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Hilton Amex Offers Compared
Yesterday American Express released two new “best ever” bonus offers on their co-branded Hilton Honors credit cards. Danny covered the basics of the new 80K & 100K + free night offers yesterday, but I thought I would go into a bit more depth to look at the true value and to determine if either is worth considering. Let’s take a look.
Note: I am analyzing the bonus values in this post. For the earnings and benefits of each card, see yesterday’s posts linked to above.
Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express
Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn a free weekend night award after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Ends 5/31/2017.
Why This Is The Best Ever
100,000 point offers on this card have come and gone quite frequently over the past year or so, but the anniversary night is new. American Express recently announced their desire to create long term customers and this added free night seemingly attempts to do that.
Hilton recently went through some changes when they re-branded their loyalty program to Honors from HHonors. (Big change right?!?) Anyway, as part of that shakeup they eliminated award charts and expanded cash & points availability. While this is a bad move for consumers in the long term, one positive (I guess) is that Hilton has basically made their points worth .4 cents each on almost all redemptions.
Thus in exchange for a $75 first year annual fee, you are getting $400 worth of points. (100,000 * .004)
If you keep the card a second year and pay another $75, you will get a free weekend night. It is hard to assign value to this, but I have personally been able to use my certs at properties like the Grand Wailea in Maui where I received over $600 in value. In other words, this free weekend night has the potential to be just as valuable as the 100K points!
When analyzing the Citi Hilton Reserve card and its free weekend nights I have generally used a $250 value for the certs and have exceeded that every time. For consistency I will use the same value here.
If we add it all up then, the math looks like this:
- 100K Points: $400
- Free Night: $250
- Annual fees: $150
- Offer Value: $500
Keep in mind that you also receive Hilton Honors Gold status and the ability to upgrade to Diamond status with $40K in spend per year. This card along with any authorized user cards receives Amex Offers as well which could add to your value significantly.
Hilton Honors Amex No Annual Fee
The second offer and the one I will argue is potentially just as valuable is the no annual fee Hilton Amex card.
Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 05/31/2017.
Why This Is The Best Ever
Previously the highest ever bonus on this card was 75,000 points as far as I know. This new 80,000 point offer beats that by 5,000 and maintains the same $0 annual fee and benefits.
As I mentioned before, Hilton Honors points are worth .4 cents ($.004) each. This makes the math for this offer quite simple considering there is no annual fee or second year offer.
80,000 * .004 = $320
Anytime I can get $250 or more bonus value out of a no annual fee card it piques my interest. Just as with the Surpass, this card is eligible for Amex Offers, but it only gives you Silver status which is one peg above worthless.
Which Offer to Choose?
Now is the time to determine which offer to pick if you want one of these cards. Keep in mind you are only eligible for a bonus on these cards if you have never had it before. Each of these two products is separate, so if you have had the Surpass for example, you can get the no annual fee card and vice-versa.
When determining which product is better, let’s start at the first year value.
- Surpass First Year Value: $400 – $75 = $325
- Hilton Amex First Year Value: $320
Once we factor in the annual fee, the offers are almost identical in the first year. Since the regular Hilton Amex doesn’t have an annual fee, let’s assume you will keep it past the first year and compare second year values.
- Surpass Second Year Value: $250 – $75 = $175
- Hilton Amex Second Year Value: $0
This is where the Surpass offer looks much better, but there are some pitfalls. Remember that you have to use your free night within a year or you lose it. Considering you will be paying a $75 annual fee, you could be in the hole. Something to consider.
One last consideration is earnings. If you use these cards for spend then the Surpass is better as well. It earns 12X at Hilton properties compared to 7X with the no annual fee card. It also earns 6X at restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores compared to 5X. Both earn 3X on everyday spend.
What Would I Do?
Believe it or not I have never had either of these cards, since I focused on other Amex products while I earned my Hilton points from Citi. Personally I would lean towards the Surpass card (despite not needing the status) for two reasons. First, the free night has value and second Amex has been known to offer points to upgrade the no annual fee card to the Surpass.
If I get the Surpass first and then the no annual fee card at some point in the future, I may receive an offer to upgrade from the no annual fee card to the Surpass again. On the flip side if I get the no annual fee card now without getting the Surpass and take an upgrade offer, I will be negating my ability to earn a sign-up bonus on the Surpass in the future.
Both of these offers are “best ever” and very good, but neither compares to recent 100K offers we have seen on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Amex Business Platinum. With that said, if you are invested in the Hilton Honors universe, have a good relationship with Amex and can utilize the status and Amex Offers, you can do quite well with either of these cards/bonuses.
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