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The Much Anticipated New/Revamped Line of Hilton Honors AMEX Co-brand Credit Cards Just Went Live!  

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NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

After Hilton entered into exclusive agreement with AMEX in which the latter would be the only credit card company that would issue Hilton Honors co-brand cards, bumping off Citi which also previously issued two of the program's 4 co-brand cards, Hilton and AMEX also announced that they would be making changes to their existing co-brand cards, as well as introducing a new "premium" card in January 2018. Specifically, the companies announced that:
[LIST]
[*]The Hilton Honors Surpass Card would be tweaked a bit and then renamed HH AMEX Ascend card.
[*]A business version of the Ascend card ($95 AF) would be introduced.

[*]The no-fee Hilton Honors Citi visa card would be replaced with a no-fee Hilton Honors AMEX card.
[*]The Hilton Honors Citi Reserve visa card would be converted to HH AMEX Ascend card.
[*]A new "premium" card named Hilton Honors AMEX Aspire card with an annual fee of $450 would be introduced.
[/list]
Later on, we learned that this new HH AMEX portfolio of co-brand cards would go live on January 18, 2018, which is today! Early this morning, I went to the AMEX website to see whether they would live up to the promise of releasing the cards today and, sure enough, the cards had gone live. This was the display before I logged into my AMEX account:

Likely based on my IP address, the AMEX computer system already knew that I had the HH Ascend card (formerly the HH Surpass card), and highlighted it as "YOUR CARD" on the left. In the middle is the no-fee HH AMEX card, which replaces the soon-to-be-retired no-fee HH Citi visa. On the right, is the "premium" Aspire card, which the system flagged for me as "NEW CARD." With respect to what to do on the page, I was given the option to (a) "Add Someone" to my Ascend (Surpass) card; (b) "Apply Now" for the no-fee card that replaces the no-fee HH Citi visa and earn 50K HH points as a signup bonus after spending $1K in 3 months; and/or (c) "Request an Upgrade" to the new Aspire card (I assumed the upgrade would be from the Ascend/Surpass card), with a whole bunch of really cool benefits, including a complimentary HH Diamond status, but no signup bonus points.

I should mention that just yesterday, I'd received by snailmail, the new no-fee HH AMEX card (middle column), with the instruction to activate and begin using it on January 30, 2018, as a replacement for my no-fee HH Citi visa, which would then be discontinued. So, the only card that I could apply for and, in fact, the only one I was interested in applying for was the new Aspire card. So, I decided to log into my AMEX account in order to fully establish my "credentials" before applying for the Aspire card. After I logged in, the displayed Aspire card offer suddenly changed, as you can see below:

First, note that instead of "Request an Upgrade", the button under the Aspire card now says "Apply Now". Second and importantly, note that the offer under the Aspire card now says: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points (after spending $4000 in 3 months)!!! The 100K signup bonus was unanticipated and a very pleasant surprise because none of the blog posts that I saw on these cards had mentioned a 100K signup bonus for the Aspire card. In addition, the fact that the offer became "active" only after I logged into my AMEX account to establish my creds suggests that the 100K signup bonus may be targeted (emphasis on "may be").

Anyway, I did go ahead and apply and was approved instantly:

Then, I was offered (see picture above) the option to begin using the card right away (before getting the physical card), which I accepted and got all the details on the card, including the card number, on the screen to print.

The new physical Aspire card will arrive in 3-5 business days. Before I get the physical card, the credit line will be $10K, and then it will double to $20K after I get the card and the account is set up.

Based on the preceding, the best way to apply for these cards, especially the new Aspire card, seems to be: (a) to log into your AMEX account; (b) select your current HH AMEX Card if you have one; (c) go to the bottom of that page and select "Credit Cards", which will take you directly to the new cards application page. The above may be important because (a) the offer may be tailored based on it, and (b) chances of instant approval may be higher. In my case, I got the message that my offer and approval were based on information that AMEX currently has on file on me [suggesting no hard credit inquiry]. Good luck!

I am really excited about the Aspire card because, while it will not change my pattern of staying preferentially with Hilton, thanks to this card it will now cost me just $450/year to make Diamond rather than $12,000 as it did this year. In fact, the new Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card may be too good to be true!

The sign-up portal for these new/revamped HH AMEX cards can be reached here.

Cheers!

Attached files

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Posted : January 18, 2018 1:48 pm
monitor
(@monitor)

Thank you sir for the heads-up on this. It worked exactly as described above and now I am busy with changing my CC# in whichever of my profiles that had it stored.

A data point: I opened the Surpass account in late August or early September 2017 and was credited with the 100K points bonus in effect for that card at that time. Yet I was still offered the 100K to sign up (trade-in) for the Aspire. It is not usual on Amex to be able to double-dip sign-up bonuses.

