Posted by William Charles on October 3, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on October 3rd, 2017 | by William Charles

62

American Express Hilton Ascend Card Full Review – New Hilton Card

This was originally a speculative post regarding a possible new Hilton Ascend card. This card has now been confirmed and will be released on January 18th, 2017 alongside the Hilton Honors Aspire & new business card. Existing American Express Hilton Surpass cardholders will have their card ‘refreshed’ and receive this new Ascend card instead. I don’t think it will be considered as a new product so it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get the sign up bonus on this card if you have or have had the Surpass in the past.

Card Overview

  • 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

Card Benefits

Free Weekend Nights With Spend Requirement

It’s possible to earn two free weekend nights every calendar year with this card. You need to meet the following requirements:

  • Spend $15,000 or more within the calendar year and receive a weekend night reward
  • Spend an additional $45,0000 ($60,000 total) within the same calendar year and receive an additional weekend night reward

Weekend nights are issued as a redeemable code and sent to the e-mail address attached to your Hilton Honors account within 8-12 weeks of meeting the spend requirement and expire one year from issuance.. You must call Hilton Honors (1-800-446-6677) to redeem these weekend night rewards. Each weekend night certificate can be redeemed for one weekend night standard accommodation double occupancy subject to availability. It’s valid at all properties in the Hilton portfolio excluding those listed at HiltonHonors.com/weekendreward (currently errors out).

A weekend night is defined as Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. It includes all applicable taxes, but you must still pay mandatory resort fees if applicable. You can combine these free night certificates with other Hilton or Free night promotions. Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or purchases of other cash equivalents.

Hilton Status

This card comes with complimentary gold status for as long as your a card member, normally this requires 20 stays or 40 nights or 75,000 Hilton base points in a calendar year. You can also receive Diamond status if you spend $40,000 or more in a calendar year.

Gold Status

Gold status gives you the following benefits:

  • 25% Elite Status Bonus
  • 5th Night Free (also available for Silver members)
  • Guaranteed Discount: A discounted, changeable & refundable rate is exclusively available for Hilton HHonors members.
  • Digital Check-In: choose your room, and customize your stay from your mobile device up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Complimentary in-room and lobby Premium Internet access, during stays at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Canopy™ by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels™, Hilton Garden Inn®, Hampton Inn & Suites®, Homewood Suites by Hilton®, Home2 Suites by Hilton®, and Hilton Grand Vacations™. Premium speed Internet may not be available at all hotels.
  • Quick reservations and check-ins based on your room preferences
  • Late check-out2
  • Express check-out
  • 2nd Guest stays free3
  • Complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs4
  • Two complimentary bottles of water per stay (at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Embassy Suites Hotels™, Hilton Garden Inn™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™ hotels)
  • Full list of other benefits here

Diamond Status

Diamond status gives you the following benefits:

  • 50% Elite Status Bonus
  • 48-hour Room Guarantee
  • 5th Night Free (also available for Silver & Gold members)
  • Guaranteed Discount: A discounted, changeable & refundable rate is exclusively available for Hilton HHonors members.
  • Digital Check-In: choose your room, and customize your stay from your mobile device up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Complimentary in-room and lobby Premium Internet access, during stays at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Canopy™ by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels™, Hilton Garden Inn®, Hampton Inn & Suites®, Homewood Suites by Hilton®, Home2 Suites by Hilton®, and Hilton Grand Vacations™. Premium speed Internet may not be available at all hotels.
  • Quick reservations and check-ins based on your room preferences
  • Late check-out2
  • Express check-out
  • 2nd Guest stays free3
  • Complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs4
  • Two complimentary bottles of water per stay (at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Embassy Suites Hotels™, Hilton Garden Inn™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™ hotels)
  • Full list of other benefits here

10 Priority Pass Lounge Passes

This card provides you with 10 passes that can be used to access airport lounges in the Priority Pass network.

