The Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express credit card now offers Hilton HHonors Gold elite status as an ongoing card benefit without requiring a minimum spend.
When the Hilton Surpass card was first introduced a few years ago, cardholders received complimentary Gold elite status the first year and were required to spend $20,000 to requalify for Gold each subsequent year. The card has a $75 annual fee, which is less than the $95 annual fee required by the Citi Hilton Reserve card that also offers Gold elite status as an ongoing perk to cardholders.
Bottom line: If you stay often enough at Hilton to be able to take advantage of Gold elite status but less than the 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 points needed to qualify for Gold status, acquiring the Hilton HHonors Surpass card may be worth the $75 fee. Gold members receive 25 percent bonus points, fifth night free on award stays of five nights or more, complimentary Internet and free breakfast at many Hilton brands, among other benefits.