What, me worry?
DLDM&MM, UAMM, SPGPlat, HH Diamond, Most of the others

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 21, 2018 2:36 am
NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

monitor, post: 2808205, member: 74 wrote: Thank you sir for the heads-up on this. It worked exactly as described above and now I am busy with changing my CC# in whichever of my profiles that had it stored.

Glad things worked out as well for you as they did for me.

A data point: I opened the Surpass account in late August or early September 2017 and was credited with the 100K points bonus in effect for that card at that time. Yet I was still offered the 100K to sign up (trade-in) for the Aspire. It is not usual on Amex to be able to double-dip sign-up bonuses.

The Surpass, now renamed the Ascend card, and the Aspire card are different products. Therefore, if they each offer a signup bonus and you are approved for both, you would be eligible to receive the two signup bonuses, exactly as you got. There is also what is essentially a new business version of the Ascend card with a $95 annual fee that is offering a 100K signup bonus, which one with the personal cards should also qualify to receive, if approved for the card. AMEX does not seem to care how many of these cards one gets. I now have the 3 personal cards I described in this post, but have no interest in getting the business card despite the 100K signup bonus (too many cards already!).

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 21, 2018 5:31 am
Counsellor
(@counsellor)

Weird. I received the Ascend card in the mail with a sticker saying that it would be valid beginning on January 30th (why the 30th rather than 31st is beyond me).

OK, no problem, but the new card has RFID, which I do not want.* I suppose I'll have to call or write them to issue a card without the RFID.

*RFID readers are too easy to come by these days, and I don't want a card that will broadcast its number to anyone in receiving range.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 21, 2018 1:06 pm
NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

Counsellor, post: 2808222, member: 858 wrote: Weird. I received the Ascend card in the mail with a sticker saying that it would be valid beginning on January 30th (why the 30th rather than 31st is beyond me).

I assume that your Ascend replaces your Citi Reserve visa. If so, then Jan 30 is quite likely the earliest date on which the switch from Citi and to AMEX cards can happen.

*RFID readers are too easy to come by these days, and I don't want a card that will broadcast its number to anyone in receiving range.

Sorry but the purported danger or risk of RFID-enabled cards, known as RFID skimming, is completely overblown. The chances of your financial or personal information being stolen are infinitely higher through hacking, say, the Hilton Honors database than through RFID skimming. However, if you believe it is real, it might be easier to just get a RFID-blocking wallet or sleeve than to get AMEX to issue you a card without RFID...

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 21, 2018 2:55 pm
Counsellor
(@counsellor)

You may be right about RFID skimming being "overblown", but even the expert you link to admits it can be done, it's just that he is not aware of an actual criminal case involving it. It seems to me that the easiest way to avoid becoming a victim is not to carry a Faraday cage around for your credit cards, but rather to avoid carrying RFID cards in the first place. There's no need to carry one, you know.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 21, 2018 4:39 pm
NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

Counsellor, post: 2808252, member: 858 wrote: You may be right about RFID skimming being "overblown", but even the expert you link to admits it can be done, it's just that he is not aware of an actual criminal case involving it. It seems to me that the easiest way to avoid becoming a victim is not to carry a Faraday cage around for your credit cards, but rather to avoid carrying RFID cards in the first place. There's no need to carry one, you know.

To each his own. I am not the least bit concerned, not only because I am convinced that it is a lot easier, more fruitful and efficient to hack a credit card database to get such information than to look all creepy on a street corner trying to skim it, but also because the newer RFID technology enables information encoding, which takes a potential but non-existent problem almost completely out of the realm of the possible...

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 21, 2018 6:36 pm
NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

Among its features that make the new HH AMEX Aspire card almost too good to be true is that for an annual fee of "just" $450 the card comes with the Hilton Honors Diamond status, which just cost me $12K to retain. Well, Hilton and AMEX are moving aggressively to fulfill that key feature of the Aspire. Just 4 days after being approved for this card and even though I'd just requalified for HH Diamond for 2018-2019, HH & AMEX just awarded me the Diamond status that they promise through the Aspire card and it will be good to end of March 2020!

To maintain the HH Diamond status to 2020 by qualifying the "hard way" on base points would have cost me $24K. So: Is this card too good to be true?

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 22, 2018 1:17 pm
monitor
(@monitor)

No such notice for me as yet. There well may not be one since I had already been comped Diamond (for some unknown reason). I was technically short of re-qualifying by about 10 nights or 5 stays in 2017.

This comp has been continuing for some years now but since I don't know why they have been doing it, I am happy to guarantee continuation with the new card.

