In 2017 American Express inked an exclusive deal with Hilton in which Citi was dropped as a co-branded partner of Hilton. This resulted in the loss of Citi Hilton credit cards but also led to the creation of new Hilton credit cards by American Express. These included two new personal credit cards along with a business version as well. One of the personal cards was set to replace the Surpass which had many Surpass cardholders wondering if they could get the new Hilton Ascend sign-up bonus.
As you’ll see below, it looks like the answer to that question is no….
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The new Amex Hilton credit cards
The two new personal Hilton credit cards are going to be known as the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card and the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card
The Aspire card is going to be yet another premium card with a $450 annual fee and it’s going to be a very compelling credit card. The Aspire card is going to offer the following benefits:
- 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
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
- One weekend night at any hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio (upon opening account and on account anniversary)
- Weekend night after spending $60,000 on the card within a calendar year
- Unlimited Priority Pass membership
- $250 airline incidental fee statement credit
- $250 Hilton resort statement credit
- $100 on property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking the exclusive Aspire Card package
- $450 Annual Fee
Automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status is a solid perk for the card, especially when factor in the travel credits which can more than pay for the annual fee. 14X on Hilton purchases is also a lot of points. When you combine that earning rate with the Diamond bonus, you’re going to be earning a lot of Hilton points in a hurry.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
On the other hand, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is going to replace the former Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card. This new card will offer revamped benefits of the Surpass which include: no foreign transaction fees (which was highly needed), 10 free entires in into a Priority Pass lounge, and a free night certificate after spending $15,000. Notably, the annual fee will be going up from $75 to $95.
The big question everybody has been wondering is: if the new Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card will be considered a new product.
The American Express application rules only allows for one bonus per lifetime. There are some exceptions to this rule and sometimes you can even get around it by waiting a very long time like 7+ years but generally you will only be able to earn one sign-up bonus per card with American Express.
So if the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card was a new product this would mean that it would be worth it to cancel your Surpass card so that you would sign-up for the new product and earn the Ascend sign-up bonus rather than being transitioned from the Surpass to the Ascend.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card will not be considered a new product. Via OMAAT, a reader confirmed this with an American Express representative via chat. It’s worth noting that reps are known for being misinformed about things like these so I wouldn’t say this is 100% yet. However, I definitely do think this is going to be the ultimate outcome here as I don’t think Amex would really consider this a new product.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.