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TravelWorld of Hyatt card vs. Hilton Surpass card: Battle of the mid-tier...

World of Hyatt card vs. Hilton Surpass card: Battle of the mid-tier hotel credit cards


Although sometimes overlooked, hotel credit cards can be a lucrative addition to any wallet. Many of these cards offer generous sign-up bonuses or welcome offers, incredible hotel redemptions and free night perks.

We’ll look at two mid-tier hotel credit cards: the World of Hyatt Credit Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. The World of Hyatt card has a reasonable $95 annual fee, whereas the Hilton Surpass has a moderate $150 annual fee (see rates and fees).

World of Hyatt vs. Hilton Surpass overview

World of Hyatt card Hilton Surpass card
Welcome offer Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Plus, up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 points per $1 spent on purchases that normally earn 1 point on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.

Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a free night reward after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. This offer ends July 31.
Free night award Earn a free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary and an extra free Category 1-4 night after spending $15,000 in a calendar year Earn a free night reward after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases on your card in a calendar year
Earning points 4 points per dollar at participating Hyatt hotels

2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting, restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly and fitness club and gym memberships

1 point per dollar on all other purchases

12 points per dollar at participating Hilton hotels

6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets

4 points per dollar on U.S. online retail purchases

3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Elite status Discoverist status Hilton Honors Gold; upgrade to Diamond by spending $40,000 in a calendar year
Redeeming points Fixed award chart with nightly redemptions starting at 5,000 Hyatt points Dynamic award chart
Statement credits None Up to $200 annually (up to $50 each quarter) toward Hilton purchases
Benefits No foreign transaction fees

Travel and shopping protections

No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)

Travel and shopping protections

National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status

Enrollment is required for select benefits

World of Hyatt vs. Hilton Surpass welcome offer

The Hilton Surpass currently has a welcome offer of 130,000 Hilton Honors plus a fee night reward. after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card within the first six months of card membership. This offer ends July 31. Hilton Honors points are worth 0.6 cents, according to TPG’s June 2024 valuations, so the welcome bonus is valued at $780 but could be substantially higher depending on how you utilize the free night reward.

Meanwhile, the World of Hyatt Credit Card staggers its sign-up bonus. You’ll first receive 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 bonus points total per $1 spent on purchases that normally earn 1 bonus point on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening. World of Hyatt points are worth 1.7 cents each (according to TPG’s June 2024 valuations), so the welcome bonus is worth up to $1,020.

THE POINTS GUY

The Hyatt card is issued by Chase, which means it’s subject to the restrictions of 5/24. That means you will not be approved for this card if you have opened five or more personal credit cards across all banks in the last 24 months.

Related: The award traveler’s guide to Hilton Honors and The ultimate guide to the World of Hyatt

Winner: Hilton Surpass. Its spending requirement is easier than the World of Hyatt’s approach.

World of Hyatt vs. Hilton Surpass benefits

The Hilton Surpass and the World of Hyatt card offer elite status with their respective brands, but the Hilton card goes one step further.

Hilton Surpass cardholders receive automatic Hilton Gold status. Hilton Gold status is very valuable based on its perks at Hilton portfolio properties. Gold status perks include bonus points on stays and space-available upgrades for up to executive rooms.

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If you spend more than $40,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll be bumped to top-tier Hilton Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.

THE POINTS GUY

Meanwhile, World of Hyatt cardholders get automatic entry-level Discoverist status, with benefits such as late checkout, preferred rooms and a 10% points bonus on eligible purchases. Discoverist status is as valuable as other hotel statuses but is still useful.

Related: 5 easy ways to maximize the World of Hyatt program

Both of these mid-tier hotel cards offer a free night award — but differ in how you earn it.

For the Hilton Surpass, you’ll receive a complimentary free night reward after you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year. You can use this free night at almost any Hilton property worldwide. Even the most expensive Hilton properties (think Conrads and Waldorfs) qualify for this free night reward.

WALDORF ASTORIA AMSTERDAM/FACEBOOK

The World of Hyatt card offers an annual free night certificate at a Category 1-4 Hyatt property, which you’ll receive every account anniversary. This can be worth much more than the card’s $95 annual fee but does not include more premium properties in the Hyatt portfolio. However, you can also get a second free Category 1-4 night after spending $15,000 in a calendar year.

