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The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is a great option for travelers who enjoy staying at Hilton hotels — but don’t travel enough to otherwise earn status. If you've recently signed up for this card, it's time to get started using the fun benefits offered. Here's a helpful guide to four things you should know about your new credit card.
Soak up that Gold status
Chances are if you're a frequent visitor to Hilton hotels, you're already enrolled in the chain's rewards program, Hilton Honors. Well, good news: by signing up for the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, you’re taking things to the next level.
All Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card holders are automatically granted Hilton Honors Gold status. This is Hilton’s mid-tier status, but the benefits pack a punch. Gold members get elite tier rollover nights, room upgrades when available, a 5th reward night free when booking five consecutive nights, complimentary breakfast and much more.
Gold status also means you’ll earn more points when you stay at Hilton properties — all Gold members can earn 18 points for every dollar spent at most Hilton hotels (stays at Tru and Home2 earn 9 points per dollar).
If you really love hotel perks, it's worth noting that if you spend $40,000 on this card in one calendar year, you'll get bumped up to Diamond status. Diamond members get free access to the Hilton Executive Lounge, a 48-hour room guarantee and elite status gifting (plus all of the Gold-level benefits). And Diamond members earn 20 bonus points for every dollar spent at most Hilton properties (stays at Tru and Home2 earn 10 points per dollar). Terms apply.
» Learn more: Hilton Honors: The complete guide
Hit the lounge
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card holders are granted 10 complimentary visits to Priority Pass Select lounges every calendar year (enrollment required). There are more than 1,200 Priority Pass lounges across the globe, meaning you're likely to see one the next time you're flying. Take advantage of this card perk and stop by a lounge for its quiet workspace and free snacks, drinks and Wi-Fi (amenities vary by lounge).
Thinking that's maybe not such a great perk? Well, consider how much you'd end up spending on airport food. Instead of shelling out $8 for a bag of peanuts, you can sit in a Priority Pass lounge and enjoy a much more appetizing snack for free. Keep in mind that these passes expire at the end of every year, so using them is smart even if you just want to escape the hustle and bustle of the airport. Terms apply.
» Learn more: 5 Priority Pass lounges that are worth a visit
Earn that free night (and tons of points)
Now that you're the proud new owner of a Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, it's time to work toward earning your free night. One of the card’s best perks is that you can earn a free weekend night after spending $15,000 in one calendar year. The best way to meet this spending requirement is to target the areas that also give you massive bonus points. Here's the breakdown of what you’ll earn for everyday spending:
12 points for every dollar spent at eligible Hilton brands.
6 points for every dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.
3 points per dollar spent on everything else.
As you can see, this card rewards you for spending at Hilton hotels. But a 6x bonus on dining out, grocery stores and gas stations can also add up fast. When you’re working on hitting the $15,000 spending requirement for your free night certificate, you can also be racking up a bunch of Hilton points, which NerdWallet values at 0.5 cent each.
Then sit back and start planning how you'll use that free weekend night and all of the points you’ve earned over the year — and remember that you’ll get your 5th night free on award stays. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Hilton credit cards: Which one should you get
Use it abroad
One of the more underrated benefits of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is that it does not charge foreign transaction fees. If you travel overseas, you've likely experienced the pain of a 3% fee on every transaction made, which can really eat into your trip budget. When you use your Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card when traveling abroad, you can say goodbye — or au revoir — to foreign transaction fees. Terms apply.
However, keep in mind that American Express cards are not accepted as widely as Visa and Mastercard when traveling outside the U.S., so you may want to make sure you have a backup plan in your wallet as well.
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
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best hotel credit card for you Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal Hilton Honors AmEx Ascend to change name back to Surpass