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We already knew that in 2018, American Express would be the exclusive issuer of the co-branded Hilton credit cards. What we didn’t know was if they were going to introduce two new rewards cards to make up for the two Citi Hilton cards that have been discontinued. Now it’s official, Amex is launching two new Hilton credit cards in January 2018, so we will once again have four different options to earn Hilton Honors points on every purchase.
In addition to adding two new cards to the Hilton Amex lineup, American Express is also upgrading its two existing Hilton credit cards. The no-fee Hilton Honors Amex will keep its current name and the foreign transaction fee has been removed (See ). The Hilton Surpass is changing its name to the Hilton Honors Ascend Card.
Here are the details from the press release for each of the four brand-new Amex Hilton credit cards.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Annual Fee: $0 (See )
The Hilton Honors American Express Card will continue to be the zero annual fee credit card for Hilton. To make this card more enticing, the foreign transaction fee has been removed. This is somewhat rare for a no-fee Amex credit card.
Besides waiving the foreign transaction fee, the remaining key details of the card remain the same:
- Earn 7x Hilton Honors points on eligible Hilton purchases
- 5x Hilton Honors points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets
- 3x Hilton Honors points for eligible remaining purchases
- Receive complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status after $20,000 in annual card purchases
With more than 5,100 hotels around the globe, no foreign transaction fee is a huge benefit and can make this an even better recommendation as a secondary credit card. None of your rewards points will be eaten up by those pesky credit card fees that make other no annual fee travel rewards cards unattractive.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
Annual Fee: $95 ()
If you’re an existing Surpass cardholder, your card will be automatically upgraded in 2018 when the new lineup launches. The new Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card will be more like the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve which was the better option if you wanted a Hilton credit card with an annual fee.
Here’s why. You can earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points by spending $2,000 in eligible purchases on your new card within the first 3 months of your account opening. Additionally, you’ll earn a free weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
Cardholders also earn:
- 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for eligible Hilton purchases
- 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations
- 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases
Plus, if you end up spending $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year, you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Hundredbacklinks. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Annual Fee: $450 (See )
One of the trends for travel rewards cards lately is to offer a “premium” airline or hotel rewards card that is similar to the Platinum card from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but, is more brand-specific in terms of rewards and benefits. Hilton will join the fray in 2018 with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
This is another solid offering if you like the Platinum Card travel benefits and would rather earn Hilton Honors points for free hotel nights instead of the flexible Amex Membership Rewards that are most valuable for booking award flights.
You can earn:
- 14X points on eligible Hilton Portfolio Purchases
- 7X points on air travel booked directly from carrier or Amex Travel, car rentals booked directly from select rental agencies, and U.S. restaurants
- 3X points on eligible remaining purchases
You will also get Hilton Honors Diamond status and unlimited Priority Pass airport lounge visits which grants you access to over 1,000 airport lounges globally. You’ll also get a $250 airline fee credit to cover incidentals such as checked bags, flight change fees, and in-flight purchases. However, you must choose the airline beforehand. You also get a $250 Hilton statement credit.
You will earn one weekend night reward as a new cardholder and continue to receive the reward annually on your account anniversary (as long as your account is open). Additionally, you can earn a second free weekend night reward if you spend at least $60,000 in a year.
If you love Hilton hotels, you can easily offset the $450 annual fee. The free Weekend Night Stay alone can come close if you stay at one of the more expensive properties since there are no redemption restrictions. You will also have 24/7 access to the American Express travel concierge.
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Annual Fee: $95 ()
Business travelers will also be able to join the fun with the business version of the Ascend Card with a $95 annual fee. If you have the option to apply for either the Ascend or the Hilton Honors American Express Business card, you should consider the second option as you have more opportunities to earn purchase rewards.
Cardholders earn points for their purchases. These include:
- 12x points per $1 spent at eligible Hilton hotels and resorts
- 6x points per $1 spent on eligible business and travel purchases
- 3x points per $1 spent everywhere else
The Amex Hilton Business Card benefits include the ability for new cardholders to earn 125,000 points after spending $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Along with complimentary Gold status, cardholders also earn a Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 in purchases within a calendar year. Plus, they can earn an additional Weekend Night Reward after spending an additional $45,000 in purchases in the same calendar year.
Hilton Honors American Express Business card cardholders get 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership. This means that cardholders can access over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
This can be a great option if you commonly stay at Hilton hotels for business travel.
What Happens To Your Existing Hilton Credit Card?
If you’re a current co-branded Hilton credit card owner, you might be wondering what will happen to your card. That answer depends on whether you own the Amex or Citi version.
Citi Hilton Credit Cards
If you currently own a Citi-issued Hilton credit card, it will be converted to the appropriate Amex version of the card in 2018. Since both the no-fee Hilton Honors Amex and the $95 Hilton Ascend are very similar to the existing Citi versions, you shouldn’t notice much of a difference between both cards with the exception of owning an American Express credit card instead of Visa. This can affect your payment method with select merchants, but, Amex is waiving the foreign transaction fee on all Hilton cards to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Existing Amex Hilton Credit Cards
If you currently own an Amex Hilton card, it will upgrade to the new version in 2018. For the no-fee Hilton Amex, everything will remain the same. Hilton Surpass owners will be upgraded to the Hilton Ascend and will also begin paying the $95 annual fee (instead of $75) but will enjoy the additional travel benefits.
Summary on the New Hilton Amex Credit Cards
American Express has definitely made the Hilton card lineup better. There truly is a Hilton credit card for every traveler. Whether you want a secondary rewards card or a primary card, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Now, you just have to wait until 2018 to apply!
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please .
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, please .
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please .
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, please .
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