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Amex US Hilton Cards: Up to 200,000 Hilton Honors Points!

Just like we saw earlier in 2021, three of the four Hilton Honors co-branded credit cards issued by American Express US have just come out with new welcome bonuses that once again… surpass the previous all-time-highs.

The Amex US Hilton cards represent one of the best ways to diversify your hotel rewards game outside of Marriott Bonvoy, so let’s go over the details of these very attractive signup offers.

Amex US Hilton Card: 130,000–150,000 Points

The Amex US Hilton Card is the entry-level product with no annual fee. As part of the base offer, you can earn 130,000 Hilton Honors points:

  • 80,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$1,000 in the first three months
  • 50,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$5,000 in the first six months

Furthermore, some users are able to use incognito mode to pull up a special offer for 150,000 Hilton Honors points:

  • 100,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$1,000 in the first three months
  • 50,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$5,000 in the first six months

Previously, the card had offered a standard welcome bonus of 80,000 Hilton Honors points, occasional incognito offers that go up to 100,000 points, and a limited-time offer in early 2021 that also came with a US$100 statement credit.

However, we’d value the incremental 50,000 Hilton Honors points at US$250, which outweighs the previous statement credit (although the associated spending requirement has now increased). 

If you haven’t gotten started with US credit cards yet, the Amex US Hilton Card represents one of the best choices for your first US credit card. Thanks to its $0 annual fee, you can easily hold onto it year after year and boost your US credit history in the long run.

Amex US Hilton Surpass Card: 180,000–200,000 Points

The Amex US Hilton Surpass Card is the mid-tier personal card in the Hilton lineup, commanding an annual fee of US$95.

As part of the base offer, you can earn 180,000 Hilton Honors points, distributed as follows:

  • 130,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$2,000 in the first three months
  • 50,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$10,000 in the first six months

Then, there’s also an even higher offer available to certain individuals through incognito mode of 200,000 Hilton Honors points:

  • 150,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$2,000 in the first three months
  • 50,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$10,000 in the first six months

Earlier in 2021, the Hilton Surpass had offered a US$150 statement credit on top of 150,000 points, in lieu of the extra 50,000 points. We’d value the 50,000 points higher (US$250) under the current offer, but the spending requirement of US$10,000 in six months may be onerous for many applicants.

Nevertheless, if you wanted to apply for this card but had missed out on the last round of offers, you can count yourself lucky that we’re seeing yet another elevated bonus – so soon after the last one – for you to target. 

In terms of ongoing value, the Hilton Surpass gives you instant Hilton Gold status for as long as you hold the card, a Priority Pass membership with 10 lounge visits per year, as well as a Free Weekend Night Certificate upon spending US$15,000 every calendar year (and you’d only be US$5,000 away if you were to complete the full US$10,000 spend on the current welcome bonus).

Personally, the Surpass is the only Hilton co-branded card that I don’t currently hold.

I keep putting it off, and the card just keeps coming back with higher and higher offers, so I seriously need to consider taking action and putting in an application this time around. 

Amex US Hilton Business Card: 180,000 Points

Geared towards business owners, the Amex US Hilton Business Card is in fact similar to the Surpass in many ways.

The price point of US$95 is the same, and so is the current increased signup bonus of 180,000 Hilton Honors points:

  • 130,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$2,000 in the first three months
  • 50,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$10,000 in the first six months

As with the Surpass, the US$10,000 spend in the first six months may be a challenge. However, if you completed it, you’d only be US$5,000 away from earning a Free Weekend Night Certificate, which is earned upon spending US$15,000 every calendar year. 

In addition, you’ll also have Hilton Gold status for as long as you hold the card, a Priority Pass membership with 10 lounge visits per year, and the ability to earn a second free night certificate upon spending US$60,000 (though that probably isn’t worth aiming for).

Strategies for the Amex US Hilton Cards

Let’s go over a few key points on the best strategy for maximizing these offers.

Which of the three refreshed Hilton Honors credit cards should you apply for? As mentioned above, if you haven’t gotten started with US credit cards yet, it may make sense to begin with the no-fee Hilton Card – which also happens to have the most achievable minimum spend out of the three. 

