Travel Rewards Credit Cards can be a great tool for earning points and miles toward travel. In addition, these cards usually come with some extra travel benefits that can be pretty helpful and save you money on travel costs.
One credit card that we really like is the Hilton Surpass from American Express. We have had it for almost 2 years now and are very happy with our decision to get it. Here are 5 things that I like about this card.
$95 Annual Fee
Some of the best travel rewards credit cards come with a hefty annual fee ranging betweet $250 and $550 per year. The annual fee for the Hilton Surpass card is just $95. We definitely get more than $95 worth of value from this card each year.
Priority Pass Lounge Access
Another reason that I like this card is the complimentary Priority Pass Lounge Membership. You simply enroll and set up your account to receive 10 lounge passes per year. The membership allows you to bring one additional guest into the lounge with you at no extra cost, they simply deduct 2 of your 10 visits when you do so.
This membership is comparable to the Priority Pass Standard Plus Plan which includes the same 10 visits per year but comes with a $299 annual fee. If you utilize this free membership it provides you with almost a $300 value.
When we were traveling more frequently in 2019, we really utilized our Priority Pass membership and felt that we got a lot of benefit from it. It was especially useful when one of our flights had a long weather delay. The lounge gave us a comfortable place to wait, relax and charge our devices. Additionally, we enjoyed a drink and a bite to eat without having to dip deep into our wallet for one of the pricey airport options.
Hilton Gold Tier Status
Another great feature of the Hilton Surpass card is that it comes with automatic Gold Tier Status at Hilton hotels. There are several ways that you can use this status to get added value during your hotel stays.
- No Resort Fees on Rewards Nights
- 80% Points Bonus on Paid Stays
- Free Breakfast
- 2 Complimentary Bottles of Water per stay
- Space Available Room Upgrades
- 5th Night Free on Award Stays
We stayed at the Hilton Oakland Airport hotel during an overnight layover in 2019. Before catching the shuttle to the airport for our early morning flight, we enjoyed a complimentary sit down breakfast. Our meal would have cost us $41 without our Gold Tier status. We also earned an 80% points bonus for our stay by paying with our Hilton Surpass card. Just another example of how simply taking advantage of the included benefits saved us money during our trip.
Points, Points & More Points
Some rewards credit cards make it hard to earn points. They have low paying categories that mean slow points accumulations. But the Hilton Surpass card kicks the earnings into overdrive!
- 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton properties
- 6 points per dollar spent at the Grocery Store
- 6 points per dollar spent at the Gas Station
- 6 points per dollar spent on Dining Out
- 3 points per dollar spent on Anything Else
For most people Gas, Groceries and Dining Out are some of their biggest everyday spending. 6 points per dollar is a really good return compared to the same categories on other travel rewards credit cards. This means that your points add up fast so that you can redeem them sooner for reward nights at Hilton properties.
Getting 3 points per dollar for Anything Else is also a great option for expenses that don’t fall into any of the usual elevated categories. Before having this card, our best option for those purchases only earned 2 points per dollar spent.
Plenty of Extra Benefits
Although most travel rewards cards pack in plenty of extras that I will never use, the Hilton Surpass actually provides some very useful added benefits:
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Car Rental Insurance
- Hilton Gold Tier Status
- Earn a Free Weekend Night Certificate for $15,000 in qualified spending in a calendar year
- Priority Pass Membership
- And More (click link for the full list)
You should always put a lot of thought and research into any credit card before applying for it. Make sure that you are getting it for the right reasons and not just for an enticing Welcome Bonus. Make sure points earning categories align with your spending and that you will be able to get enough value from the card to offset the annual fee.
One drawback for this card though is that the points you earn can only be used at Hilton. Before signing up for this card, you need to have a travel plan for how you want to use your points in order to determine if earning Hilton points makes sense for helping you to achieve your personal travel goals. Since I always like to have some hotel points banked for any grand adventures or impromptu trips I might take, this card works great for me.
This card has really worked out well for us. We have been able to earn a lot of points in a short amount of time. When travel returns, you can bet your bippy that we will be cashing in some of our points for a trip somewhere wonderful!
Dream, Plan, Save, Adventure!