Posted by William Charles on November 1, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on November 1st, 2017 | by William Charles

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American Express Confirms Two New Hilton Cards ($450 Annual Fee & New Business Card)

After much speculation it looks like American Express has finally confirmed that starting in January, 2018 they will be offering two new cards. In addition they will also be refreshing their existing line up. This coincides with American Express becoming the sole issuer of Hilton cards.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire

  • Annual fee of $450
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
    • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
    • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you hold the card
  • One weekend night at any hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio (on account opening and on account anniversary)
  • A second weekend night at any hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $60,000 on the card within a calendar year
  • Priority Pass membership (unlimited access, no word on guest access)
  • $250 airline incidental fee statement credit (to work the same as the credits provided on Platinum & Gold cards)
  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit
  • $100 on property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking the exclusive Aspire Card package

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • Annual fee of $95
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
    • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service producers and U.S. purchases for shipping
    • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors gold status. Earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 in purchases within a calendar year
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $15,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • A second Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $60,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • 10 free priority pass lounge passes
  • No foreign transaction fees

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Yay, our speculation was right. This card replaces the Hilton Surpass card. Annual fee increases from $75 to $95.

  • Annual fee of $95
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
    • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
    • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases
  • 10 free priority pass lounge passes
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors gold status. Earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 in purchases within a calendar year
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $15,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Hilton Honors American Express Card (No annual fee)

Card is same as before but with no foreign transaction fees.

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
    • 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
    • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases

Our Thoughts

First of all it’s nice to see no negative changes being made, both the Ascend (formerly Surpass) and no annual fee Hilton card are getting improvements (Ascend more so then the no annual fee card) [Update: This isn’t correct as the annual fee is increasing to $95]. The business card looks very similar to Aspire, only better with extra 6x categories the opportunity for a second free night and the status benefit. Either way it’s nice to have another card we will be able to get the sign up bonus on.

The real killer here is the new Aspire card. I honestly expect some of these marketing bullets to have some significant catch’s or be outright wrong, because the value proposition is too good. For a $450 annual fee we get:

  • Free award night annually
  • Hilton Diamond status
  • $250 airline incidental credit
  • $250 Hilton resort fcredit
  • Priority pass membership

That’s before considering any potential sign up bonus, but I suspect given it comes with a free night in the first year that will be the sign up bonus. If I naturally had Hilton diamond status I’d be angry, offering top tier elite status on a card with this value proposition just means that a lot more people are going to have that status now and there are only so many upgrades to go around. It also seems that Citi Hilton cards are set to become American Express Hilton cards.

Your move, Chase.

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F.A.Q’s

Will Ascend Be Treated As A New Product?

It’s entirely possible that it will be considered a different product than the Surpass, making it possible to get the bonus again. My gut feeling is that this will not be the case, but I could easily be wrong.

Should I Get The Surpass Now If I’ve Never Had It Before?

See above. If you think it will be considered a new product, then I’d recommend it. Keep in mind the bonus is a weak 75,000 points at the moment (high of 100,000 points + free night on anniversary) and I suspect we will see high bonuses when the new card is relaunched.

Will Existing Surpass Cardholders Become Ascend Cardholders?

Yes and that’s part of the reason why I think you won’t be able to get the bonus on the Ascend if you’ve had the Surpass previously.

$250 Resort Credit – How Does It Work?

I don’t know as I don’t have a full guide to benefits yet (this has been requested). I suspect it will only work at Hilton resorts. They provide a different booking portal for those here. I would be very surprised if it works at regular properties given it’s called a resort credit rather than a property/hotel credit. Would also be far too valuable if this was the case as well.

What Sign Up Bonuses Should We Expect?

I think expectations lead to disappointment. That being said my predictions:

  • Hilton Aspire: Two free nights (plus the one free night it comes with normally)
  • Hilton Ascend: 100,000 points + free night on anniversary
  • Hilton no annual fee: 80,000 points

That’s basically the highest bonuses we’ve send on the Ascend/Surpass and no annual fee cards and then three free nights on the Aspire card.

 

 



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85 Comments on "American Express Confirms Two New Hilton Cards ($450 Annual Fee & New Business Card)"

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Matthew

Very interesting. I hope Surpass loses the foreign transaction fee too. I got slammed with that on a large purchase!

mmgfarb
mmgfarb

Any idea if current Surpasses will be automatically PC’d over to the Ascend or not?

PatMike
PatMike

I would love not to have to spend $40K on “groceries” every other year on Surpass to keep Diamond.

MSer
MSer

Agreed. But I suspect a lot more Diamonds will be minted by those who didn’t know how to spend $40K, but are willing to pay $450 AF.

Blue
Blue

Yep. Flyertalk Hilton board is going to be hopping mad tomorrow.

Josh
Josh

The $600 in credits easily offset the $450 AF. I don’t see the issue.

Maybe using it…

Abey
Abey

New Amex cards are always welcome since the once per lifetime bonus and with an annual free night the Hilton points becomes more valuable because you could combine your stay with points and a free night. If you plan ahead transfering amex points now to Hilton for 1:2 is not too bad.

