Three of the four Hilton Honors co-branded credit cards issued by American Express US have just come out with new welcome bonuses that easily… 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: 100,000 Points + US$100 Statement Credit
The Amex US Hilton Card is the entry-level product with no annual fee. You can earn 100,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$1,000 in the first three months, as well as a US$100 statement credit upon first purchase.
Since the card has no annual fee to begin with, this means that you’ll be earning US$100 out-of-pocket (into pocket?) in the first year, in addition to the 100,000 Hilton Honors points.
Previously, the card had offered a welcome bonus of 80,000 Hilton Honors points with occasional incognito offers that go up to 100,000 points. Clearly, the current public bonus of 100,000 points and a US$100 statement credit is far superior, and ranks as the best-ever offer we’ve seen on this card.
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: 150,000 Points + US$150 Statement Credit
The Amex US Hilton Surpass Card is the mid-tier personal card in the Hilton lineup, commanding an annual fee of US$95. You can earn 150,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$2,000 in the first three months, as well as a US$150 statement credit upon first purchase.
The US$150 statement credit outweighs the annual fee in the first year, leaving you ahead by US$55 in addition to the points. As above, this offer is a clear improvement upon the previous welcome bonus of 130,000 Hilton Honors points.
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.
Personally, the Surpass is the only Hilton co-branded card that I don’t currently hold, and I mentioned recently that I’ve been waiting for an elevated signup bonus to grab the card (since you can only earn the signup bonus once on each card with American Express US).
Now that my prayers have been answered, I’ll most likely be hopping on this Hilton Surpass offer and completing my quartet of Amex US Hilton cards.
Amex US Hilton Business Card: 150,000 Points + US$150 Statement Credit
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 elevated signup bonus: 150,000 Hilton Honors points upon spending US$2,000 in the first three months, plus a US$150 statement credit upon first purchase.
As with the Surpass, you’ll come out ahead by US$55 in the first year in addition to a healthy chunk of Hilton Honors points. 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 Free Weekend Night Certificate upon spending US$15,000 every calendar year (and a second one at 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.
Even though the landing pages for these offers do not mention an expiry date, the terms and conditions of the refer-a-friend offer do state the following:
If your application is not received by 04/21/2021, we will not process your application even if we later receive your application. American Express reserves the right to modify or revoke offer at any time.
I’d take that as an indication that April 21, 2021 may be the expiry date on these elevated offers, and would recommend applying before then.
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.
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 the Maldives and Los Cabos) exceeding the cap at 120,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
If you can snag one or two of these bonuses, not only will you be coming out ahead in the first year thanks to the statement credits, but 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.
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.
The record-high bonuses on the Hilton Card, Hilton Surpass, and Hilton Business appear to be available through both the public and refer-a-friend channels.
If a member of your points-collecting entourage already holds a Hilton co-branded credit card of their own, then you should use their referral link to apply (all four Hilton cards can refer among each other).
Otherwise, consider using the link of a fellow member of the community. You can send me an email if you’re interested in using my referral link.
Previously, we’ve opened up the comments of these blog posts for readers to post their own referral links, but that made it difficult for others to find useful data points in the comments.
We’re therefore moving the referral links to the corresponding post on the Prince of Travel Elites Facebook group instead, so head over there if you’d like to post your referral link for others to use.