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Want to know how to get into those airport lounges without flying first class, having airline elite status or paying hundreds of dollars for a credit card’s annual fee?
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers one of the most affordable options in the credit card world for people who want airport lounge access but aren’t willing to pay a lot out of pocket. For an annual fee of just $95, the card offers 10 complimentary lounge visits through the Priority Pass Select program each year. Enrollment required. Terms apply.
Priority Pass is a program that grants members access to more than 1,300 airport lounges around the world. Lounges can vary in quality, but guests can typically expect to receive free snacks, a cup of coffee and better Wi-Fi than the standard airport offering.
The best airport lounges can be destinations themselves, offering full buffets, stunning design (the Turkish Airlines lounge at Washington-Dulles has an indoor waterfall), plus other amenities, like nap rooms and yoga rooms.
Here’s what you need to know about getting Priority Pass with your Hilton Honors credit card.
» Learn more: How to maximize your Priority Pass Select membership
The value of this perk
Priority Pass sells a similar membership for up to 10 visits per year, but it charges nearly $300 for the privilege. So given this card’s annual fee of $95, this perk is an incredible deal. The cost of the annual fee divided by 10 visits breaks down to less than $10 a visit — you’d be hard pressed to find a meal in an airport for less than. Enrollment required. Terms apply.
Plus, this math doesn’t account for the other card’s other benefits, which include:
A solid welcome offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months. Terms Apply.
Bonus points on everyday spending: You’ll earn 12 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio. But you also earn points even if you’re not traveling. You’ll get 6 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Hilton Honors elite status
How to enroll
In order to gain access, you must first enroll your Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the Priority Pass Select program through the Benefits page on your American Express account. After that, you’ll receive a physical Priority Pass Select card in the mail within 10-14 business days. Terms apply.
Flash that card at any Priority Pass lounge, along with an airline ticket for travel on the same day, and you’ll be admitted entrance up to 10 times each membership year. For any visits beyond 10, a lounge fee will be automatically charged to your card. Terms apply.
Those 10 visits are use it or lose it, as you’ll forfeit any unused lounge visits at the end of each membership year. Terms apply.
» Learn more: The top 10 Priority Pass lounges in the U.S.
How the card's Priority Pass benefit compares with other credit cards
Holding the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is one of the cheapest ways to get into airport lounges. The drawback? You get only 10 visits per year.
Most other credit cards that offer Priority Pass lounge access don't have a cap on the number of visits. That includes this card’s bigger-sibling card, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (though that one has a $450 annual fee). Enrollment required. Terms apply.
However, if you only take five round-trip flights per year, then you might not actually need more than 10 visits anyway.
To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page.
All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card