AMEX Hilton: Surpass vs. No-fee

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Old Sep 27, 09, 9:32 pm
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AMEX Hilton: Surpass vs. No-fee

I am trying to decide between getting the Hilton Surpass AMEX card or just their regular no-fee AMEX. I guess, since I will rarely actually pay for a room at a hilton, basically I just need to decide whether the $75 annual fee is worth the extra 20,000 point bonus. Also, I've already applied and received a few cards recently so I think I need to be a little less carefree here considering the nervous conditions of these financial institutions. So my question that could make the decision for me is, is it "easier" to get the no-annual fee card compared to the Surpass or are they both treated the same, qualification-wise? In other words, if you could get the no-fee card you could just as easily get the Surpass version. (in terms of "instead of" and not "in addition to" that is.)
Thanks for any insight...
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Old Sep 27, 09, 9:43 pm
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When I got the no-fee card a few months back, I got it because I never had a AMEX before and I stay at a lot of hilton properties. Within about 60 days I got an email asking if I wanted to upgrade. There was no credit check or anyting. I was upgraded to gold for a year and they waived the first year $75 dollar fee. Now, I get 9 points instead of 6 at the properties. This is my main card though. If it was not then I really dont see the difference. I put about 1500-2000 a month on it right now, so the points are adding up.

If you already have status with Hilton (gold or diamond) and you are not going to be using this card frequently, then I would just stick the the no-fee card.
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Old Sep 28, 09, 9:29 am
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I think the biggest reason to get the Surpass card is that if you spend more than $40,000 a year Surpass will give you Diamond status. If you don't charge that much on a single card in a year, then I can't see that the $75 fee would really be worth it.
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Old Sep 28, 09, 11:26 am
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First year Gold status is also offered with the Surpass card. This alone is good enough reason to pay the $75 fee.
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Old Sep 28, 09, 1:05 pm
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Originally Posted by NWA747SNN View Post
First year Gold status is also offered with the Surpass card. This alone is good enough reason to pay the $75 fee.
But, after the first year, and if you don't spend 20K for Gold or 40K for Diamond, then the Surpass card is just a credit card with a $75.00 per year fee. I'm not sure that the extra 3 points for stays warrant the fee.

Bobette
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Old Sep 28, 09, 1:12 pm
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worth it for me

I hit $40k spent and received Diamond through 03/2011, so I will have that status for the next 18 months. I believe Hilton has "soft landing", so I should have Gold through 03/2012 and that is without spending another $1 on this card.

It is worth it for 9 points at Hiltons as well, and of course if you get Diamond anything on Hilton properties will yield an additional 50% bonus.

Some people could consider getting the card, hitting Diamond and then downgrading next year.

As some mentioned AMEX does give partial credit to the fee, many received a $50 credit against it, so it is only $25 for the card.

Not for me, but for some the benefit of free (usualy $99) yearly membership airport clubs (with a co-pay of $27/use) is worth it as well.

I hope this makes it easier for you.

Best,

PedroNY
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Old Sep 28, 09, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by PedroNY View Post
I believe Hilton has "soft landing", ...
Not true.

I went from Diamond of several year's standing to Blue in one shot.
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Old Sep 28, 09, 2:02 pm
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I just applied online for the regular HHonors Amex (my first one ever), under a targeted promotion to earn 62,500 points (20k after 1st purchase & 30k after $1500 in 90 days). But I didn't get instant approval. I'm concerned this is because I just applied (instant approval) for the SPG Amex last week.

Any suggestions on what may have happened, or if I should follow up with a phone call to try to help the approval process?
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Old Sep 28, 09, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by jenepat View Post
I just applied online for the regular HHonors Amex (my first one ever), under a targeted promotion to earn 62,500 points (20k after 1st purchase & 30k after $1500 in 90 days). But I didn't get instant approval. I'm concerned this is because I just applied (instant approval) for the SPG Amex last week.

Any suggestions on what may have happened, or if I should follow up with a phone call to try to help the approval process?
Unless things have changed from earlier this year you will not get both cards.
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Old Sep 28, 09, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by sharklover View Post
Unless things have changed from earlier this year you will not get both cards.
Are you saying they don't allow you to have a HHonors Amex and an SPG Amex at the same time? This seems contrary to what I've read on FT (unless my info was gathered on obsolete posts).
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Old Sep 28, 09, 3:41 pm
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Amex has really cracked down on credit lines. They won't let you open multiple new accounts in a short period of time.
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Old Sep 28, 09, 6:18 pm
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There's a lengthy existing thread to read about Surpass.

As far as credit hits, one certainly affects one's FICO score taking out another card. And credit companies are getting mroe restrictive as well.

Check the benefits side by side, and decide. I like Surpass because:

9 points per dollar spent at Hilton Family hotels, as well as the same HH AMEX 6 points iirc at grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations and to pay wireless, home phone, Internet, cable, and satellite TV bills; 3 points per dollar for everything else. 2,500 bonus points for the first eight stays paid for with Surpass.

40,000 HHonors points with first purchase isn't bad, either.

And for some, status maintenance with Surpass is easier.

I wish AMEX still paid the grocery store etc. points at USPS and restaurants.
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Old Sep 28, 09, 6:31 pm
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I hit diamond every year based on stays and nights. I only use my Amex at Hilton properties and Costco. Without the benefit of status, the 3 extra points per dollar alone isn't worth the $75 fee.

But if you don't have status, and you'll spend enough to keep your status every year, then go for it. If you stay at hilton's regularly and this is the best way for you personally to maintain your diamond status, then it's worth the fee and using it as a primary card.
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Old Sep 29, 09, 8:28 am
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Originally Posted by jenepat View Post
Are you saying they don't allow you to have a HHonors Amex and an SPG Amex at the same time?
I had both cards while I was saving up for a Starwood award, although I had had the HHonors card for years, and got the Starwood card 01/07.
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Old Sep 29, 09, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by Forgetfu View Post
I hit diamond every year based on stays and nights. I only use my Amex at Hilton properties and Costco. Without the benefit of status, the 3 extra points per dollar alone isn't worth the $75 fee.
If you value HH points at .5 cents each, the break-even on the fee is $5,000 of hotel spending to make the extra 3 points worth it.
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