Hilton HHonors is launching a new premium co-branded AMEX Surpass credit card that comes with the opportunity to reach Hilton’s highest-level elite status. Cardmembers will be given complimentary Gold VIP tier status the first year of cardmembership and each subsequent year with a $20,000 annual spend on the card and Diamond VIP status after spending $40,000 with the card. Cardmembers will receive up to a 40,000 point sign-up bonus after first purchase. Plus, members can earn 2,500 points per Hilton stay on up to eight stays when spending $100 or more per stay during the first 18 months of cardmembership.
Members will receive nine bonus points per dollar spent on eligible spending at Hilton hotels; six points per dollar spent at supermarkets (excluding warehouse clubs and superstores), drug stores, gas stations and telephone, wireless, cable, satellite TV and Internet service providers and three points per dollar spent everywhere else. Other benefits of membership include a complimentary basic membership in Priority Pass, which offers lounge access to over 500 participating airport lounges worldwide for a $27 fee per visit. The Surpass credit card is only available to U.S. residents for a $75 annual fee.
While some members will be enthusiastic about the card’s ability to launch them to elite tiers, some current elite members may be concerned that an influx of Gold and Diamond members could dilute elite membership. Diamond VIP status comes with space available room upgrades, access to Executive Floor lounges and a 50 percent bonus on base points. For members primarily interested in buying their way to elite status, the Hilton HHonors Platinum AMEX also offers Gold VIP after spending $20,000 annually, and with no annual fee. The Platinum AMEX, however, does not offer Diamond status and the earning rates are slightly lower at six points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels.