New Look, Cards for Hilton Credit Card Program

Jill Jaracz
November 8, 2017
New Citi Hilton Cards Coming

Holders of Hilton Honors credit cards are in for a change. Come 2018, they're going to get a different brand of card, and there will also be other Hilton credit cards to choose from.

At the beginning of the money, Citi announced it has sold its portfolio of Visa Hilton Honors cards to American Express. Beginning in January 2018, American Express cards will automatically replace those Visa cards, and accounts will all transfer from Citi to American Express on January 30, 2018. Cardholders have the right to cancel their account before that date, and if they do so, the account will not be transferred.

Because the card is changing hands, current cardholders will need to be aware that their credit card number will change once the card becomes an Amex card. If you're one of these people, that means that if you have recurring charges on your Citi Hilton Honors card, like a monthly utility bill or subscription service, you're going to have to update each one of those accounts with your new credit card number or else you may find your services disrupted and your bills unpaid. Your Hilton Honors number won't change, however.

When American Express takes over the portfolio, it's going to introduce four cards designed for both consumer and business travelers.

"The card portfolio we are announcing today was designed with both frequent and less frequent travelers in mind,” said Mark Weinstein, Hilton’s senior vice president and global head – Customer Engagement, Loyalty and Partnerships, in a statement. "We know travelers -- and particularly our Hilton Honors credit cardholders -- are looking for even more access, personalized benefits, premium service and, yes, the ability to earn even more points. In fact, the Aspire Card offers the most Hilton Honors Points we have ever offered for spending in our hotels."

The four cards are:

Hilton Honors American Express Card. This card has no annual fee. Cardholders earn seven points per dollar spent at Hilton properties; five points per dollar spent at grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations in the United States; and three points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Cardholders will automatically receive Hilton's Silver status, and if they spend $20,000 on purchases on the card in a year, they'll be upgraded to Hilton Gold status.

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card. For a $95 annual fee, cardholders earn more points per dollar on their travel and food purchases, defined by the same tiers as the basic card. That's 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties and six points per dollar at groceries, restaurants and gas stations. Other purchases still earn three points per dollar. Other benefits include complementary Hilton Gold status, with an upgrade to Diamond if you spend $40,000 on the card in a year. Spend $15,000 on the card in a year, and you get a free weekend night at a Hilton property. Also included are ten Priority Pass airport lounge passes.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. For a $450 annual fee, you can get 14 points per dollar on Hilton purchases; seven points per dollar on flights booked through airlines or, car rentals booked through select rental companies and U.S. restaurant purchases; and three points per dollar on all other purchases. You also get Hilton Diamond status, one weekend night reward at a Hilton property with a second free night if you spend $60,000 a year on the card. Travel rewards include an unlimited Priority Pass for airport lounge access, $250 in airline fee credits, $250 Hilton resort statement credit and $100 credit at other specific hotel properties. You also get access to the American Express concierge.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. For a $95 annual fee, business cardholders can get twelve points per dollar on Hilton purchases, six points for U.S. gas station, wireless phone service, shipping, restaurants, directly booked flights and car rentals. It also comes with Hilton Gold status with upgrade possibilities, ten airport lounge passes and other travel benefits based on spending.

All cards have no foreign transaction fees. The APR on all cards is a variable 16.74 to 25.74 percent, based on your creditworthiness. The cash advance APR is 26.24 percent, and the penalty APR is 29.99 percent. Cash advances and balance transfers both have a fee of $5 or three percent of the total amount, whichever is greater. The Business card doesn't have a balance transfer option.

Potential new cardholders will be able to apply online for the cards beginning on January 18, 2018.

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