Hilton continues to shuffle its branded credit cards, recently changing the name of its mid-tier AmEx Ascend card back to Surpass.
The card, now known as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, has the following welcome offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. Only first-time applicants for this card can receive the bonus; previous Ascend cardholders aren’t eligible.
» Learn more: Review: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
That might sound like a ton of points, but keep in mind that Hilton points are some of the most devalued in the game — we currently value them at 0.5 cent apiece.
That said, with a little creativity you should be able to get considerably more value than that from your bonus offer. As both an example and inspiration for your own travels, we’ve put together five great ways to use 130,000 Hilton points.
Hilton no longer publishes an award chart, so the point values listed below can change at any time. Use these values as a benchmark for roughly how many points these properties should cost.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Hilton Honors
1. Ultra-budget: A month in Bali
We said “considerably more value” and meant it. Rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport run only 5,000 points per night year-round.
Yes, it’s an airport hotel, but if you’ve ever tried to get a taxi out of Denpasar airport (Bali’s sole international airport), you’ll understand the potential appeal.
At 5,000 points per night, 130,000 will get you 26 nights. But wait, there’s more: With the complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status you’ll get with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, you’ll have access to the valuable fifth night free perk on award bookings.
Important note: You’re limited to a total of four free nights per stay, so maximizing your free nights would require you to break your 26 nights into two separate bookings.
2. Budget: Two weeks in Krakow, Poland
Nobody’s saying it’s glamorous, but the Hampton by Hilton Krakow cost only 10,000 Hilton Honors points per night in our search.
Those 130,000 points will get you 13 nights here, plus three extra free nights from the 5th night free perk, for a total of 16. The same booking cost $881.60 in cash.
3. Midrange: Five nights in Guadalajara, Mexico
Hilton properties that run 30,000 points per night for award stays are a good midrange target for using this bonus offer. The Hilton Guadalajara Midtown is a good example.
This property offers some higher-end amenities, like a outdoor pool and fitness room. The hotel is located near the heart of the city.
» Learn more: Beginner’s guide to budget travel
Five nights at the Hilton Guadalajara cost $594.75 for a cash booking when we checked dates in November, so using 120,000 points instead yields a pretty decent value.
4. High-end: Two nights at a Waikiki resort
Hilton sports 20 Hawaiian properties in its portfolio, most of which go for 50,000 to 70,000 points per night. The sprawling, family-friendly Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort was 60,000 per night when we searched.
Two nights in August cost around $722, so using 120,000 points instead would yield a solid redemption value. You might get even more value by booking award nights on particularly expensive days (like holidays), if rooms are available.
5. Splurge: Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Many people collect points and miles for those once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities, and Hilton offers plenty of ultra-high-end properties to fulfill those bucket-list desires.
The Waldorf Astoria Maldives, set on an atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean, will set you back a cool 120,000 points for a single night in the off-season. Cash rates for the same off-season room ran $1,688 per night when we searched, making 120,000 points seem like quite the “deal” by comparison at a value of 1.4 cents per point.
You could pair the card’s bonus with the its free weekend night certificate to create a potential two-night stay. Of course, not many people want to fly halfway around the world only to stay for one night or even two, so consider tacking these nights onto a longer visit to the island chain.
The bottom line
With some creativity and leveraging of the valuable fifth night free perk, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card’s welcome offer can make some pretty amazing experiences possible. We barely touched on the valuable weekend night award here, but the trick for maximizing its value is pretty straightforward: Use it at the most expensive hotel you can find.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal
Hilton Honors AmEx Ascend to change name back to Surpass