Compared to the Surpass, you’ll essentially be getting two free nights versus one night with the Hilton — with the caveat being the Hilton night can be at a super high-end property.

The Surpass also offers a statement credit of up to $200 at eligible Hilton properties. Cardmembers receive up to $50 in statement credit each quarter when using their Hilton Surpass for Hilton purchases. Eligible purchases include room rates and incidental charges at Hilton portfolio properties.

Additionally, Surpass cardholders receive Emerald Club Executive status with National Car Rental and various travel and shopping protections. No foreign transaction fees on the card is also a great benefit when using the card outside of the U.S.

BECKER BREDEL/ULLSTEIN BILD VIA GETTY IMAGES

Similarly, the World of Hyatt also provides several purchase and travel protections, along with no foreign transaction fees. You can also earn five elite qualifying nights every year you have the card, with the opportunity to earn even more elite credit. Also, every $5,000 spent on the card will earn you two additional qualifying nights.

Winner: Hilton Surpass. While the World of Hyatt offers a free night certificate with no spending requirement, the Surpass has superior elite status and a $200 Hilton statement credit.

Related: Best uses of Hyatt free night certificates

Earning points with the World of Hyatt vs. Hilton Surpass

With the Hilton Surpass, you’ll receive Hilton Honors points at the following rates:

  • 12 points per dollar at participating Hilton hotels
  • 6 points per dollar on dining at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets
  • 4 points per dollar on U.S. online retail purchases
  • 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases

This equates to a return on spending of 7.2%, 3.6%, 2.4% and 1.8%, respectively.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Meanwhile, the World of Hyatt card earns bonus points with these categories:

This equates to a return on spending of 6.8%, 3.4% and 1.7%, respectively.

Winner: World of Hyatt. Considering TPG’s June 2024 valuations, World of Hyatt points are worth much more than Hilton, and both cards have a very similar earning structure.

Related: What’s the best Hilton card for you?

Redeeming points with the World of Hyatt vs. Hilton Surpass

Your best bet for both of these cards will be to redeem for hotel stays with each respective brand.

Hilton has a much larger global footprint than Hyatt, so consider that when deciding which card is a better fit for you.

CHRIS DONG/THE POINTS GUY

With Hilton Honors, there is no award chart to determine how many points you need for a particular stay. This makes it difficult to determine how many points you’ll need until you are ready to book. However, Hilton does have a Points Explorer tool that allows you to check the maximum number of points required to book a standard room at a particular property or for multiple properties in a specific area.

Meanwhile, the best way to redeem World of Hyatt points is for free nights and upgrades. You also have the option to redeem points for dining, spa visits, Lindblad Expeditions and other experiences, but you’re almost always better off using points for hotel rooms.

Redemptions for standard rooms start at 3,500 points per night at Category 1 hotels and 35,000 per night at Category 8 hotels.

In general, awards are typically lower in cost than other programs, and there are some amazing opportunities to get more value from your Hyatt points than Hilton.

TPG managing editor Matt Moffitt redeems his Hilton Honors points for three and four-star hotels abroad as they offer better redemption value in comparison to properties in the U.S. He aims to book five-night stays so he can take advantage of the fifth-night free award that comes with Hilton cobranded cards.

Winner: World of Hyatt, thanks to a fixed award chart offering cheaper redemption options.

Related: The best hotel cards that come with an annual free night

Should I get the World of Hyatt or  Hilton Surpass?

Hyatt fans will want to go with the World of Hyatt card since it offers a lower annual fee, cheaper award redemptions and a free night certificate without any spending requirement. However, Hilton enthusiasts may find the Surpass’s higher annual fee (see rates and fees) easier to digest when considering its superior elite status benefits, Hilton statement credits and larger property footprint.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Related: Should I get the World of Hyatt Credit Card or transfer points from Chase instead?

Bottom line

At the end of the day, the card that is better suited for you may come down to brand and loyalty preference. In general, the World of Hyatt program is more lucrative, but the Hilton Gold elite status benefits may also be more enticing to you.

Another consideration is that the Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt programs partner with transferable points currencies. You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Hilton, and you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt. Transferable points are a powerful tool, so if you don’t have enough points with a specific program, you can easily shift points from another program that you hold a balance with.

To learn more, read our full reviews of the World of Hyatt and Surpass cards.


Apply here: Hilton Surpass card

Apply here: World of Hyatt card


For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, click here.

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