With more than 4,600 hotels around the world, Hilton is one of the largest hotel chains in the world. Knowing you’re likely to find a hotel wherever you vacation, the Hilton rewards program, Hilton Honors, is one to consider.
Hilton offers four credit cards for earning Honors points, two are offered by Citi and two by American Express. While each have value, for Disney travel we like the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express which has a $75 annual fee.
Sign Up Bonus (Grade: B-)
The Hilton Honors Surpass is currently offering a sign up bonus of 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. We value Hilton Honors points at about 0.5 cents each, which means the 75k sign up bonus is worth around $375.
|Sign Up Bonus||75,000 Hilton Honors Points|
|Value Per Point||0.5 cents|
|Value of Sign Up Bonus||$375|
Daily Spending (Grade: B)
The Surpass Amex earns 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels, 6 points per dollar at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations, and 3 points per dollar spent everywhere else. Unless you commonly have paid stays at Hilton hotels, the area to focus on is how much do you spend at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations since these are usually pretty important areas for most people. Because we value Honors points at 0.5 cents each, if you only used the card for these categories, you’d be earning 3% back on your purchases toward your next vacation.
The metric to measure for this, in our opinion is a cash back card like Citi Double Cash, which earns 2% back on all purchases. If you’re not earning at least 2%, you may as well earn cash.
|Category||Points per Dollar Spent|
|Supermarkets, Restaurants, and Gas Stations||6x|
|All Other Spending||3x|
Additional Card Perks (Grade: B-)
Honors Gold – The card comes with automatic gold status. The primary benefit is that when you redeem points for award nights, you get the 5th night free. This has huge value when you consider you’ll only need to accumulate 80% of the points that would be needed on a five night vacation. If you book a six or seven night vacation, you still get just the one night free.
There are a variety of lesser benefits with Gold status, which you can find on Hilton’s Member Benefits page. The perks vary quite a bit by hotel brand and they’re generally not worth all that much.
Earn Diamond Status – If you spend $40,000 a year on this card, which for most people is a lot, you can earn Diamond status. It won’t get you a ton of extra value when you’re redeeming points for stays, but several of the brands offer free breakfast for two people in your room. You’re also likely to receive a room upgrade at many properties, but it’s not worth banking on. Again, take a look at the Member Benefits page to see a list of some of the additional perks.
Redeeming Points (Grade: B-)
Where Hilton makes redeeming points easy is that they generally have properties almost anywhere you’ll go. In addition, they have economical properties as well luxurious. Sometimes you may not want to spend a ton of points on a hotel room because you don’t plan to spend much time there. Other times, the hotel itself might be the vacation. With Hilton you can find both, spending fewer points when you want something cheap and more points when you to keep it classy.
Where Hilton is outpaced by other credit cards and rewards programs is that you’re really only going to get decent value redeeming your points for hotel stays. Other cards offer ways to transfer your points to airlines or other hotels and get good value. With this card and the other Hilton cards, you’ll probably only ever use these points for Hilton hotel stays.
Overall Grade: B-
The perks are nice, but at the end of the day we want to know how many points you can earn, how much they’ll be worth when you use them, and how easy are they to use. Hilton does pretty well in all three of these categories. The 75k sign up bonus gives you a decent boost toward your next vacation. The ongoing earning potential means you’ll be able to earn future vacations with relative ease as well. The only downside is that you’re pretty much stuck with redeeming these point for Hilton hotel stays for better or worse. On the whole, we like this card and recommend it for trips to Disney World or Disneyland.