Hilton Amex Cards: Limited time welcome offers with free night certificates and big points

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On this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air, Greg and Nick dug deep into how to strategize around American Express’ portfolio of Hilton Honors cards. Hilton’s new partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) is stirring up some increased interest in Hilton, even for someone like Greg who’s never bothered with the company’s Amex cards.

Now things have gotten even more interesting.

Three of the American Express Hilton Honors credit cards have limited-time welcome offers that include both a free night certificate (FNC) and a substantial tranche of Hilton points. Even the no annual fee Hilton Honors card now comes with a FNC after completing the minimum spend. These new offers represent some of the best we’ve seen on the Hilton cards when you combine the bonus points and the certs.

a balcony with a view of the ocean
View from the Conrad Fort Lauderdale

The Offers & Key Card Details

For more card information and to find an application link, see our dedicated card pages by clicking the names of the cards below.

Card Offer and Details
Limited Time Offer: 70K points + Free Night Certificate ⓘ Affiliate
70K points + free night certificate after $2K spend within the first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
(Offer Expires 7/31/2024)
No Annual Fee
After clicking through, be sure to choose the card you want on the landing page.
Recent better offer: None. This is the best that we've seen.
FM Mini Review: This card isn't particularly rewarding, but it's good to keep primarily for targeted Amex upgrade offers to the Surpass card.
Earning rate: ✦ 7X Hilton eligible Hilton purchases ✦ 5X US restaurants, US Supermarkets, and US gas stations ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Dine: 5X (2.4%)
Gas: 5X (2.4%)
Grocery: 5X (2.4%)
Brand: 7X (3.36%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Gold elite status with $20K calendar year spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free Silver status; Gold status with $20K spend. ✦ Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
Card Offer and Details
Limited Time Offer: 130K points + Free Night Certificate ⓘ Affiliate
130K points + free night certificate after $3K spend within the first 6 months. Terms apply.
(Offer Expires 7/31/2024)
$150 Annual Fee
After clicking through, be sure to select the card you want on the next page.
Recent better offer: None, this is the best that we've seen.
FM Mini Review: Easy way to secure Hilton Gold status (which offers free breakfast among other perks). Those who want Diamond status may be better off with the Aspire card.
Earning rate: ✦ 12X Hilton spend ✦ 6X U.S. restaurants, US Supermarkets, and US gas stations ✦ 4X U.S. Online Retail Purchases ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Dine: 6X (2.88%)
Gas: 6X (2.88%)
Grocery: 6X (2.88%)
Shop: 4X (1.92%)
Brand: 12X (5.76%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus:
✦ Free night award after $15K spend in calendar year ✦ Diamond elite status with $40K calendar year spend ✦ Terms apply
Noteworthy perks: Free Gold status. Diamond status w/ $40K spend. ✦ Up to $200 in Hilton credits ($50 per quarter) ✦ Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
Card Offer and Details
Limited Time Offer: 175K Points + free night certificate ⓘ Friend-Referral
175K after $6K spend in first 6 months. Free night certificate every year - first certificate is awarded 8-12 weeks after approval. Terms apply.
(Offer Expires 7/31/2024)
$550 Annual Fee
After clicking through, be sure to select the card you want on the next page.
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: This card is loaded with valuable perks that are more than worth the card's annual fee if you stay in Hilton resorts at least twice per year.
Earning rate: ✦ 14X Hilton spend ✦ 7X US restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, select car rental companies ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases ✦ Terms & Limitations Apply.
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Travel: 7X (3.36%)
Dine: 7X (3.36%)
Brand: 14X (6.72%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Additional free night awards after $30K and $60K spend in calendar year
Noteworthy perks: ✦Annual Free Night Reward every year upon renewal ✦ Free Diamond Status ✦ Up to $400 Hilton Resort Credit per membership year ($200 semi-annually) ✦ $200 Flight Credit ($50 per quarter for purchases directly with airlines or via Amex Travel) ✦ $100 on-property credit w/ Aspire Card package ✦ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

Quick Thoughts

Hilton has possibly the most flexible and easy to use free night certificates of any major hotel chain. You can use them for a standard room at almost any Hilton property worldwide, regardless of what the nightly cost is in cash or points. Originally, these certs were only applicable towards weekend stays, but during the pandemic, Hilton made them available for use any day of the week, a change that was made permanent in 2022.

Even better, we’ve learned that these certificates will be able to be used at SLH properties as they’re added to Hilton Honors, which should create some drool-worthy opportunities to use them in the future.

