Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Amex Hilton Surpass

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If you’re a frequent traveler or simply enjoy earning rewards, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

The Sapphire Preferred is known for its flexible redemption options, while the Hilton Surpass offers generous rewards for Hilton stays, as well as everyday purchases like groceries and dining.

But how do these two cards stack up against each other? We’ll be diving deep into the details of each card, comparing their welcome bonuses, rewards, and benefits. By the end of this review, you’ll have a better idea of which card is the perfect fit for your travel needs.

Cards Overview

Best Starter Travel Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • bonus_miles_full
  • 5x Points on Travel Booked Via Chase
  • 3x Points on Dining and Eligible Delivery Services
  • 2x Points on All Other Travel Purchases
  • 10% Anniversary Points Boost
  • Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance
  • $95 Annual Fee

Click Here to Learn How to Apply

12X Points at Hilton Hotels and Resorts
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 12X Points at Hilton Hotels and Resorts
  • 6X Points at U.S. Restaurants, U.S. Supermarkets, and U.S. Gas Stations
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • 10 Complimentary Priority Pass Lounge Visits
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • $95 Annual Fee (rates & fees)
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Welcome Bonus

The Chase Sapphire Preferred currently offers the following welcome bonus:

bonus_miles_full

The Hilton Surpass Amex currently offers the following welcome bonus:

Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Sapphire Preferred vs Hilton Amex Surpass

Earning Points

The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points and offers bonus points on spending in several categories:

  • 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Chase travel portal;
  • 5 points per dollar on Lyft purchases (through March 2025);
  • 5 points per dollar on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases of $250 or more (through March 2025, with a limit of 25,000 bonus points);
  • 3 points per dollar on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out;
  • 3 points per dollar on online grocery store purchases (excludes Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs);
  • 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, including Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, Youtube TV, Pandora, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Hulu, and ESPN+;
  • 2 points per dollar on all travel not booked through the Chase travel portal; and
  • 1 point per dollar on all other eligible spending.

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The Hilton Surpass Amex allows cardholders to earn points at the following rates:

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Although the Hilton Surpass earns more points per dollar in many categories, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth much more than Hilton Honors points (about 3x more valuable).

For example, you are better off earning 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points than 6x Hilton Honors points at restaurants. 

But the Hilton Surpass is better at the Sapphire Preferred for purchases at Hilton, gas stations, and U.S. Supermarkets (in-person, rather than online grocery). 

Card Benefits

The Sapphire Preferred offers nice benefits, including:

  • Receive 25% more value on points redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards.
  • 10% Points Bonus for each Cardmember anniversary.
  • A complimentary one-year subscription to DashPass by DoorDash when you enroll by December 31, 2024.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance (up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip).
  • Primary car rental insurance.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000 per passenger)
  • Baggage delay insurance (up to $100 per day for five days).
  • Trip delay insurance (up to $500 per ticket for a delay longer than 12 hours or overnight).
  • Extended warranty.
  • 120 days purchase protection (up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per year).
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Free 6-month membership to Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024).

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: Tie.

The Sapphire Preferred better travel insurance for trip delay, trip cancellation, and rental cars (primary instead of secondary).

The Hilton Surpass offers valuable Hilton Gold status and 10 complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge passes, which are both nice perks. 

Annual Fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with an annual fee of $95.

While some users might be initially deterred by this cost, it’s important to consider the value and benefits that come with the card.

The rewards points, travel benefits, and purchase protections can help offset the cost of the annual fee for frequent travelers.

The Hilton Surpass Amex has an annual fee of $95 (rates & fees), which can be offset by the Hilton Gold status and travel and purchase protections.

Winner: Tie. 

Redeeming Points

The earns Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most flexible points currencies.

You can use your points to book flights, hotel stays, and even rent a car through Chase Travel — all at a fixed rate of 1.25 cents per point. For example, 100,000 points are equivalent to $1,250 towards travel.

You can unlock even more value than 1.25 cents per point by transferring rewards to Chase airline and hotel partners.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners [1 to 1]
Aer Lingus Aer Lingus Air Canada Air Canada Aeroplan
British Airways British Airways Emirates logo Emirates
Air France Air France/KLM World of Hyatt Hyatt Hotels
Iberia logo Iberia IHG Hotels IHG Hotels
JetBlue JetBlue Marriott Hotels Marriott
Singapore Airlines Singapore Southwest Airlines Southwest
United Airlines logo United Virgin Atlantic logo Virgin Atlantic

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: Chase Sapphire Preferred

With the Sapphire Preferred card, you can enjoy a higher redemption value for travel bookings made through Chase. Plus, the card’s flexible redemption options allow you to transfer your points to a wide range of hotel and airline partners, even across different airline alliances. 

The Verdict

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Hilton Surpass Amex are great choices for travelers since they offer solid benefits and rewards.

I would recommend getting both cards, but if you have to choose one here’s what you should do.

If you’re a regular guest at Hilton Hotels and can take advantage of the card’s 12x earning rates and Hilton Gold elite status, then the Hilton Surpass Amex is likely the better option for you.

If you stay at several hotel brands, want better travel protections, and want to use your points to airline rewards, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better option.

Best Starter Travel Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • bonus_miles_full
  • 5x Points on Travel Booked Via Chase
  • 3x Points on Dining and Eligible Delivery Services
  • 2x Points on All Other Travel Purchases
  • 10% Anniversary Points Boost
  • Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Primary Rental Car Insurance
  • $95 Annual Fee

Click Here to Learn How to Apply

12X Points at Hilton Hotels and Resorts
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 12X Points at Hilton Hotels and Resorts
  • 6X Points at U.S. Restaurants, U.S. Supermarkets, and U.S. Gas Stations
  • Hilton Honors Gold Status
  • 10 Complimentary Priority Pass Lounge Visits
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • $95 Annual Fee (rates & fees)
Learn More Our Review
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