However, I’d note that the Hilton Surpass Card could be the right choice too, because you always have the option of downgrading the Hilton Surpass Card to the no-fee Hilton Card after 12 months if you don’t see the value in holding the card year after year. That way, you’d still keep your oldest account open to bolster your US credit history.

In the early stages of your US credit card journey, the Hilton Business Card might make sense too. That’s because Amex US business credit cards do not report to your personal credit file, so the Hilton Business won’t count against the Chase “5/24 rule” (i.e., Chase’s unofficial policy of declining you for new credit cards if you’ve opened five or more cards over the past 24 months).

Overall, a newcomer to the US credit card scene would do well to begin with either the Hilton Card or the Hilton Surpass. Meanwhile, someone who’s been around the block for a while might opt for one of the personal cards in conjunction with the Hilton Business, keeping in mind that you can only earn the signup bonus on each product once.

Hilton’s best luxury properties generally cost 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night at most, with two properties – the Waldorf Astorias in Los Cabos and the Maldives – exceeding the cap at 120,000 Hilton Honors points and 150,000 Hilton Honors points per night, respectively.

(The latter was bumped up from a maximum of 120,000 points very recently, in a highly disappointing move for anyone who had been collecting Hilton points with the aim of redeeming them at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives one day.)

Either way, if you can snag one or two of these limited-time bonuses, you’ll have enough points for a couple of nights at some of Hilton’s best hotels, or even more nights if you book some of the more modest hotels in Hilton’s portfolio. 

King Corner Suite, Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre

What About the Hilton Aspire Card?

You’ll also notice that, unlike its less illustrious peers, the top-tier Hilton Aspire Card has kept its welcome offer steady at 150,000 Hilton Honors points, with no statement credit.

Despite the US$450 annual fee, I do believe that the Hilton Aspire Card is one of the strongest rewards cards in all of North America once you factor in the ongoing benefits: an annual Free Weekend Night Certificate, instant Diamond status, a US$250 airline incidental fee credit, a US$250 Hilton resort credit, 14x points at Hilton hotels, and an unlimited Priority Pass membership.

 

Nevertheless, unless you’re planning to stay with Hilton very soon and urgently need the Diamond status, it makes more sense to apply for one of the three other Hilton cards with record-high bonuses while they’re around.

You could then add the Aspire to your portfolio later on as its welcome bonus has remained pretty steady with very few fluctuations over the past few years.

Apply Now

For a second time in 2021, we’re seeing record-high bonuses on the Hilton Card, Hilton Surpass, and Hilton Business cards.

The base-level bonuses clock in at 130,000, 180,000, and 180,000 Hilton Honors points, respectively, and are available through both public and refer-a-friend channels.

Meanwhile, there are potentially even bigger bonuses (up to 150,000 points on the Hilton Card or 200,000 points on the Hilton Surpass) accessible through incognito mode. Try using a few different browsers and devices to pull up these incognito offers, as they’re definitely the best way to apply. 

If you missed out on the US$100–150 statement credit offers that we saw earlier in 2021, then you can definitely count yourself lucky that we’re seeing another big bonus from the Amex US Hilton cards so soon after the last one – albeit with some higher spending thresholds attached. 

23 Comments
  1. Avatar
    JL

    Wow pretty tough minimum spending requirements with the latest offers.
    This better not be a new trend on these amex cards…Hopefully the minimum spend thresholds will come back down with the next round of offers.

  2. Avatar
    Moh

    Hey. I would like to get this card but need some tips/advice on how to reach the spending requirements since almost all of my spending is in Canadian Dollars and don’t travel to the US.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      You can still spend in Canadian dollars in Canada, as there are no foreign transaction fees.

      1. Avatar
        Alex

        Well, Ricky – there is a foreign transaction fee: you must pay the bill at the end of the month, so if you earn in CAD – you would have to convert to USD and pay the bill.

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          Yep.

  3. Avatar
    Alvin

    I don’t have an ITIN but want to get the Hilton biz card (I have the Hilton Card for 6 months now). Do I apply online with a placeholder ITIN number and then call them? or do I have to start an application through the phone directly? Never applied for a biz card in Cdn through the phone – do they ask why/what business and other details?

