This morning I wrote about how the Hilton HHonors Surpass card from American Express surpassed my expectations for its point-earning ability. A few helpful readers pointed out that American Express has another Hilton HHonors card without the “Surpass” title and without the Surpass card’s $75 annual fee. I took a look at this card and indeed it appears to be almost as good as the Surpass for point-earnings. The main differences appear to be that for spending at Hilton hotels, the Surpass earns 9 points per dollar whereas the regular card earns 6; and while both cards will get you Gold status with $20K spend per year, only the Surpass will get you Diamond status for $40K spend per year. Check out the comments of the previous post to see one way (if you are a big spender) that you could actually cycle back and forth between these cards to keep Diamond status without paying $75 every year for the annual fee.
In order to estimate the point earning power of credit cards, I’ve setup a simple spreadsheet to automate the calculations. When I plugged the Hilton HHonors specs into the spreadsheet, it came out with a 4.43 points per dollar average. Compared to the 4.5 points per dollar average of the Surpass, this card is a close contender!
With the non-Surpass card, you will receive 6 Hilton HHonors bonus points at Hilton hotels, supermarkets; drug stores; stand-alone gas stations; and home telephone, wireless, cable, satellite TV and internet service providers. You will receive 3 Hilton HHonors bonus points per dollar for all other eligible spending.