Hilton, Amex Revamp Hilton Honors Surpass and Aspire Cards 
handing over a Hilton Honors credit card

Hilton, Amex Revamp Hilton Honors Surpass and Aspire Cards 

“Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.”

Hilton and American Express have announced some major updates to two of their co-branded cards: the Hilton Honors Surpass and Hilton Honors Aspire cards.

About the Hilton Honors Surpass changes:

In addition to retaining all of its previous rewards categories, the card will now earn 4x Hilton Honors points on U.S. online retail purchases. Meanwhile, the Surpass card will be adding a new benefit that will earn cardholders up to $200 per year in statement credits when they use their card to make eligible purchases at participating Hilton properties. This credit is divided into calendar quarters, allowing customers to earn up to $50 in statement credits per quarter. Lastly, cardmembers will now earn complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status.

Previously, Surpass cardholders also enjoyed up to 10 complimentary airport lounge visits via Priority Pass. However, this perk has been removed from the revamped version of the card.

To account for these updates, the card’s annual fee will be increased from the current $95 to $150.

About the Hilton Honors Aspire changes:

As with the Surpass card, the Hilton Honors Aspire card will also be retaining its rewards categories and other perks, such as complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status. But, also akin to the Surpass, it will be losing its Priority Pass privileges (which were unlimited with the Aspire). In that perk’s place, Hilton and Amex have added or adjusted several credits to the card.

Now, Aspire customers can earn up to $400 in statement credits per year on purchases made using their card at participating Hilton Resorts. This is up from the previous $250 annual credit. However, in contrast to the former credit, this one is divided semiannually (up to $200 during each half of the year).

Another newly updated credit is one for up to $200 for eligible flight purchases — which replaces the $250 airline fee credit the previous version of the card offered. This credit is split up into $50 increments per quarter. Notably, unlike the prior credit and some other American Express credits of this nature, this new one can be redeemed for a wide range of flight purchases, including airfare itself.

The Hilton Aspire card will also be adding a $189 annual statement credit for CLEAR Plus. This credit will cover the full annual fee for the service for one person, while additional family members can be added to a membership for $70 per year. With CLEAR Plus, customers will be able to save time in line at select airport security checkpoints. Plus, the service can be used in tandem with TSA Precheck to save travelers even more time.

Continuing the new benefits, cardholders will now earn One Free Night Reward after spending $30,000 in purchases on their card in a calendar year. Lastly, customers will earn complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status with their Aspire card.

With these new perks, the Aspire card’s annual fee will be climbing to $550 — up from the previous $450.

Enhanced welcome bonus offers:

With the launch of these revamped cards, enhanced welcome offers have also been unveiled.

Discover the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Check out all of the benefits of each card and apply in minutes. Click the button below to get started.
Best Travel Rewards Cards

Currently, new Hilton Honors Surpass card members can earn 170,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on their card within their first six months. As for the Hilton Honors Aspire card, new cardholders can earn 180,000 bonus points after spending $6,000 in purchases on their card within their first six months. According to Hilton, this number of points means that cardholders can redeem for four nights at participating Hilton properties. Incidentally, if those four nights are stung together, customers can actually enjoy five nights since Hilton offers a fifth night free promotion on all standard room reward stays.

My thoughts:

When it comes to these updates to the Hilton Honors Surpass and Aspire cards, there are definitely trade offs. The most obvious example of this is the increased annual fee for both cards. Additionally, the removal of Priority Pass privileges may be a blow to some. On that note, while I suspect that many Aspire cardholders will have lounge access via other cards, the Surpass card was one of the more affordable ways to gain a Priority Pass (even if it was limited to 10 annual visits).

Personally, I think the updates do make the Aspire card more intriguing for a few reasons. First, the $400 credit for Hilton purchases ($200 semiannually) still seems easy enough to use, making the $150 boost worth the annoyance of splitting the credit across at least two stays. Meanwhile, the $200 flight purchases credit ($50 per quarter) is far stronger than the Platinum card’s famously particular “airline incidental fees” credit. Then again, making this credit quarterly definitely hurts its appeal — especially since customers may need to sacrifice perks from other cards in order to take advantage of it.

As always, when it comes to these cards and updates, your mileage may vary. Therefore, before deciding to apply and claim one of these enhanced bonuses, be sure to run the math and make sure that you can realistically expect to earn positive value from the card.

Fioney has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fioney.com and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.” (Note: advertising relationships do not have any influence on editorial content. Advertising compensation allows Fioney.com to provide quality content for free. All editorial opinions are those of the individual author and/or Fioney staff.)


Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

"The Unbanking of America" Book Review

In her new book " The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives" author Lisa Servon looks at everything from the payday loan industry to FinTech while also discussing the changing economics of the middle class.
Charlie and SpeedBump logos

Charlie Introduces SpeedBump Fraud Protection Feature

A FinTech that helps prevent adults from falling victim to scams and fraud is adding a new feature to further that cause. About SpeedBump: Today, Charlie announced the launch of its SpeedBump feature. This tool combines alerts, pauses, and real-time education to help protect older adults who may be vulnerable to scams and fraud. SpeedBump may be activated when Charlie customers take certain actions, such as adding a payee, making...
AMEX card in the middle of a restaurant table full of food

American Express to Acquire Tock from Squarespace

American Express is expanding its dining platform with not one but two acquisitions. About the acquisitions: Today, Amex announced that it will be acquiring the restaurant reservation service Tock from Squarespace (who purchased the company in 2021). The purchase is expected to be for $400 million in cash but is subject to closing conditions, customary adjustments, and regulatory approval. Amex also notes that, as part of the deal with Squarespace,...
The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

A Guide to Building Credit and Increasing Your Credit Scores

When it comes to credit, there’s some good news. The average credit score in the United States has been steadily rising in recent years, coming in at 715 in 2023. That may be because, today, consumers not only have more ways to access their credit reports and scores than ever before but also because there are an increasing number of options that Americans have for building credit in the first...

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind...
Brim logo

Brim Financial Raises $85 Million as It Eyes Global Expansion

Toronto-based FinTech infrastructure startup Brim Financial has announced a new funding round. About the round: Brim has revealed an $85 million round. The Series C was led by EDC Investments while new investor Vistara Growth and returning investors White Owl Group, Epic Ventures, and Zions Bank also participated. To date, the company has now raised $110 million including a Series B in 2021. According to Brim, the latest funding will...
Chase Freedom Flex card

Chase Reveals Q2 2024 Freedom 5%(+) Bonus Categories

Chase has announced its bonus category picks for the second quarter of 2024 — including some interesting twists. About the categories: As April approaches, Chase has revealed what categories Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonuses on. From April 1st through June 30th, customers can earn 5% (or more) in three categories: Amazon.com, Hotels, and Restaurants. Similar to how Chase embraced a "New Year, New Me" theme last quarter,...
Rent Day

Bilt Announces Home Collection Deal for May 2024 Rent Day

For May's Rent Day, Bilt is offering a deal that will allow members to decrease their rent bill while also adding to their home decor. About the Home Collection offer: Bilt has crafted a unique Rent Day offer for May 2024. Through the 1st, when Bilt members redeem their points toward rent payments, they'll receive the same number of points to be used toward Bilt Home Collection items. To take...