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

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

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

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.

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

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

Maybe using it…

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.

Horrible idea to convert MRs to Hilton –

exactly.

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.

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

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

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

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

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?

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?

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?

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.

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

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

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…

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?

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?

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.

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…

I’m there already.

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.)

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.

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