Hilton AmEx Surpass, Aspire Cards Boost Fees, Benefits

Revamped travel statement credits and other perks can help chip away at the cards' higher annual fees.
Sara Rathner
By Sara Rathner 
Published
Edited by Kenley Young

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Beginning Oct. 19, 2023, American Express is introducing changes to two Hilton credit cards, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

Updates include new travel-related statement credits, the ability to earn Hilton Honors points in a wider variety of ways, and a slightly easier path to a free night certificate. But they come at a cost — literally, in the form of higher annual fees. And if you relied on either of these cards for access to Priority Pass lounges at airports, that benefit won’t be around for much longer.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest Hilton card refresh.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: New rewards category, statement credit

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
NerdWallet rating 

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is upping its annual fee from $95 to $150. The added cost comes with a few additional benefits.

New way to earn more rewards

You’ll earn 4 points per $1 on U.S. online retail purchases. That’s in addition to existing rewards categories, which include:

  • 12 points per $1 on Hilton purchases.

  • 6 points per $1 at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

  • 3 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

  • Terms apply.

Travel perks

There’s also a potentially valuable benefit in the form of a $200 annual statement credit (paid out in $50 statement credits per quarter) for eligible Hilton purchases on your card. Plus, you’ll get complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status. Terms apply.

What’s staying the same

Like before, you can still earn a free night certificate after you spend $15,000 in a calendar year. Also, you’ll get complimentary Gold status, which upgrades to Diamond status if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year. Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Additional free night, CLEAR credit

The high-end Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is raising its already sizable annual fee from $450 to $550, but it’s also getting a few updates, some of which might help make the price more palatable.

Travel statement credits

  • Up to $400 in statement credits per year (in the form of two $200 credits semi-annually) for eligible purchases with participating Hilton Resorts. Before, this was a $250 annual credit.

  • Up to $200 in statement credits per year (in the form of up to $50 in credits each quarter) on eligible flight purchases. Previously, the card offered a $250 annual airline fee credit that didn’t have to be paid out quarterly.

  • Up to $189 in statement credits per year when you use the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to pay for a CLEAR Plus membership

  • Terms apply.

Free night awards changes

Previously, you could earn up to two free night certificates with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — one each year just for continuing to carry the card and another if you spent $60,000 in a calendar year.

Now, there’s another path to earn a free night that goes right down the middle. You’ll still get the first free night just by being a cardholder. Then, if you spend $30,000 in a year, you’ll earn a second free night. And you can get a third free night for reaching $60,000 in spending in that same year.

Terms apply.

Other perks

Just like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card now offers complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status. In addition, it provides cell phone insurance.

What’s staying the same

With the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, you’ll still earn:

  • 14 points per $1 on Hilton purchases.

  • 7 points per $1 at U.S. restaurants, on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and on car rentals from select car rental companies.

  • 3 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.

  • Terms apply.

Cardholders will also continue to get complimentary Diamond status and a $100 property credit at qualifying Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts. Terms apply.

A final boarding call for Priority Pass benefits

Both cards are phasing out access to Priority Pass lounges as a perk, according to a representative. If you enrolled in Priority Pass Select by Jan. 31, 2023, your membership will end on Feb. 1, 2024. If you enrolled between Feb. 1, 2023, and Jan. 31, 2024, your membership will end on Nov. 1, 2024. If you have either the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card already but haven’t yet enrolled in Priority Pass Select, you can still do so by Jan. 31, 2024.

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