5 things you need to know about the new Hilton credit cards

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Wow.  Amex and Hilton just announced their new credit card lineup, and it looks good.  Very good (especially the new Aspire card).  I’ve created a new resource page with all of the details: Hilton Amex Cards. Everything you need to know. I’m still wrapping my head around some of this, so I expect to update that page frequently.  I also plan to analyze the heck out of the new lineup, look into “transition planning” for those of us with existing Amex or Citi Hilton cards, look for short-term transition opportunities, and review the new cards in depth.

In the meantime, here are five things you need to know…

#1: The New Card Lineup Begins January 18th 2018

All four cards have no foreign transaction fees and earn Hilton Honors points for spend:

  • Amex Hilton Aspire: $450 annual fee, Automatic Hilton Diamond status, $250 automatic resort statement credit each membership year, $250 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year, free weekend night each year, free Priority Pass.
  • Amex Hilton Ascend Update: Now called “Surpass”: $95 annual fee, Automatic Hilton Gold status, free weekend night with $15K spend, 10 free Priority Pass™ Lounge passes
  • Amex Hilton Business: $95 annual fee, Automatic Hilton Gold status, free weekend night with $15K spend and another at $60K spend, 10 free Priority Pass™ Lounge passes
  • Amex Hilton No Fee: Automatic Silver status, Gold status after $20K spend

Full details about each card (including point earning rates) can be found here: Hilton Amex Cards. Everything you need to know.

#2: Citi Hilton cardholders will become Amex Hilton Cardholders

Existing Citi Hilton cardholders will be transitioned by January 30th 2018 as follows:

Current Card
New Card
Citi Hilton Honors (no annual fee) Hilton Honors American Express Card (no annual fee)
Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card ($95 annual fee) Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Surpass Card ($95 annual fee)

#3 Citi Hilton Honors Reserve cardholders can still earn their free weekend night with $10K spend

If you were putting spend on the card to earn a weekend night award after $10K membership year spend, your spend to-date will transition to Amex and they will honor the free night after $10K spend.  Previously, with Citi, you didn’t get your free night certificate until the end of your membership year.  With Amex I think (but I’m not sure) that we have a one-time opportunity to earn the free night certificate within 8 weeks of achieving $10K spend.

This benefit has now transitioned to a free weekend night certificate after $15K in purchases in a calendar year.

#4: Amex Hilton cardholders will get new cards

Existing Amex Hilton cardholders will be transitioned to new cards as follows:

Current Card
New Card
Hilton Honors Card from American Express (no annual fee) Hilton Honors American Express Card (no annual fee)
Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express ($75 annual fee) Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Surpass Card ($95 annual fee)

Unlike the current Hilton cards, the new Amex Hilton cards have no foreign transaction fees.

#5 We will have new welcome bonus opportunities

Almost all Amex cards welcome offers include the terms: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”  Since at least two of the new cards are brand new, everyone should have a chance to earn new welcome bonuses with them.  At the very least, we should be able to get a welcome bonus with the new business card.  There is no word yet on what those welcome bonuses will be.

I think that all four cards will be technically considered new products, but I’m unsure of the no-fee card since it hasn’t changed much.  Amex could also argue that the Ascend card is the same product as the Surpass card, but I think that’s a huge stretch.  I’m 99% sure that the Ascend card will be considered a new product.  That said, there is also some chance that Amex will include offer terms that state something like this: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product or the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express.”  I don’t think that Amex will do this, but you should be on the lookout for it, just in case.

In order to have the chance of getting a welcome bonus for the no fee card or the Ascend card, you’ll have to make sure that your current cards aren’t transitioned to those cards.  I’ll followup with another post on the pros and cons of cancelling existing cards for that purpose.

Bonus #6: It looks like the new cards will support contactless payments

I don’t know if this is a mistake or real, but current card images show wifi symbols that indicate that they support contactless payments (e.g. wave your card over the payment terminal to pay).  This is common in other countries, but not common today in the US:

Read on and stay tuned

I will be following up with more analysis soon.  In the meantime, please take a look at this resource page: Hilton Amex Cards. Everything you need to know.

Information in this post was derived mostly from these external resources:

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