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Last week I shared news from Hilton that bigger initial bonuses would be available for their co-brand American Express cards this year.
Some readers pointed out that links were out for this early, but not everyone will have seen that. Today is the official launch for these new bigger offers and so I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of it.
American Express bested Citi for the whole Hilton portfolio. There’s now only one issuer of Hilton Honors cards. And they’ve really invested in the products, improving points earn and free night earning and going farther to provide status benefits as well.
They’ve had big offers for their cards but right now they’ve become even bigger.
Conrad New York
The No Annual Fee Card
The no annual fee Hilton Honors Card from American Express, this is a card I think you want if you’re not a frequent Hilton guest and don’t value the instant status. They’ve got a good initial offer without annual fee cost: a 75,000 point initial bonus after $1000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of cardmembership. The offer is up from 50,000 points.
Earning is 7 points per dollar at Hilton Honors properties; 5 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; 3 points per dollar on other purchases.
There are no foreign transaction fees — nice on a no annual fee card — and the product comes with Hilton Honors Silver status ($20,000 spend on the card in a calendar year earns Gold status through the end of the next calendar year).
Consumer Card – Big Bonus, Benefits
The Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express is a nice improvement on the old Surpass card.
American Express is offering an initial bonus of 125,000 Hilton Honors points after $2,000 in eligible purchases with the product in your first 3 months of cardmembership.
Each year you spend $15,000 on the card you’ll earn a weekend night reward, and $40,000 in a calendar year earns Hilton Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
Ongoing earn is 12 Hilton points per dollar on purchases directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio; 6 per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3 per dollar for all other eligible purchases.
The card comes with a Priority Pass Select card and 10 complimentary visits which is incredible for a card with a $95 annual fee.
The Business Card Has an Increased Offer, Too
The business version of the Ascend card is the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
American Express is offering 125,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months on this card.
The card earns 12X at hotels & resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on select business and travel purchases, and 3X everywhere else. Terms and limitations apply.
You’ll get complimentary Hilton Gold status just for having the card. And of course $40,000 spend earns Diamond status.
There’s more incentive for spending on the card: $15,000 spend in purchases in a calendar year earns a weekend night reward as well, and another weekend night after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your card in the same calendar year. That second free weekend night makes the business card more rewarding than the Ascend personal card.
The card comes with Priority Pass Select including 10 visits each year — again not bad for a $95 annual fee card.
The Premium Consumer Card – Makes Sense If You’re a Regular Hilton Guest
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a $450 annual fee card that comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status and also a free weekend night each cardmember year. $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year earns another weekend night.
And right now the initial bonus has been increased to 150,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months.
Offsetting the annual fee are:
- $250 airline incidental fee credit per calendar year. This runs on the same rails as American Express’ current fee credit system. You’ll choose one airline, and presumably certain electronic gift cards will continue to work for reimbursement even though they aren’t supposed to.
- $250 Hilton resort statement credit per cardmember year. So be sure to stay at one resort per year and pay with the card to maximize value from the product.
- $100 on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts but to receive this you have to book “the exclusive Aspire Card package” which may be higher than paying a corporate or AAA rate.
Conrad Koh Samui
The card comes with Priority Pass with unlimited visits and no foreign transaction fees.
Points earning is greater, but you’d expect that:
- 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
- 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
- 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
Hilton Honors points are pretty clearly worth 4/10ths of a cent apiece making actual spend on the card not super compelling outside of paying for actual Hilton stays (worth a 5.6% rebate based on my points valuation)
This strikes me as a great card to have for Diamond status if you value that.
Overall these products tend to be easier to get approved for than many that readers are interested in as well.