The Amex Platinum Card is known for its wide array of travel benefits, earning extra points on flights, and offers premium perks like airport lounge access and elite status.
On the other hand, the Hilton Honors Surpass Card caters specifically to Hilton hotel loyalists, offering considerable rewards on Hilton properties along with complimentary Hilton Gold status.
This article will compare each card based on several factors to help you make an informed decision on which card is the best to add to your wallet.
Overview of Each Card
Amex Platinum cardholders earn rewards at the following rates:
- 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com.
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Cardmembers are also eligible for targeted Amex Offers that could boost earning rates at various merchants.
The Hilton Surpass Amex allows cardholders to earn points at the following rates:
Winner: Hilton Surpass since its offers more extra bonus categories than the Amex Platinum.
Card Benefits and Perks
The Amex Platinum is widely recognized as a premium travel credit card, and it certainly lives up to that reputation by offering a range of exclusive perks and benefits, including:
Airport Lounge Access: Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Escape lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs (when traveling on same-day Delta flights).*
$200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your card.*
$200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 annually in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the U.S., which is split into monthly $15 credits and then $35 total in December.*
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases at: Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment is required.*
$155 Walmart+ Credit: Receive up to a $155 statement credit that covers the full cost of a monthly Walmart+ membership ($12.95 plus applicable taxes) when paying with the Amex Platinum (subject to auto-renewal). Plus Up Benefits are not eligible and enrollment is required.*
$200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection (2-night minimum stay required) bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.*
$300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back per calendar year via statement credits on an Equinox+ subscription, or any Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment is required.*
$189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.*
$100 Global Entry Credit: Receive a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. *
Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit, split into two $50 statement credits between (1) January and June and (2) July through December. *
$300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction, and an Equinox+ subscription is required.*
Hotel Status: Complimentary Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.*
Rental Car Status: Hertz President’s Circle, Avis Preferred Plus and National Emerald Club Executive.*
Other benefits include:
- Trip delay insurance; **
- Trip cancellation insurance; **
- Extended warranty;**
- Purchase protection;**
- Return protection;** and
- No preset spending limit.
* Enrollment is required for select benefits.
** Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions, and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
The Amex Hilton Surpass Card offers the following benefits for its cardholders:
- Automatic Hilton Gold Elite Status.
- Earn Hilton Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year.
- Earn a free weekend night after spending $15,000 in a calendar year.
- 10 complimentary Priority Pass visits each year.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Purchase Protection*
- Extended Warranty.*
- Secondary Rental Car Insurance*
* Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions, and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
Winner: The Amex Platinum is the king of card benefits with so many statement credits, elite status, and airport lounge access.
Value of the Annual Fees
The Amex Platinum comes with a hefty annual fee of $695 (rates & fees), which can be offset if you take advantage of the numerous credits totaling up to $1,984 per year, airport lounge access, and elite status.
There is also a $195 annual fee for each additional authorized user Platinum Card, who also receive airport lounge access, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, and hotel and rental car elite status.
For example, if you had three authorized users with Amex Platinum cards, your additional fee would be $585.
Alternatively, you can add for free up to 99 Companion Cards for free, which allows you to earn points for spending on the Companion Card, but there are no perks like airport lounge access.
Winner: It depends. The Hilton Surpass’s annual fee can be a good deal if you don’t already have airport lounge access or Hilton Gold status. But if you already have those two things, the Amex Platinum’s benefits can offset the large annual fee with some work to take advantage of all of the statement credits and airport lounge access.
American Express Membership Rewards is a popular rewards program that offers a variety of redemption options, including travel, merchandise, gift cards, and more.
However, to get the most value out of your rewards, it’s important to use them strategically.
One of the best ways to use Amex Membership Rewards is through transfer partners.
By transferring your points to these partners, you can often get more value per point and enjoy a wider range of redemption options.
|Membership Rewards Transfer Partners [1 to 1]|
|Aer Lingus Avios||AeroMexico [1 to 1.6]|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|British Airways Avios||Cathay Pacific Asia Miles|
|Delta SkyMiles||El Al [1,000 to 20]|
|Hawaiian Airlines||Iberia Avios|
|JetBlue [250 to 200]||Qantas|
|Qatar Airways||Singapore KrisFlyer|
|Marriott Bonvoy||Hilton Honors [1 to 2]|
For the Hilton Honors program, redeeming your points for free hotel nights is the best value.
Unfortunately, Hilton does not publish an award chart so the cost to use your points varies based on several factors such as the demand for the hotel and the cash price for your chosen dates.
The price for a “standard room” is between 5,000 points for budget properties and 150,000 points for ultra-luxurious properties like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives.
Hilton also lets you book a “premium room”, which allows you to book suites, villas, and better rooms, but the price for these are much higher than standard rooms.
All Hilton Honors elite members (including Silver, Gold, and Diamond members) receive a fifth night free on award stays, which is a way to help save points on longer award stays.
Winner: Amex Platinum since Membership Rewards points are more flexible than Hilton Honors points with the ability to transfer to 20+ airline and hotel partners.
The Amex Platinum is great if you fly at least several times per year to take advantage of the airport lounge access and other perks.
The Hilton Surpass is a good option if you want Hilton benefits and don’t have airport lounge access from another card.
Which card are you going to choose?