100K Hilton Ascend offer despite past Hilton Surpass

UPDATE 8/29/18: Amex has (finally) specifically added these terms to the Ascend welcome bonus: “Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or the Hilton Honors Surpass Card.”  In other words, now it is official that you cannot get the Ascend bonus if you’ve had the Surpass in the past.

When Amex announced that their Hilton Surpass card would be renamed to “Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express”, I speculated that it might be possible to get a new welcome bonus on the Ascend as long as you closed your Surpass card before the transition.  Amex representatives, though, unanimously rejected the idea.  The company line was that the Ascend was not a new product.  Therefore, current and past Surpass cardholders would not be eligible for a welcome bonus.

Early evidence supported the company line.  As I reported in the post “Hilton Conversion Questions Answered: New Ascend bonus? 5/24 effect?,” no one who had applied for the Ascend after having had the Surpass in past had reported success getting a welcome bonus.

Since then, two key things have changed:

  1. Two readers have reported success getting the welcome bonus, even though they had the Surpass in the past.  Both had cancelled their Surpass cards well before the Ascend name was announced.  One cancelled in 2016.  The other cancelled March 2017.
  2. Amex will now warn you during the application process if you’re not eligible for the welcome bonus.  This is key because it means that there is no risk to trying.  If you cancelled your Surpass card before it turned into the Ascend card, you might have a shot at the welcome bonus.

But, should you go for it?

As I write this, there are four distinct Hilton cards available and each has a welcome bonus in the 75K to 125K range.  That means that it is theoretically possible to rack up around 400K points through bonuses alone.  And a couple could theoretically double that.  Since Hilton now allows point pooling, it would be easy to put all 800,000 points together.  That’s pretty insane.

On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons not to go for it:

  1. Except for the business card, each Hilton card will add to your 5/24 count.  This will make it harder to get approved for Chase cards in the future (details here).
  2. You will have to meet each card’s minimum spend requirements to earn the welcome bonus.  And, remember that in some cases Amex has started enforcing rules restricting which types of purchases count.  Keep in mind, though, that our Manufactured Spending Complete Guide lists techniques that are safe for meeting Amex minimum spend.
  3. Amex often (but not always) enforces an unwritten limit of 5 credit cards that each person can have (you can have many more charge cards though).  And since the Hilton cards are credit cards they will each take up a precious slot that you might want to use for other Amex credit card.
  4. Hilton points aren’t the most valuable currency out there.  Our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) currently pegs Hilton points at only 0.45 cents each.  So, while a 100K welcome bonus sounds amazing, it’s good to keep in mind that an average use of those points would be worth about $450.  That’s still very good, but pales in comparison to the top offers available.  See: Top 10+ Credit Card Offers.

Below you’ll find summary information about each Hilton card.  Click the card’s name to go to a Frequent Miler page with more detailed information.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
125K points
125K after $3K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: 125K after $5K in the first 3 months (Expired 6/27/18)

FM Mini Review: Easy way to secure Hilton Gold status (which offers free breakfast among other perks). Amex business cards do not count towards 5/24 status so will not hurt chances of applying for Chase cards.


Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Earning rate: ⚬ 12X Hilton spend ⚬ 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases (flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel; car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; US restaurants; US gas stations; wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service provider; US shipping purchases)

Big spend bonus:
Free weekend night after $15K spend in calendar year and another after $60K spend

Diamond elite status with $40K calendar year spend

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Free Gold status. Diamond status w/ $40K spend. ⚬ 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits per calendar year ⚬ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

See also: Hilton Amex Cards. Everything you need to know.

Hilton Honors American Express Card
100K points
100K after $1K spend in 3 months

$0 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Alternate offer: You may see a better offer that includes a $100 statement credit during the booking process at Hilton.com.

FM Mini Review: This card isn't particularly rewarding, but it's good to keep primarily for targeted Amex upgrade offers to the Ascend card.


Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Earning rate: ⚬ 7X Hilton spend ⚬ 5X US restaurants, US Supermarkets, and US gas stations ⚬ 3X everywhere else

Big spend bonus: Gold elite status with $20K calendar year spend

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Free Silver status; Gold status with $20K spend. ⚬ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

See also: Hilton Amex Cards. Everything you need to know.

