And the plot thickens! As you may or may not know, the increased 75,000 points offer on Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card is set to expire tomorrow. Update: This non-affiliate link is working for now.
Coincidentally (?) Amex has just upped the sign-up bonus on its Hilton co-branded cards. Read this Doctorofcredit post that broke the news on these two new offers.
The increased bonus on regular no-fee Hilton HHonors card from American Express is now 75,000 points, identical to Citi. It’s only 5,000 points extra compared to the previous offer, so probably not a game changer. But Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass offer of 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months is definitely noteworthy.
Of course, you will still have to pay $75 annual fee, but in exchange you’ll get Gold status which will give you free breakfast and possible upgrades at most Hilton properties. If you’ve been thinking about applying for Amex Surpass, now is probably the time. The offer expires 5/04/2016, so you do have a month to think about it. See this list for details on various hotel card bonuses.
An update on April 1st: Both Amex offers now pay me commission. You can also use this link to refer someone if you happen to have one of those cards.
So, the question is: should you forget all the other cards and jump on this Surpass bonus? Not necessarily. I wrote a post awhile back with comparison of all three Hilton offers, though, admittedly, it was put together before this latest development. Still, the principles apply. If you don’t see yourself needing Hilton points within the next few years and are looking to collect them speculatively, it’s probably best to go with Citi offer. It’s churnable (you can get it again), while Amex cards are not.
That said, this new 100K offer should probably make you take a look at your future plans and see if you can rearrange them. Maybe it would be best to save other hotel points and get this very lucrative bonus. Are there any Hilton properties that happen to be Category 1-3 in the places you are going? Are you planning to stay 5 nights in one location? Is breakfast benefit important to you?
It could also make sense to consider Hilton Surpass if you don’t currently have any Amex cards. I believe with some work, you can get at least $75 (probably more) per year in savings via “Offers for you” program. That would take care of the annual fee.
Is it likely for this offer to go above 100K points in a near future? It’s possible, but I really doubt it. It’s already extremely competitive, and one would argue, superior to all the other hotel offers on the market. Of course, I’m not saying it’s a no-brainer. The only hotel card that even comes to close to being worthy of this title is Chase IHG MasterCard. And even then, it really depends on your preferences.
Speaking of, Chase 5/24 rule for co-branded cards is (presumably) looming on the horizon, so it could make sense for you to channel your energy and spending toward one of those offers instead. See my post for some suggestions.
There is another interesting development: Hilton has brought back its Diamond status match, where you need to apply through June 30th, 2016. If you happen to have Hyatt Diamond or IHG Platinum status, you should be able to get it via online form. If you are debating between Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature and Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass, and happen to have elite status in other program that would qualify you for Hilton Diamond, this could sway you towards the first offer.
There is another scenario. You could, of course, just get both. Let me make it clear that I’m not suggesting people go crazy by taking on too much in minimum spending. So, if you are struggling in this area, I’m not talking to you. But let’s say, someone has interest in accumulating Hilton points. You could apply for Citi offer right now and wait till May to apply for Amex Surpass card. This would make it easier to meet minimum spending requirements. You may want to check out my post on some ways you could prepay certain bills. As always, be careful!
If you go this route, you will have close to 200K Hilton points from just two cards. This hotel currency may not be super valuable, but there is still a lot you can do with this amount of points. Of course, the biggest value is in the lower categories. But let’s say, you want a beachfront hotel in Florida during peak season.
Here are just a few examples:
It’s a category 7, so costs between 30,000-60,000 points per night, depending on the time of the year. The rooms have two queen beds. This property looks very nice and gets good reviews.
The cost is 40,000 points per night; 30,000 in the off-season. All rooms are suites (fit up to 6) and face the ocean. With “5th night free” benefit, you could get five nights during spring for only 160K points.
Of, course, there are many more Hilton properties that will let you leverage your points for a good deal. To me, the best part about this program is its huge footprint. As always, it’s impossible to say whether any given hotel credit card sign-up offer is good or bad, but I can definitely state that these are worth considering… for some.
Readers, who is excited about Amex 100k offer?
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