Earlier this summer, Hilton Worldwide switched to a sole co-branded credit card issuer, and American Express gained exclusive rights to all Hilton cards. At the time, it was unclear what would happen to the cards issued by Citibank, but now we have an update. Amex cards will replace formerly available co-branded Citi Hilton cards effective Jan. 30.
Amex Announces New Co-Branded Hilton Credit Cards
In addition to the already available Hilton Honors Card, American Express has introduced three new Hilton cards: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is a rebranded version of the Hilton Honors Surpass Card. It will earn the same 12X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at Hilton properties, 6X points spent at U.S. grocery stores, U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations, and 1X point per dollar spent in all other categories. The main difference is that this card will get rid of foreign transaction fees, which is 2.7 percent on every transaction made outside of the United States. The card’s annual fee is set at $95.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card will earn 14X points on Hilton stays, 7X points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, on flights booked directly with airlines and car rentals booked directly with rental agencies. All other purchases will earn 3X Hilton Honors points. Other perks include complimentary Hilton Diamond status, a free reward night every account anniversary plus free nights based on spending, unlimited Priority Pass membership, $250 airline incidental fee statement credit, $250 Hilton resort credit and waived foreign transaction fees. The card will charge a hefty $450.
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card for small businesses will earn 12X points per dollar spent at hotels in the Hilton portfolio, 6X points per dollar spent in various categories, including at U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, shipping, wireless phone services, flights purchased directly from airlines and car rentals booked directly with car rental agencies. That’s a lot of bonus categories! The card will earn 3X points on all other purchases. Other benefits include complimentary Hilton Gold status, free nights after meeting annual spending thresholds, 10 Priority Pass passes and no foreign transaction fees. The card will cost $95 annually.
What’s Going to Happen to Your Citi Cards?
If you currently hold a co-branded Hilton credit card issued by Citi, it will be converted to an Amex card. Hilton Honors Card will replace the no-fee Citi Hilton Honors Card, and Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card will replace the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card. There’s no need to reapply, and no credit inquiry will be performed at conversion. Cardholders will receive their new cards mid-January, and Citi cards will no longer be active effective Jan. 30.
Can You Apply for These New Cards Now?
At this time, card applications are not yet available to consumers. Also, there hasn’t been any indication of any sign-up bonuses. It’s safe to say that the bonus offers will be restricted to once per lifetime on all of these cards, which means you cannot earn a bonus on the same card more than once. However, some of these cards are truly new products, and you likely will qualify as a new card member. Keep in mind that a product conversion from Citi to Amex might make you ineligible for a sign-up offer from American Express on the same card in the future. To avoid this, you can cancel your Hilton Citi card and then apply fresh for one of the Amex cards.
It looks like Amex is eliminating foreign transaction fees from all the Hilton cards, which will make them more travel-friendly. Also, this is the first time a Hilton guest can reach Diamond elite status by simply holding a credit card. Although we do not know all the details yet, especially about sign-up bonuses and how the travel credits on the Aspire Card will apply, but there are some interesting changes in this card lineup.
What are your thoughts about these new Hilton credit cards from American Express?
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