MSer
MSer

Horrible idea to convert MRs to Hilton –

Simon
Simon

exactly.

Wany
Wany

MR to HH in 1 : 2 is really really bad. Even redeeming MR for gift card is better than that. Please don’t do that.

Slim
Slim

Here’s hoping all my Citi Hilton cards get converted to Amex Hiltons that can be upgraded.

Blue
Blue

Ascend a big downgrade from Surpass if it does not have Gold status tied to it.

Oliver
Oliver

It still does. I think DoC just accidentally left it out.

A
A

For the $450 AF card, the $250 resort credit, can that be used to reimburse a stay at a standard property or no?

Rajarshi
Rajarshi

Should we get the Surpass asap if we don’t have one?
Currently completing the Min spend on 2 cards so do not want to take too much on my plate. Advisable to wait or apply right away?

dan
dan

any idea which amex card will replace the citi hilton reserve on jan 1? if don’t want to be moved to amex and close the reserve acct, will citi issue a partial refund of the AF? or should we wait after the xfer, then cancel with amex for a partial refund?

PatMike
PatMike

If the Ascend is treated as a new product and the Surpass will convert to it, wouldn’t it make sense to cancel our existing Surpasses?…or at least proactively change it to another Amex card? Don’t want to miss any once in a lifetime bonuses with these new cards.

Also, any speculation on what the bonuses will be?

Blue
Blue

I’m going to downgrade my Surpass to the basic no fee version. Figure either I’ll be on the upgrade train eventually or get lucky and get a second bite at the apple.

NinjaX
NinjaX

hoooly fuk. excited but this wont go well for diamonds…

this probably also means all limits are off. no way 5-6 CC limit.

NinjaX
NinjaX

btw, i forgot to say that this new flood of diamonds will pretty much make the status useless. imagine SPG gave plat to all CC holders. or Hyatt gave Diamond to all CC. Same with IHG. its just a terrible move. everyone and their dog will have HH Diamond. Sigh. Oh well…

Jenny
Jenny

Hi, if we applied the Amex Surpass card with the free anniversary night earlier this year in May, and cancel the card before Amex launches the new Ascend card in January 2018, we probably wouldn’t receive the free anniversary night, correct? And if we don’t cancel the Surpass the card, Amex will product change it to Ascend and we wont be able to receive the sign up bonus (if offered)? Is that correct?

NinjaX
NinjaX

i think u can answer the question yourself by looking at the terms and waiting for more info from amex. if you cancel on your own, why would amex honor anything? and if you get auto PCed then why would u get the bonus when you already have or have had the CC?

Jj
Jj

The annual free weekend night and $250 incidental free alone can well offset the annual fee, not to mention other benefits. I hope this is real.

artgriego
artgriego

Wouldn’t it be cool if you have the Citi Hilton and 5 Amex CC already, come February get converted to Amex Hilton (6 CC now) and 6 becomes your limit? One can dream…

Paulie
Paulie

I’m there already.

UAPhil
UAPhil

Citi Reserve required $10K spend for annual free nights cert. Ascend will require $15k….and many merchants who accept Visa don’t take Amex. I’ll be cancelling my Ascent before I have to pay an annual fee. (I’ll lose Gold status, but since I don;t stay at Hiltons that often it’s not a big loss.)

Nick
Nick

I’ll keep my card for the Gold status (since I tend to get my money’s worth from that) but it won’t be my primary spend card anymore since the math has changed (the AF + foregone rewards from a better paying card on non-bonus spend). Thank goodness I picked up USAA Limitless card for everyday purchases.

Nicole

AmEx will still honor my signup bonus for the Surpass that I just got, right? I’m still working on the spend for the 100k points, but it’s also supposed to include as a signup bonus a free weekend night after I pay next year’s annual fee.

James Silver
James Silver

I hope that amex would come up with premium SPG card.

Lizzle
Lizzle

“The real killer is the new Ascend Card…”. I think you meant the Aspire card in this paragraph as it goes on to refer to 450 AF.

othermike27
othermike27

Two comments: (1) There is a downside for current Surpass card holders: the AF goes from $75 to $95, so the cost to hold the Ascend card goes up unless your foreign transactions are high enough (about $740 per year) to offset the increased fee with the new no-FTF feature. (2) Seems to me that the resort credit should apply at any property with the nerve to charge a resort fee, no?

Josh
Josh

But you also get 10 free Priority Passes, so I think those will offset the AF.

RabbMD
RabbMD

Only If you don’t already have all the priority pass you need. I see the annual increase as a huge downgrade. Why pay $20 more for foreign transaction (I have 5 other no foreign transaction fees cards) fees or priority pass? I guess it makes sense to spend $15,000 per year for the free night now for $20 more every year?

Paulie
Paulie

I have a question. I hold 2spgs bus and pers, surpass, bus blue and everyday card. That is there max. I have a Hilton from citi. What now? Do I need to decide what to close?