Our Verdict

This card is basically the same as the business card, same annual fee and card benefits. The only difference is that this card earns 6x Hilton points on different categories and is available to people without a business. The difference in 6x categories are as such:

  • Business card earns 6x on: U.S. gas station, U.S. restaurants, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service producers U.S. purchases for shipping, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
  • This card card earns 6x on: U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. grocery stores

My opinion is that the categories on this card is more useful, but that really depends on what your spending habits are like. Even so in most cases there are other cards that will earn at higher rates than this card (when you take into account how much Hilton points are actually worth). Here are some links to those posts:

I think the main attraction for this card will be the sign up bonus. Given we’ve seen bonuses of 100,000 points and a free night certificate on card anniversary and also 125,000 points straight up I expect to see something similar when this card launches.

Old Post

  • American Express filed a trademark for ‘Ascend’ on July 18th, 2017 (serial number: 87532331). Hat tip to reader bradfomj

  • Normally reliable inside source at American Express said they had signed non disclosure agreements and to “take that how you will”.
  • TravelinPoints has reported that the card is real and will be available in January 2018. I have no idea how reliable they are at all, but they are also reporting card details such as:
    • Annual fee of $95
    • Card earns at the following rates:
      • 12x on Hilton
      • 6x on U.S. Supermarkets, U.S. gas stations & U.S. Restaurants
      • 3x on all other purchases
    • Complimentary Hilton gold status. Diamond status after spending $40,000+
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Priority Pass with 10 free visits
    • Free weekend night after spending $15,000+ in a calendar year
  • Reader Floyd chatted with American Express asking how they can apply for the Hilton Honors Ascend card and were told “I’m sorry the card has yet not been launched. It is expected to be launched soon and when it is, you will be informed.”.  Chat reps aren’t usually very well informed so take that with a grain of salt.
  • American Express also have an KrisFlyer Ascend Card in Singapore.

Below is our original post in full.

Two random American Express pieces of information that could mean absolutely nothing.

  1. Rumor circulating that American Express will make an announcement on October 5th. Believe this was originally discussed on Frequent Miler’s facebook group, also some discussion of this here.
  2. Flyertalk user Christianj applied for the American Express Hilton Surpass with 100,000 points + free night on anniversary. They received an e-mail stating (bolding mine) “Hi, Christian. As a Hilton Honors American Express Ascend cardmember, you receive Gold status. Your new status is as effective as long as you are a Hilton Honors American Express Ascend cardmember.

Obviously these could be related to each other. Last year there was a survey sent out talking about a new American Express Hilton Diamond card and other changes to existing cards. An Ascend card would also have something to do with American Express becoming the sole issuer of Hilton cards in 2018 and Ascend could be the new name American Express gives one of the old Hilton cards if they purchase the back book.

Another possibility is that the two items aren’t related at all and American Express are announcing the launch of a new card on the 5th similar to the Cobalt card just launched in Canada. Finally there is a possibility that both items are untrue and nothing is changing at the moment. I’ve reached out to my sources at American Express and am yet to hear back anything, I’ll update this post if I hear of anything. If you do anything then let us know in the comments (or via e-mail will@doctorofcredit.com).

If you don’t enjoy these types of posts, sorry! Hopefully I made it clear enough in the title that this was just wild speculation. I actually enjoy writing these types of speculative posts so I’m sorry that some readers seem to hate them.

Hat tip to reader @vuwildcat07 for informing me regarding the Ascend piece of information and @stackpoints for the October 5th information.



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Jordan (Windbag Miles)

Who hates wild speculation?! That’s half the fun, as far as I’m concerned.

Paul
Paul

Don’t worry about the ones who get angry at the little things. I enjoy reading these as well.

NinjaX
NinjaX

FINALLY AMEX! I HAVE BEEN WAITING!

Andrew S
Andrew S

Where’s the Amex VP when we need him?

Ninja421
Ninja421

Some people have been referring to this article

http://monkeymiles.boardingarea.com/rumor-alert-will-amex-making-big-announcement-105/

But this is from last year. But let’s hope they do something good again.

PedroNY
PedroNY

Love this post, thanks for posting it. Cannot wait, lets hope Hilton will get Diamond+ status with $75k in annual spend on this new Amex.

Cheers,

PedroNY

Nancy
Nancy

Any thoughts about what this means in regard to applying for the Surpass card? Do you think it’s about to disappear/be replaced by the Ascend?
Thanks!

