Card of the month is a monthly series that focuses on cards that have increased signup bonuses. This month, the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express has an increased offer of 100,000 Hilton points. The offer expires on October 4, 2017.
- Annual fee: $75, not waived in Year 1
- Signup bonus: 100,000 Hilton points after $3,000 in spend within the first three months
- Additional bonus: Free weekend night after card anniversary
- Earn 12x for Hilton purchases
- Earn 6x for dining
- Earn 6x for gas stations
- Earn 6x for supermarkets
- Earn 3x for everything else
- Offer expires: 10/4/2017
Before signing up for a Hilton card, I encourage you to have a destination in mind and research how many points are required for a one night stay. 100,000 points may seem like a lot on the surface, but it might not get you as far as your like. Hilton points usually go further in international destinations like Europe.
Hilton points valuation
Hilton points are valued at 0.5 cents per point, which makes the points earning:
- Earn 12x for Hilton purchases = 6% return on spend
- Earn 6x for dining = 3%
- Earn 6x for gas stations = 3%
- Earn 6x for supermarkets = 3%
- Earn 3x for everything else = 1.5%
The Hilton Surpass comes with a handful of other benefits. The Priority Pass issued with the card is not on par with other travel credit cards; you'll have to pay for admission.
1) Free membership to Priority Pass (Standard Membership)
- must pay $27 per visit
- guests pay $27 per visit
- "technically" the Standard Membership is worth $99 (https://www.prioritypass.com/en/join/)
2) Hilton Gold Status
- Earn automatic Hilton Gold status just by having the card
- If you spend $40,000 on the card, you earn Diamond status for the year you hit the spend and the following year
- For example, if you hit $40,000 mid-2019, you'll get it until end of 2020
To get the optimal points redemption rate, be sure to compare the points price to the retail price by doing a quick Google search. Redemption value varies based on where you stay.
For example, the Kuala Lumpur Hilton Double Tree retails at $75-125/night. The points price is 10,000.
Cents per point:
$75/night = 0.75 CPP
$125/night = 1.25 CPP
Compared to the 0.5 CPP we assigned as a signup bonus, this would be a good redemption. With this specific redemption, the signup bonus is effectively worth $1,250 (100,000 points x 1.25 CPP = $1,250 in value).
$1,250 from the example - $500 assumed value = $750 difference
Again, be sure to research which locations will give you outsized value before using points.