’d probably rather go for the 75K offer that only requires $1,000 spend if I could find it. Still, you might be able to get two hotel nights out of this bonus at a solid hotel in or near a major city/attraction if you play your cards right.

Bonus earning potential

  • Earn 7 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 5 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card:
    • at U.S. restaurants
    • at U.S supermarkets
    • at U.S. gas stations
  • Earn 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

The bonus earning potential is a little less than the Surpass but still very respectable, especially since this card has no annual fee.  

Complimentary Silver status 

  • You get complimentary Silver status but you can work your way to Gold if you spend $20,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn HHonors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.

I’d personally just count of my Platinum Card to earn me Gold status but obviously not everybody is interested in the Platinum Card, so that won’t apply to everyone.

Final word

Both cards are offering increased value but I’m most excited about the free anniversary night offered by the Hilton Surpass since that significantly increases the value of the card. Keep in mind that these are limited time offers and will be gone by the end of May!

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