Update: The information below was accurate when published in 2009. Details of the card have since been improved.
Last week I reported on the introduction of a new premium Hilton co-branded American Express credit card.
An application for the card and details are now online.
There are several reports so far of existing Hilton cardholders calling American Express and upgrading their current card, sans credit pull. There’s at least one report of a customer service agent denying such a request, saying that a new application is required, though I assume this is a case of “when you don’t get the answer you want, hang up and call again.”
Some otherwise strong cardholders have already been denied the card through new applications, ostensibly because they already hold too many open American Express products (or perhaps they have too much open credit with American Express — though in my past experience Amex would tend to approve a card application and just reallocate credit lines to provide credit to the newly opened card).
It remains to be seen whether folks converting their current card will get the promised bonus (of points beyond what were previously received as a signup bonus) though I assume they will — at least after some prodding.
Meanwhile it is also not completely clear whether any spending retroactive to the beginning of the year will count towards the new credit card’s $40,000 spending threshold for earning Hilton Hhonors diamond status. I assume the spending will not count, contra the advice received from several Amex reps, or at least I would take the cautious approach and ensure sufficient spending to earn the status without reaching back to the beginning of the calendar year for spend. Dimaond status is really the key selling point of the card, which comes with an annual fee and more bonus points for Hilton hotel spend.
Sadly it is no longer possible to reallocate credit lines on a self-service basis online. I plan to upgrade my existing (free) Hilton American Express to the new Surpass card with the intention of earning Diamond status strictly on spend. However I will need to reallocate some available credit away from my Starwood American Express card in order to do so. (Mind you I wouldn’t put a single dollar over that $40,000 in spend intentionally, although unanticipated Hilton spend would of course continue to go onto the card for the 9 Hhonors points per dollar spent with the brand.)