Duane
Duane

I have 6 business and personal cards from Amex. I think they upped their limit or relaxed it for certain people.

Rob
Rob

Credit cards are the only ones that count toward the 5 limit…don’t count charge cards like the platinum, business platinum, PRG, BGR etc.

Electroman
Electroman

I have had six credit cards from AMEX for quite a while. This isn’t that unusual now, and will stay that way.

Josh
Josh

Did you apply for six or have one product changed?

What 6 do you have?

Josh
Josh

What CC do you have?

Rob
Rob

Hmm, I’ve got the Surpass and the Citi Reserve now, does that mean I’m gonna get 2 Ascend cards?

James
James

Shouldn’t the title be “new BUSINESS card”? The $95 personal card is the Surpass card being changed.

Phil
Phil

One interesting thought on if Amex were to convert Surpass cards to Ascend cards. I don’t think they can just start charging a higher annual fee in the first year of card ownership, so they’ll either have to wait a year before a forced converting, or refund the excess annual fee upon conversion

Nick
Nick

I think they can convert you now and then just charge the new AF upon your normal renewal date. I think that’s how it’s worked when other cards have increased the AF.

NewYork12126
NewYork12126

As stated above, about time AMEX is losing the Foreign Transaction Fee on these cards. Long overdue on so many levels.

Oleg
Oleg

Which card will my Citi Hilton be converted to?

Phil
Phil

Any word on the AU fee for the Aspire card?

HiltonParker
HiltonParker

Willing to bet that the $250 Hilton resort credit will have significant restrictions, and that no one but hardcore Hilton loyalists will be organically using the full $250 without going out of their way.

Nicely played, Hilton.

Blue
Blue

Yeah, I put essentially zero value on that “benefit.”

Son
Son

I think this will apply for resort fee/valet parking. I stayed at Hilton Waikiki in Sept. The cost of parking for the week was $250.00. I still have Hilton points, so I will definitely stay at Hilton one more time at least.

I already maxed out on AMEX CC, so I will cancel my Surpass that I had for a few years now.

Tom
Tom

I reckon the Airline Credit / Resort Credit is an either/or situation where you can select which one you want at the start of each year. Otherwise this card is too generous

Eric
Eric

I believe you get a max of two free nights, not annually – one after opening and one on anniversary.

Nick Pang
Nick Pang
Here’s the T&C of the new Aspire Card (sent to me via email) Rates and Fees Annual Fee: The annual fee for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is $450. APRs: The following APRs will vary with the market based on Prime Rate. APR for Purchases: currently 16.74% to 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening. APR on balance transfers requested within 60 days of account opening: currently 16.74% to 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. APR for Cash Advances: 26.24%, Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable rates are accurate as of 11/01/2017. The variable penalty APR will not exceed 29.99%. Other Charges: Cash Advance Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater. Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Foreign Transaction Fee: None. Earn Hilton Honors Points Hilton Honors Bonus Points earned using your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: You will receive 3 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases. You will receive 11 additional Hilton Honors Bonus Points, for a total of 14, for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a property within the Hilton portfolio, including bookings and incidental charges. To receive the 11 additional Hilton Honors Bonus Points for charges made at the time of booking, the booking must be made directly through a reservation channel operated by Hilton. You can receive the 11 additional Hilton Honors Bonus Points for incidental charges made on the Hilton hotel property (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments) if those charges can be and are charged to your room and paid for with your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card at checkout. You will receive 4 additional Hilton Honors Bonus Points, for a total of 7, for each dollar of eligible purchases at the following categories of merchants: restaurants located in the U.S., airfare on a scheduled flight charged directly with passenger airlines or amextravel.com (charter flights and private jet flights are excluded); and purchases directly from select major car rental companies listed at americanexpress.com/rewards-info. To get additional points for a restaurant purchase, the purchase must be at a restaurant located in the United States. You will NOT get additional points for purchases made at a restaurant owned by a U.S. company but located outside… Read more »
Payal
Payal

I got an email saying in Jan 2018 my HH surpass card will become Hilton Ascend card………

Right now I HAVE ONE FREE NIGHT AT CARD ANNIVERSARY, and Ascend says one weekend free night after 15k spend in calendar year .

Does that mean My current free night will not be honored?

foobar
foobar

Also, the cards now show your Hilton Honors number on the front…

NinjaX
NinjaX

after more reading, i just dont get it. the HH Aspire is TOO DAMN CRAZY…

is this some kind of RAT trap? hm.

F
F

I’ve had Diamond status for a year now and stayed at a handful of Hilton properties in North America. It’s been essentially worthless for me, with very minor perks.

Troy
Troy

I received the Surpass card in April 2017. I just chatted with an Amex rep who assured me the free night stay on the one-year anniversary will not require a $15,000 spend if that was the original agreement. My guess is this turns out well for us Surpass holders as we will get our one night stay as they initially promised, plus we’ll receive 10 lounge passes. I presume we’ll have to pay $95 instead of $75 at the one-year anniversary, which is no big deal.

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