The four Hilton credit cards are more than what they seem. The American Express Surpass and Citi HHonors Reserve’s rewards calculations belie their full value – the best part about these cards is their perks. Here are some of the fringe benefits associated with each of the Hilton cards.
We should also note that we value HHonors Points at 0.5 cents apiece. Our blog contains a detailed review of the Hilton credit cards and HHonors rewards program, including how best to earn and spend your points.
Citi HHonors Reserve
- Automatic Gold status for as long as you’re a cardholder, Diamond every year you spend more than $40,000
- No foreign transaction fee and EMV chip for international travel
- 1 weekend night anniversary bonus every year you spend more than $10,000
American Express Surpass
- Gold status for your first year, automatic Silver status and Diamond status every year you spend more than $40,000
- Discounted airport lounge access ($27 per visit)
- 2,500 each for up to 8 stays in the first 18 months
- Automatic Silver elite status
- One year of Gold status if you stay at the Hilton four times in the first 90 days of cardmembership
No-fee American Express
- Automatic Silver elite status, Gold status every year you spend more than $20,000
Hilton credit cards vs. the other hotel credit cards
So how do the Hilton HHonors cards compare to other hotel credit cards? Well, for the most part, the Surpass and Reserve blow the competition out of the water with an at-least-1.5% base rewards rate. The only one that comes close is the Starwood American Express, which earns up to 5 Starpoints per $1 at Starwood Preferred Guest hotels and 1 point elsewhere. This seems like quite a step down, but we estimate Starpoints to be worth 2.3 cents each on average. The rewards rate, therefore, translates to 2.3% base and 11.5% at SPG hotels. Here, it’s a tossup: you earn more rewards on everyday spending categories with the Surpass and on travel with the Reserve, and if you spend smartly, you get a really really really good rewards rate. However, if you’re a frequent Starwood guest, it’s hard to argue with 11.5% rewards.