Best Point Earning Credit Cards Hotels

A Credit Card With Huge Earning Potential and Minimal Spending

southwest companion pass for 2017
Written by Charlie

This is a credit card that can offer huge earning potential with a minimal amount of spending thanks to three avenues of earning points!

For reward hunters, it is always great to find cards that can give you those huge reward amounts. Getting it with minimal spending is even better! This one card may just be the best card for giving that huge earning potential with small spending.

A Credit Card With Huge Earning Potential and Minimal Spending

This may sound a bit surprising since we may assume it would be a card that earns 5X on travel or something like that. But, the truth is this card I am talking about is a hotel card!

Hilton Surpass

And, it is the Hilton Surpass Card from American Express. While Hilton points are not worth as much as many other reward currencies, I think it is fair to say they are worth around .5 cents per point, especially with the new redemption system.

So, with that value in mind, let’s see what kind of earning potential exists with this card.

Sign Up Bonus – 100,000 Points

The sign-up bonus right now is not at the normal high of 100,000 points so I would definitely wait for that but we have seen it at the 100,000 point level a few times in the last year.

A 100,000 point bonus is great, even if the points are only worth about .5 cent each. That means around $500 (or more) in value for an annual fee up front of $75.

So, we start with the 100,000 points for spending $3,000. Nice start!

Referral Bonuses – 80,000 Points

Link: How to Get Your Hilton Surpass Referrals

Like other Amex cards, the Hilton Surpass card offers very generous referral bonus offers. These offers are available for current cardholders who share their card’s referral link with others. When someone is approved for the card through that referral link, the one who referred the card gets 20,000 points (or 25,000 points). The limit in a calendar year is 80,000 points.

That means it is much easier to get to the cap than it is on other cards that may need 10 successful offers to reach the cap. Getting 4 people to sign-up is not that hard, especially with the 100,000 point amount for the new cardholders.

Now, we have added on the potential for 80,000 points per year – with no spending.

Adding Authorized Users – 40,000 Points

Link: Add Authorized User

Now, we come to the latest earning avenue on this card. This is where you can add an authorized user to your Hilton Surpass card and receive a bonus of 10,000 Hilton points for each of them – up to 4 bonuses. They must spend $1,000 on their authorized user card (which you are responsible to pay for).

They actually make it pretty easy as the additional cardholder can be as young as 13 years old!

This brings us to the final leg of this earning potential with 40,000 points for spending $1,000 on each card – a total of $4,000.

Adding It All Up

When we put all of that together, if you were to get this card this year at the 100K point amount and fulfill the other two steps, you will see a total earning of 220,000 Hilton points while only needing to spend $7,000 (the earning here does not include the actual points from spending).

To my knowledge, that is the greatest amount of points you can earn on a particular card with such low spending. Given the approximate value of Hilton points, it is safe to assume you are getting $1,100 in value.

Sure, cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred can give you about $1,000 in value for only spending $4,000 but the value on the Hilton points can actually increase even more – depending on how you use them.

Bonus Time!

One more thing to remember – you can pool Hilton points with other account holders as well for free! That means that if two people in a home do all of the above, their combined points will total 440,000 points!

To make it even better, the referral bonus is a yearly thing so if you can keep adding new people to the Hilton Surpass rolls each year, you can pick up more points every year – without ever spending on the card!

My wife and I picked up 160,000 points total this year from our referring others. That is enough to cover a few nights at some hotels we are looking at. Not bad for not having to do a dime of spending!

Have you taken advantage of the earning potential on the Hilton Surpass card?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I love this card! Initially signed up for the no AF version last year and got 70K points. Then took advantage of an upgrade offer a few months ago for additional 100K points. All for just $75.00. I’d have to pay way more for just one night in a hotel. I didn’t realize my 13 year old could get one, gonna have to look into that!

  • A couple of other goodies about the card are that last time they had the 100k deal they also had that after the you have the card for a year and pay the annual fee you get a free weekend night at almost any hilton worldwide. If you and your significant other both get the card that makes for a nice weekend at the beach next summer or a fall weekend in New York. The card also gives you gold status which means free breakfast on your award stays.