Posted by William Charles on October 3, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on October 3rd, 2017 | by William Charles

59

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.



59 Responses to American Express Hilton Ascend Card Full Review – New Hilton Card

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

  2. Paul says:

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

  3. NinjaX says:

    FINALLY AMEX! I HAVE BEEN WAITING!

  4. Andrew S says:

    Where’s the Amex VP when we need him?

  5. Ninja421 says:

    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.

    • As that really where it stems from? I thought it was from a newer call today from an American Express rep. If that’s the case it looks like 10/5 means nothing…

      • Nick says:

        It still might be relevant – current Surpass offer ends 10/4. Recall the last time they had the 100k offer, the announced AMEX would be the exclusive issuer of Hilton Honors cards the next day. We’re also hitting three months to the effective date, so I think everyone with the Citi card wants to know what will happen.

      • Ninja421 says:

        This was posted on an Amex group I’m on last night, but people noticed it was from last year. We’ll find out next week! Maybe they’ll add new Platinum benefits to make it similar to the Cobalt in terms of dining or something.

  6. PedroNY says:

    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

  7. Nancy says:

    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!

  8. Mike says:

    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 says:

      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!!!

  9. Floyd says:

    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 says:

      Good move man!

    • Floyd says:

      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?

  10. Olympia says:

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

    • JL says:

      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?

  11. Nicole says:

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

  12. projectx says:

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

  13. bradfomj says:

    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

  14. Ethan says:

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

  15. Attila says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

  16. AS says:

    Really hope this is related to a new Mex card and not just renaming one of their existing ones. Once in a lifetime bonuses are cruel enough.
    And these posts and discussions on such wild speculations are the best part of following you.
    Keep them coming!

  17. Elmer says:

    Reposting from a comment earlier because I think you will all want to read this:

    My predictions on the upcoming AmEx ASCEND announcement:
    Changes to all credit card rules at AmEx, starting with a corporate restructuring announcing they’ve fired their RAT team for being overly aggressive and they are replacing it with a Churning Advisory Board of Reddit newbies and Flyertalk cynics to approve all their new cc policies!

    1. allowing unlimited number of credit cards
    2. offering multiple bonuses in a lifetime
    3. encouraging people to MS to earn the bonuses!
    4. 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!!!

  18. Carolyn says:

    I personally find this very interesting – keep up the great work!

  19. Ellen says:

    So… When my SO’s five Citi Hilton cards become AMEX cards, he will have nine AMEX credit cards. Any thoughts on how that will play out?
    Thanks!

  20. Bill says:

    Any chance that Amex will create a business version of the HHonors card?

    Marriott comes with personal and business versions. SPG comes in personal and business versions. Why not HHonors?

  21. Terri Clark says:

    Just curious if this might have anything to do with the Choice Ascend hotels?

  22. sa13doc says:

    does it make sense to go for upgrade offer on amex hilton? i got offer for 100k points after spending 3k. pls let me know

  23. DSK says:

    This information supersedes other information I posted earlier. Based on the comments on Doctor of Credit and others, I called Citibank again (10/3/17 6:20 p.m. Eastern). The CSR told me (1) Citi has an agreement with AMEX, (2) only certain accounts will be transferred, (3) mine will NOT be transferred, and (4) my card will be product changed to something else around the end of the year, probably earning TY points. Apparently, each account is now has a code indicating whether it will go to AMEX or stay with Citi. Again, for what it’s worth.

    • Thanks, DSK. That sounds interesting, I wonder how they are deciding what cardholders to keep and what cardholders to sell.

      • DSK says:

        I have an older account with a large credit line, which I have actually used to charge large amounts (i.e., college tuition). So, I am guessing “high value” but don’t know. Another possibility is that I have a Surpass card (upgraded earlier this year from the no-fee card once I heard Citi Hilton was going away), and perhaps AMEX didn’t want me. So, absolutely no idea. The real news to me is that all accounts are not going to AMEX, and each account is now coded, which I hadn’t heard or read anywhere else. The CSR may have made that up, but that would be a strange story to make up (especially since she put me on hold for awhile to check the status of my individual account). CSR was in Maryland–not offshore.
        Thanks for the great web site!