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
150K points
150K after $3K spend in 3 months. Terms apply.

$95 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Recent better offer: 125K after $3K in first 3 months + free weekend night at first anniversary (Expired 6/27/18)

FM Mini Review: Easy way to secure Hilton Gold status (which offers free breakfast among other perks). Those who want Diamond status may be better off with the Aspire card.


Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Earning rate: ⚬ 12X Hilton spend ⚬ 6X U.S. restaurants, US Supermarkets, and US gas stations ⚬ 3X everywhere else

Big spend bonus:
⚬ Free weekend night after $15K spend in calendar year ⚬ Diamond elite status with $40K calendar year spend ⚬ Terms apply

Noteworthy perks: ⚬Free Gold status. Diamond status w/ $40K spend. ⚬ 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits per calendar year ⚬ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

See also: Hilton Amex Cards. Everything you need to know.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
150K points
150K after $4K spend in 3 months.

$450 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card is loaded with valuable perks that are more than worth the card's annual fee if you stay in Hilton resorts at least once per year, and other Hilton properties a few times a year..


Card Type: Amex Credit Card

Earning rate: ⚬ 14X Hilton spend ⚬ 7X US restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, select car rental companies ⚬ 3X everywhere else ⚬ Terms & Limitations Apply.

Big spend bonus: Second free weekend night after $60K spend in calendar year

Noteworthy perks: ⚬Annual Weekend Night Reward upon signup and every year upon renewal ⚬ Free Diamond Status ⚬ Priority Pass w/ 2 free guests ⚬ $250 Hilton Resort Credit per membership year ⚬ $250 Airline Incidental Fee Credit per calendar year ⚬ $100 on-property credit w/ Aspire Card package ⚬ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

See also: Amex Hilton Aspire In-Depth Review

 

Last updated on August 29th, 2018

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Lukas
Guest
Lukas

I closed my card before Ascend was announced and AMEX pop-up still says that I won’t get the bonus.

mjs
Guest
mjs

One other reason maybe not to apply for the Surpass (based on my observation of 4 family members- 2 did the Ascend sign-up offer, 2 have not)– Amex a few times a year offers the no-fee members a comparable sign-up bonus to upgrade. they’ve done this, got the points, reverted back to the no-fee, then 6 months later got another upgrade offer (which they repeated the same steps successfully).

however, the 2 members that did the Ascend sign-up (and still hold that card in addition to a no-fee card), have NOT been offered upgrade offers. my speculation is that Amex sees there is at least one Ascend in the profile, so it doesn’t offer the upgrade on the no-fee card.

another words, the irony is that one may get MORE points by churning upgrades on the no-fee version than getting the new card– and it doesn’t could as a HP or an Amex slot!

P-nope
Guest
P-nope

I don’t think I’ll get the offer if I apply. I canceled my Citi Hilton Reserve but canceled it November, 2017 before it could be converted to Ascend. Once in a while I still get email from Amex that if I refer someone for Hilton Ascend I would get 25,000 points. Just this morning they sent me an email, so I think Amex already have information that I’ve had (or still have) the product.

Patrick O’Hearn
Guest
Patrick O’Hearn

I automatically received an ascend stud when Citi stopped providing a Hilton card. You think I could request the welcomebonus? I think they told me no when I inquired on the phone?

Mike
Guest
Mike

I was looking into this issue today, as I was thinking of applying for the Ascend while previously having the Surpass.
However, I found the following language in the Ascend card T&Cs: “Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or the Hilton Honors Surpass Card.” So it appears sometime in the last couple months Amex got tired of giving out signup bonuses on the Ascend to those who previously had a Surpass, which then prompted them to add a Surpass card reference to the Ascend T&Cs.

Denise
Guest
Denise

Today I received an email offer from Amex for 150K Hilton bonus. I was thinking just to try to apply then stop when that usual warning message popped up. But no, I was approved for a new Ascend card while I am still keeping my old Surpass ( applied in late 2016) . Does that mean I just wasted one slot of my */24? Any new DP that one can get another welcome bonus when they already had their Surpass? If I cancel the new card today, will a new account not be showing on my credit report?