Yesterday blog subscriber JH wrote to ask me, "what's your opinion on the current 100k Hilton card offer?" JH is referring to the current offer of 100,000 Hilton HHonors points after spending $3,000 within three months on the Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express. The offer is available until May 4, 2016. Incidentally, I don't include personal referral links here on the blog, but you can find the relevant offer on my "Support the Site!" page.
Since I wrote JH a detailed answer, I thought it may be useful to share and expand on it here.
Higher signup bonuses are better than lower signup bonuses
In general, if you've been going through life vaguely considering signing up for a Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express, but have been waiting to sign up until the bonus goes up to an all-time high, well, you're in luck: the bonus is at an all-time high.
If that's you, this is the time to sign up.
What do you call 100,000 Hilton HHonors points?
A good start.
The fact is, 100,000 HHonors points is not an interesting number of HHonors points. The key characteristic of the Hilton HHonors program is that award nights at desirable properties are extremely expensive (up to 95,000 points per night), but Hilton HHonors points are easy to earn at bonused grocery store and gas station merchants using the Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express.
Two approaches to an unusually high signup bonus
There are two ways to approach a 100,000 Hilton HHonors point signup bonus.
If you are already planning an expensive vacation to a Hilton HHonors property, signing up for the Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express with a 100,000 points signup bonus will get you a minimum of one night free at that property (and breakfast, if you don't already have Hilton HHonors Gold elite status). That could mean saving real money compared to your cash rate!
Alternatively, you can use this unusually high signup bonus as an impulse towards earning large numbers of Hilton HHonors points on an ongoing basis in bonused spending categories.
But most readers shouldn't care about signup bonus fluctuations
The third approach, and the one I personally take, is to not pay any attention to the barrage of blog posts and twitter feeds dedicated to identifying the highest and shortest-lived signup bonuses.
The difference between a 50,000 and 100,000 Hilton HHonors Surpass American Express signup bonus is $8,333 in grocery store or gas station spend. If it wasn't worth spending that much on the card before the 100,000 signup bonus came around, what makes you think it is now?
These increased signup bonuses occupy an outsized portion of the attention of the travel hacking blogosphere, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to simply ignore them.