As for the cards, the offer on the Surpass is probably the most attractive to me. It gives you 130K Hilton points combined with a free might certificate, all for a very reasonable minimum spend. In addition, the Surpass earns another FNC by putting $15K total spend on the card during the cardmember year, an especially lucrative proposition if you can concentrate that spend in the one of its numerous 6x categories.

The Aspire always awards a free night certificate when you get the card, so that part of the offer isn’t new. Given that, if the choice is between that or the Surpass and you don’t need the Diamond status that the Aspire gives you ASAP, I’d go for the Surpass first, knowing that you can circle back and get the Aspire and still have access to the FNC after these limited-time offers have expired.

Keep in mind that each Hilton card is considered a separate product and they aren’t yet covered by Amex’s dreaded family rules. Because of this, it’s still possible to get a welcome offer on all four cards without running afoul of Amex’s “one welcome offer in a lifetime rule.”

Note that each of these offers are available via referral, so if you’re in 2-player mode you can add even more points to the total haul. You don’t even need a Hilton card to refer someone, as referrals are possible from Membership Rewards (MR)-earning cards as well (ie, Amex Platinum, Gold, etc). Some folks are finding referral offers as high as -25-30K MR for referring a new cardholder, which is a significant addition to these already sweet Hilton offers.

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48 Comments
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Kurt S

P1 and P2 both received pop ups on these offers. We have had these products within the last seven years and were not eligible for the bonus.

Clara

wow, was just about to apply for the Hilton biz card (175k with $8k spend, then the $15k spend before 6/30 get you a FN), and saw this offer when I opened the referral link from p2. Maybe should get the biz card first (before 6/5), then this one later (before 7/31)

YoniPDX

Was planning on applying for the the 175K Surpass earlier this year even closed one of my CC to re-apply ( was denied due to 5 CC in January) – but this is actually better as I have a 20K referral from P2 and the FNC and 150K with referral. I guess I will have to see If I’m still out of PUJ -have been lately and put some decent spend across various cards.

So with another Surpass as we can PC for an Aspire Quadfecta (four) – to maximize the split resort credit. But I am wondering about spending $800 at resort for a weekend stay with FNC that’s a lot of food/bev and most US spa’s are overpriced). Perhaps keeping a Surpass for the $50 quarterly.

Jim Lovejoy

That would be food/bev and room rate but not advanced purchase non-refundable rates.

Chris

I just got the surpass card about two weeks ago. If I call Amex will they let me match to this welcome offer?

Frahan

Unlike Chase, Amex is not known to do that but you can try

IsaBoBisa

I know that Amex doesn’t like earning sign up bonuses with Gift Cards. Do they also have restrictions on the big spend bonuses with gift card purchases? P2 needs to pay off student loans, and we can use Gift Of College – either through Fluz or by stopping at Cumberland Farms during an upcoming road trip. Will this work for the 15K spend for a free night?

Vijay

Waiting for this exact offer 🙂 . However, can my p2 refer me for Hilton and then once I open , can I refer my P2 back for Hilton surpass? Will this strategy work or is it something Amex don’t like it?

rtp

Wasn’t in PUJ for Platinum 175K offer (didn’t end up taking it), but am in PUJ for these.

Last edited 1 month ago by rtp
Emma

No annual fee with 70k and FNC is the best kind of madness I’ve ever seen. How am I supposed to stay under 5/24 at this rate??

Grant

Gotta love the competition between Marriott and Hilton CCs today. Maybe Greg and Nick need to re-record their podcast where they discussed Marriott and Hilton due to the new CC welcome bonuses. Or at least make it a coffee break episode 🙂

Joe
L K

Anyone know how long the ‘free night’ certificate is good for- 6 months? A year?

L K

for the new business card

Troy

Terms state a year from issuance

Danny Coco

Can I apply for the hilton honors and surpass at the same time and get bonus for both?

actualmichael

You can try, but you will probably get rejected for at least one. Best practice would be to wait 30 day in between applications. Also, AmEx has a hard rule about no more than 2 cards within a rolling 90 period, so if you’ve opened up any other AmEx cards recently, you might be SOL for awhile.

JDilla

Any DP’s loading Serve with any of these Amex Hilton cards? Does it trigger a cash adv fee?

Bob

 You don’t even need a Hilton card to refer someone, as referrals are possible from Membership Rewards (MR)-earning cards as well.

Please expound. I don’t see that as an option in my AMEX Gold account.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bob
FL Mom

If you make a referral from a card that earns MRs such as a gold, the referral link that the person you refer to receives gives the option of choosing any card.

Bob

Awesome, thanks!!

Lrdx

FYI, DoC has a link with 80k + FN for the no-AF card.