Mike
Mike

does it make sense to cancel surpass asap in case they put in fine print for new card saying no bonus if u currently have surpass or something??

Elmer
Elmer

I would suggest you quickly cancel all your Amex cards in anticipation of them allowing unlimited number of credit cards, offering multiple bonuses in a lifetime, and encouraging people to MS to earn the bonuses! I expect the announcement will be that they’ve fired their RAT team for being overly aggressive and they are appointing a Churning Advisory Board of Reddit newbies to approve all their new cc policies!
I’m going to go out on a final limb here and predictt that they will also be announcing opening up 504 new Centurion Lounge locations in all Simon Malls!
It’s gonna be a completely new day with AMEX!!!! Churners ASCEND to new heights!!!

Floyd
Floyd

Just chatted with the online Amex chat asking how I can apply for the Hilton Honors Ascend card and this is what they said:

I’m sorry the card has yet not been launched.
It is expected to be launched soon and when it is, you will be informed.

When I asked if it would replace the Surpass card they said it would be a new card. Exciting news should be coming next week!

AS
AS

Good move man!

Floyd
Floyd

To add to the “wild speculation,” spoke with another rep this morning (had too much time on my hands) and he said it will be launching early 2018 (likely in January) which makes me believe this is tied to Citi’s Hilton relationship ending in December of this year. Also he thinks the annual fee might be $95 and said he would double check, then came back and said he has no information to give out at this time. Maybe someone told him to stop disclosing information when he was double checking?

Olympia
Olympia

Does this mean it’s a go good time to get surpass?

JL
JL

second this question as well. Not sure the best approach.

If Ascend will be a new product, then would make sense to get surpass before ascend launches so you can get sign up bonus for both.

if ascend is not a new product, but a re-naming of Surpass + additional benefits, any down side to getting surpass now?

Nicole

Data point: I just received the Surpass card on 9/28. The email and the documentation all refer to it as Surpass.

projectx
projectx

Here’s to hope for an upgrade offer from the Surpass!

bradfomj
bradfomj

I just checked the U.S. Trademark Office records and AmEx filed application no. 87532331 for the ASCEND trademark in July. Backs up your wild speculation

Nick
Nick

The timing (after the announcement of winning the Hilton portfolio) seems to support this

Ethan
Ethan

Better to apply for Surpass now, or wait for the announcement?

Vincent
Vincent

Wondering the same myself. I have the no AF card, and debating whether I should take the 100k upgrade offer now.

Attila
Attila

Last I heard, Citi had said that they would be converting their Hilton cards to some other Citi product. But then I hopped onto live chat with a Citi rep this morning: (it’s a CSR so take what you will from it)

Welcome to Citi Live Chat. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you. How may I help you?
Me: Hi! What will happen to my Citi Hilton Visa at the end of the year? Will it be switched to some other kind of card?
CSR: Hello, thank you for checking with us.
CSR: I will be glad to check that for you right away.
CSR: Please give me a minute or two.
CSR: Thank you for your time and patience.
CSR: Yes, you’re right at the end of the year Hilton Visa card will no longer be with Citi and it will be taken by Amex.
Me: It will become an Amex card?
CSR: Yes, that is correct.
CSR: Also it will taken by American Express department, it will no longer be a Citi Hilton card.
Me: Will that be Dec 31st I presume?
CSR: As per the notification it would be around first week of December.
Me: Wow. I’ve never had a card that changed companies before. Not sure how to handle that.
CSR: I completely understand. Eg few months back Costco cards were taken by Citi so it is now Citi Costco card.
CSR: So, this happens with bank all the time.
CSR: Thank you for banking at Citi, I appreciate your business.
CSR: Do you have any further questions today?
Me: Nope, thanks for your help!

WL
WL

I was told by Citi CS that all Citi Hilton cards will be converted to Amex cards. I have both Citi Hilton cards and now I am thinking should I close the one with AF to keep me open to the Amex Surpass welcome bonus? I only have the Amex no AF Citi card.

artgriego
artgriego

Shit…I guess I better convert my Citi Hilton now so I can still get a bonus from Amex down the line!!

WL
WL

Citi does not allow any conversion on the Citi Hilton cards currently.

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