Best Strategy for Amex Hilton Surpass Signup Bonus (100K + Free Night Certificate)

Updated on June 1, 2017

Hilton Honors Surpass 100k Approved - Amex Hilton Surpass

I just got approved!

Amex Hilton Surpass Overview – 100K

This is the biggest signup offer ever for the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express credit card.  Not only has the bonus points been increased to a whopping 100,000 points, Amex decided to throw in 1 free weekend night certificate on the cardholder's 1st anniversary date to sweeten the deal.


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 Offer Details

  • Get 100,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3k in 3 months.
  • Offer Ends 5/31/17
  • Get 1 free weekend night certificate on the anniversary date of when you got approved.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Points for each dollar spent at hotel that is part of the Hilton family; 6X points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations; 3X points for all other eligible purchases
  • Gold Status at Hilton comes with the card! (get those expensive breakfasts for free!)
  • Get Diamond Status after spending $40k in a calendar year



  • As with all Amex cards, signup bonus is once per lifetime (or till Amex systems forget about you ~ 7 – 8 years from card cancel date)
  • $75 annual fee not waived first year
  • Need to pay annual fee the 2nd year to get the free weekend night certificate
  • Max total of four Amex credit cards open at any one time
    • This includes both personal cards and business cards,
    • Excludes charge cards (like Amex Plat)


Analysis of Signup Offer

I generally prefer to stay at Hilton properties that are towards the higher end of the spectrum – ones that typically charge a high nightly rate ($500+) but also have award room availability… such as the Conrad Maldives where I stayed ~3 years ago – boy does time fly by!

My friend Anthony recently stayed in the Presidential suite at the Conrad Koh Samui.  He used 3 free weekend night certificates to book a Friday – Monday stay and then negotiated an upgrade with the Reservations Manager to the Royal Oceanview Villa for only 10,000 baht per night.  What a deal! The nightly rates range from $500 – $900 per night at this particular Conrad and an award redemption costs up to 95,000 Hilton pts.  If you were to redeem your awards at this Conrad, this signup bonus would afford you 2 free nights (value of $1000 – $1,800, depending on date).


TheRewardBoss Strategy

I actually don't have any upcoming Hilton stays planned but I applied anyway and was approved instantly online.  Here's my game plan:

  • 5/25/17: Amex Hilton Surpass application/approval date (annual fee $75)
  • 8/25/17: Amex credits my Hilton account with 100,000 Hilton pts (109k to be exact including the $3k required spend)
  • 12/25/17: Apply for the Citi Hilton Reserve card – signup bonus of 2 free weekend night certificates (annual fee $95)
  • 5/25/18: Amex issues me 1 free weekend night certificate (2nd annual fee $75); Would have received 2 free weekend night certificates already from Citi (total 3)

Hopefully by this time next year, I will have planned a vacation involving a high end Hilton property. The 3 free weekend night certificates must be redeemed on Fri, Sat, or Sun nights (that's how Amex/Citi defines “weekend night”). And if I wanted to stay at that property a 4th night, I can use my 100k Hilton balance to book either Thursday night or Monday night.

Total cost $75 + $75 + $95 = $245 for 4 nights at a top of the line Hilton property – now that's a fantastic deal!

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About The Reward Boss

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  1. You’ll actually have 109k points instead of 103k points after meeting min. spend. That’s because the card gives you 3x Hilton Honors points at the base spending level.

  2. In fact, if much of your spend is at restaurants, you’ll accrue even more points. I racked up 16K in two months, which was enough spend to achieve the 100K bonus too. It’s a great card.

    The Reward Boss’s strategy was a good one in general, and similar to my own. But now that Hilton has dropped Citi, it’s no longer possible. I plan on canceling my Surpass card once I use it for one year and 11 months to maximize it’s wonderful earning power and use the free night. Then I’ll apply for the other Amex Hilton card, which at its highest was offering an 80K bonus.

    • Yes quite unfortunate that the Citi Hilton reserve was nixed. Hopefully you were able to score the signup bonus 1 more time before all links were pulled.

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