  4. Avatar
    Nicholas

    I presently have 4 Amex credit cards (Hilton no fee, Aspire, Bonvoy Brillant and Bonvoy Business).
    I’ve been holding the regular Hilton N.F. card for 12 months now and I haven’t received an upgrade offer yet.
    Since I’m already holding the maximum number of credit card permitted by Amex, what would the best strategy to get the Surpass card and get it’s welcome bonus?

    1. Josh
      Josh

      The 4-CC limit certainly makes the US game interesting! It’s a marathon, not a sprint – odds are you won’t be able to get every good offer. Assuming your US history is ~1 year (i.e. too soon to cancel cards, and fast pace = likely pop-up), I’d probably just wait for an upgrade offer. Long-term, you could look to close one of the Hilton cards, or shift from Brilliant to Boundless (Chase) to maintain 30 EQN.

  5. Avatar
    CR

    If I remember correctly, with US cards, one can double dip should there be an upgrade offer.

    1. How does it work exactly if I were to have the Hilton Honors card and let’s say were to receive the upgrade offer?
    2. When does the upgrade offers typically given?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Typically you receive upgrade offers after 12 months of holding the card. If you got an upgrade offer on the Hilton Card to, say, the Hilton Surpass, then you’d want to apply for the Surpass under a new application first and get the signup bonus there, before upgrading. That’s because once you upgrade, you won’t be able to get the Surpass’s bonus on a new application again, since you’ve held the card before. Same principle applies if upgrading to the Aspire, or if downgrading to the no-fee card from the Surpass or the Aspire.

      1. Avatar
        CR

        Understood. Thanks again!

  6. Avatar
    Alex

    For a two-game – can the 2nd player use the Hilton membership number that belongs to player one?
    Or it must be a separate number – and just pool the points and free night certificates under a family pool?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Separate number, and transfer Hilton points between the two accounts. Free night certificates can’t be transferred, but can be redeemed out of each person’s account for a stay together.

  7. Avatar
    Alex

    Ricky – you have mentioned several times that the Aspire card is one of the best cards out there, despite the hefty annual fee.
    Are you planning on an article with a suggested strategy to take advantage of all the perks this awesome card offers?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Check out the video embedded in the article. I may write a future article on the Aspire Card as well.

  8. Avatar
    Alex

    As Canadians, especially in the COVID situation – how do you take advantage of the US$250 Hilton resort credit that the Aspire card offers?
    It has to be specifically a RESORT – not just any Hilton hotel.
    Here in Canada we have only few. I am from Ontario – so I guess the Niagara are a Hiltons are an option.
    I wonder if I buy gift cards at the resort – is it considered legit for this credit?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes, you can purchase gift cards at the Niagara Hiltons, though I think those gift cards can only be used for staying at those hotels themselves.

      I’d also expect Amex US to make the resort credits easier to use similar to what they offered in 2020. If they make it redeemable at US restaurants again, then we’d be able to load up Starbucks US gift cards and use them in Canada.

      1. Avatar
        Brian

        You mention the “Niagara Hiltons”. I thought that the resort credit could only be used at the Doubletree in Niagara. Are there other hotels in the Niagara area that the $250 credit can be used at?

  9. Avatar
    Abdullah khan

    I got this last month, haven’t finished the $1000 spend in 3 months yet, is there any chance they will match the bonus for the $0 card? And also get the $100 Statment credit?

    1. Avatar
      Matthew

      Pretty much zero chance. You willingly applied, AMEX approved. They have zero incentive to give you more. I’ve personally never heard of any bank boosting an old app, even one a few days old, because of a new offer

  10. Avatar
    Tim

    When you downgrade to a lower tier card, is the sign up bonus still available?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Not upon downgrading. You also won’t be eligible for future signup bonuses upon holding a card (even if you didn’t get the signup bonus then) so you’d ideally apply for the Hilton Card under a brand-new application before downgrading your Surpass.

      1. Avatar
        Tim

        Thanks for that! Trying to get my card order correct – this would be my first US card ever so the offers came at a opportune moment. Now just waiting for the 30 days before changing my US TD bank address.

Ricky

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