I’ve mentioned that a month ago I was able to combine a dental emergency with a trip to Wells Fargo branch. Nothing can stop me from getting a sweet credit card offer. Well, I was approved and currently working on meeting minimum spending requirements. What’s better than one Wells Fargo Propel World? Two, of course, as in getting my husband to apply before the offer disappears.
The problem is, the card doesn’t have an online application link. You can apply over the phone if you have an existing Wells Fargo relationship (my husband does not) or apply in branch. And the nearest Wells Fargo branch is almost an hour away. Convincing him to make a trip with a purpose of getting a credit card ain’t gonna happen. So, I pretty much gave up on the idea.
However, few weeks ago an opportunity presented itself. We had to go to Lakeland, Fl. for my husband’s doctor’s appointment and passed Wells Fargo branch on the way. Hmm… Since he took the rest of the day off, I asked him nicely if he could possibly agree to apply for the card inside the branch after we were done with the appointment. And he said YES! A miracle.
But the application went to pending status. Unfortunately, a week later we got a denial in the mail. Nope, the reconsideration call isn’t happening, so I cut my losses. You win some, you lose some.
Since we have a ton of bills in the next few months, I knew I could safely apply for another card. But which one? I recently wrote about Amex Hilton Surpass and listed all the reasons on why I was seriously considering it. Approved! This card pays us commission in case you want to support the blog. Thanks if you choose to do so!
Obviously, I must think it’s a good deal since I applied for it myself. I’ve said many times that I only recommend offers that I personally consider to be worthwhile. If you have this card, you can refer a friend and collect 25,000 bonus points.
Here are the details on the card in case you are not familiar with it:
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months. Offer Ends 5/31/17.
- Earn a free weekend night on your anniversary date of Card approval. Some hotels may have mandatory services and resort charges. Terms Apply.
- Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
- Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
- Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card. Terms and limitations apply.
- As a Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card Member you’ll receive Hilton Honors Gold status.
- Annual fee of $75 is not waived.
The offer on regular no-fee Amex Hilton card is increased as well, and you can read about it on this page. But Amex Surpass currently outshines it, despite the $75 annual fee.
I knew I wouldn’t have any issues using Hilton points within a year or two. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, we are planning on doing a road trip in 2018. Hilton properties are everywhere, so I’m certain that I can put my stash to good use.
Sure, if you are planning on staying near a national park in the middle of nowhere, Hilton may not have a hotel nearby. But major cities have a plethora of options. And some hotels are quite reasonable on points. Take a look at this place near Denver:
We’ll need to stay in the area overnight, so this property may come in handy. Sure, we’ll have to get three rooms, but it’s still a pretty good deal. I definitely would never pay $150 per room/per night for $450 total, but using 60,000 points is a no-brainer. If you need a bunch of stays in hotels that used to be Category 1 and 2 (5,000 and 10,000 points respectively), you will make out like a bandit. Plus, you can still get every fifth night free.
Even though Hilton has removed the award chart, they’ve kept their word on capping the rates at the old maximum points level. For now. That’s partially why I wanted to apply for Hilton credit card. I feel strongly that the program will eventually be fully based on revenue rates. Right now it’s more of a hybrid, which allows consumers to find occasional sweet spots.
If I don’t end up using Hilton points during our road trip, I’m certain I’ll have no problem burning them on Florida hotels. And there are a ton to choose from. Here are a few properties I’m considering:
1) Oceanfront Hilton hotels in Daytona Beach
I’m debating on whether to take my parents to Daytona during Spring Break. In all likelihood, the rates next March will be quite high when you factor in paying for two rooms. But it’s an option nonetheless.
2) Family-friendly resorts in Orlando
There are many to choose from, but here is one that caught my eye: Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel It has a three-acre lazy river pool with waterslide. Need I say more? The rates range between 30K-50K points per night, depending on the season. Since we live in Florida, we can arrange to spend a random weekend when the price via points is reasonable. I’m certain my kids will go crazy for this place.
3) Oceanfront hotels in Clearwater area
There are several that could be a good fit for a quick couple getaway. I like this one: Doubletree Beach Resort North Reddington Beach Tampa Bay. The rate varies depending on the season (you will pay 50K points per night during spring), but in the fall it can be quite cheap:
Obviously, it’s cheap for a reason. And the reason is: hurricane season. But since we don’t have to pay for airfare, we can always cancel without penalty if it looks like the weather won’t be cooperating during our stay.
The free weekend night certificate
This is what sealed the deal. I thought 100K offer on Surpass was already pretty good, but when I saw the extra perk, I decided it was time to pull the trigger. So, what’s the big deal? Well, you get a free weekend night deposited to your account within 6-8 weeks after your first card anniversary. So, yes, you will have to pay $75 annual fee… again. This perk probably won’t be a game changer for those who are just looking to stay in a Hampton Inn by the highway.
Obviously, you want to make sure that you can squeeze as much value as possible since it’s not restricted to specific category tier. Well, without adding an extra trip and all the expenses that go with it. Some Hilton properties are excluded and you can see the list here.
You can use the certificate on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. Keep in mind that you will only be able to redeem it if standard room is available. The certificate expires 12 months after being issued, and you have to actually stay in a hotel before expiration date.
The best way for a normal American family to get decent value in US is to stick to redeeming the certificate at places like New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle. Basically, large cities where rates are usually quite high in downtown area. You can also redeem them at a beachfront location during Spring Break in places like Hawaii, California and Florida. Even Orlando is a good candidate during holidays and peak season.
Either way, I doubt that most people won’t be able to get at least $75 value out of this certificate. Plus, keep in mind that by renewing the Amex card, you’ll be able to retain Gold status which will give you perks like free breakfast and potential suite upgrade in most properties.
As I’ve mentioned before, I plan to burn the cert at Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa. The rate at this hotel can be as high as $500/80,000 points per night during spring months. Marco island is located 2.5 hours from our house, no airfare required. But why would we go for only one night? I’m glad you asked!
The plan is to also apply for Hilton Surpass in my husband’s name at the end of May. This offer officially ends on May 31st, so I don’t feel it’s necessary to hurry up and apply now. That way I should be done with my card and can focus my attention on the new offer.
Should you apply for Amex Surpass?
It honestly depends. Keep in mind, at this point I’m a “grizzled” hobby vet and don’t qualify for most offers listed on my Hot Deals page. If I were a newbie, I would focus on cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred, Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Wells Fargo Propel World I’ve mentioned earlier in the post. Also, be aware that 100K miles offer on Chase British Airways Visa has returned, but it requires a ton of spending, just as it did in the past.
In general, hotel points bonuses should be your last choice. It does depend, of course, on your upcoming plans as well as the category of the hotel you are considering. To be honest, I find that my family can usually utilize hotel points much more easily than miles because we have so many great options in Florida. Too many options!
But for me, the decision to apply for Hilton Surpass card wasn’t too difficult because it will give me an excuse to plan more getaways with my family. And that’s what this hobby is all about.
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.