        • Jake N says:

          I had the same thing happen when I tried to product change my Reserve this afternoon, around the same time as your call. I have about $5k of spend this past year (account = 2 yrs) and was told mine wasn’t coded to be transferred either. I do have lots of of cards with citi with about $60k in CL combined. I have until early November to get my AF refunded, so going to sit tight and see this play out.

    • Nick says:

      That would explain why some cardholders have been told they are going to AMEX and others that they are receiving another Citi product. If true, I guess AMEX is not taking my account, which is strange given my strong history with both companies. I definitely don’t want anything Citi could offer me (as it won’t give me Hilton gold status), so I’ll close that card if it doesn’t go to AMEX.

      That new card is actually slightly worse given you need $5k more spend to reach the free night, compared to other cards with no spend requirement. Can’t say I’ll aim for that anymore (I always hit the $10k with Citi).

  24. Lrdx says:

    Soo.. it’s an updated Honors Surpass? (No FTF, PP, weekend night?)

  25. UK says:

    Whilst the benefits you hypothesise sound good, it doesn’t seem to put enough of a gap between it and the Surpass. I can’t see it making much sense for Amex to have three HH cards, all under $100. I could see it at a $150 point with something extra , or at $95 just replacing the surpass card altogether

  26. Paul says:

    Was hoping this would be a Chase Ritz competitor with a similar $395 or $450 AF and accompanying bennies. This is a barely upgraded surpass.

  27. Phil says:

    The TravelinPoints listed terms of the possible new Hilton Ascend card don’t really make sense to me from a marketing perspective. The rewards structure is just too close to the Hilton Surpass. People won’t be able to distinguish clearly between these two cards. There’s really no point to offering two different cards that are essentially the same card. For that reason, one of two things is likely true:

    1. These are not the terms that will be on the new Hilton Ascend
    2. These terms are true, and Hilton Surpass will be discontinued or converted to Hilton Ascend in future

    Of course, there’s always the third option that none is this is real – everything at the moment is literally wild speculation, including the post that I just wrote

  28. Mike says:

    Spoke to Citi Hilton card services they told me all my records will be transferred to Amex in Dec. Spending 10K this year will earn the free night with Hilton
    Ask if I cancel card because I don’t want to go to Amex do I keep my free night they said Yes

    The Next question is Amex going to give transferred people a reward to stay or will I have to cancel then apply for new card

  29. Tom says:

    Just called Citi and was told they cannot see which cards are going to AMEX and which are not. The rep said AMEX was buying some but not all cards. If you card is not one of the ones purchased, CITI will be closing the accounts all together. She mentioned product change is not an option at this time and it was yet to be decided if cards marked to close would be offered product change later in the year to stay with Citi. She did mention that a letter would be sent out this month sometime with updates.

  30. Floyd says:

    Anyone hear any type of announcement yet?

  31. Ann says:

    I am a current Surpass cardholder and Amex is updating by email constantly. Surpass will be replaced by Ascend. There will also be Aspire which will have a $450 annual fee and includes automatic Diamond status on HH. There will also be a Business version of card. Launching January 18, 2018. I cannot get confirmation from Hilton Honors that Ascend card will have Diamond upgrade with three same $40k in purchases per year that the current Surpass has. I’m wondering if the issuance of the Aspire is a push by Amex to get you to go to the $450 fee which I am very reluctant to do. Guess we’ll see…

  32. onecoolrt says:

    Does anyone know if the 10 priority pass with the new Hilton Ascend will be the same as Chase Sapphire reserve. In another word with each pass you can bring X number of guest?or each pass is for one person like United pass

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *. Please do not share your referral links/codes unless the post specifically states it's allowed. If the post states it is allowed please follow the rules carefully. If you'd like an image next to your comments please create a gravatar. Most of all please be kind and respectful to each other. 

Back to Top ↑