What, me worry?
DLDM&MM, UAMM, SPGPlat, HH Diamond, Most of the others

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 22, 2018 4:24 pm
NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

monitor, post: 2808320, member: 74 wrote: No such notice for me as yet. There well may not be one since I had already been comped Diamond (for some unknown reason). I was technically short of re-qualifying by about 10 nights or 5 stays in 2017.

This comp has been continuing for some years now but since I don't know why they have been doing it, I am happy to guarantee continuation with the new card.

I believe that it is only a matter of time before you get the same notice because it comes when AMEX notifies Hilton that a new cardmember has been approved for the Aspire. Your comped Diamond status is done internally within Hilton Honors. As I indicated, I already requalified for Diamond, and, yet, I just got the "upgrade" notice after being approved for the Aspire...

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 22, 2018 6:28 pm
NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

As an aside, I find it truly strange (but not really; see below) that, while there has been recently in travel blogosphere a plethora of posts on the Chase Sapphire Reserve visa or on the AMEX Platinum card, there has been near total silence on the new portfolio of Hilton Honors AMEX co-brand cards - especially the Aspire card, which is also a "premium" card like the AMEX Plat and the CSR, but now arguably has a ton of highly compelling features - since they were released 5 days ago. The exception has been the new HH AMEX business card, which several travel blogs have written about. Even stranger is that a number of mostly positive anticipatory posts were written about these cards before they were released!

If I had to speculate about this silence after the release of these cards, it would be that AMEX has an "embargo" on when travel bloggers can write about them, which is being enforced by delaying when travel bloggers will be allowed to place links for these cards on their sites to earn commission. Supporting that assertion is that the only one of these cards, the new HH AMEX business card, that has been written about (positively I might add) is also the only card for which AMEX immediately released a link that travel bloggers promptly displayed on their sites.

I suspect that soon enough we will be deluged with posts on these new exciting cards [especially since most offer a decent signup bonus], which would fully support the preceding speculation about a possible “embargo”…

In the meantime, I received the official approval letter for the Aspire card from AMEX yesterday by snailmail although it was sent on 01/18/2018, the day I was instantly approved online. The letter is of some interest because it provides details of the consideration that went into determining the size of my credit line for this card:

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 23, 2018 11:04 am
monitor
(@monitor)

I never read those sort of letters. They immediately go directly into the circular file. If you are ever near or over the credit limit for any card, simply call them and ask them to increase the line. They always do so why bother even looking at the number they start with. :rolleyes:

What, me worry?
DLDM&MM, UAMM, SPGPlat, HH Diamond, Most of the others

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 23, 2018 7:41 pm
NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

I am never near my credit limit because I always pay my bills in full. But the interest in such letters is to know that a denial could simply mean that one has to juggle funds around to free enough funds to meet the minimum that is required to be approved for a new card.

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 23, 2018 11:20 pm
iolaire
(@iolaire)

NYCUA1K, post: 2808396, member: 43667 wrote: As an aside, I find it truly strange (but not really; see below) that, while there has been recently in travel blogosphere a plethora of posts on the Chase Sapphire Reserve visa or on the AMEX Platinum card, there has been near total silence on the new portfolio of Hilton Honors AMEX co-brand cards - especially the Aspire card, which is also a "premium" card like the AMEX Plat and the CSR, but now arguably has a ton of highly compelling features - since they were released 5 days ago.

I feel like I've seen a good bit about them all but I read/scan a huge swath of the travel blogs. I do expect that certain high profile credit card affiliates do have embargos and can not talk about things Amex doesn't want them to talk about (or pay them for promoting).

Case in point [USER=40316]@FrequentMiler[/USER] - http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/?s=hilton - has a few different posts about the new cards and who will qualify for the signup bonuses. But I don't think he has that strong of an affiliate relationship directly with the issuers, especially since a majority of his blog covers point maximization such as manufactured spend...

Various trip reports related to traveling with dialysis and experiencing in center dialysis treatments at Traveling and in center hemodialysis

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 24, 2018 12:42 pm
NYCUA1K
(@nycua1k)

iolaire, post: 2808461, member: 250 wrote: I feel like I've seen a good bit about them all but I read/scan a huge swath of the travel blogs. I do expect that certain high profile credit card affiliates do have embargos and can not talk about things Amex doesn't want them to talk about (or pay them for promoting).

Case in point [USER=40316]@FrequentMiler[/USER] - http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/?s=hilton - has a few different posts about the new cards and who will qualify for the signup bonuses. But I don't think he has that strong of an affiliate relationship directly with the issuers, especially since a majority of his blog covers point maximization such as manufactured spend...

I believe you are right. After searching for a while, I did find a post on the new cards
on the AwardWallet site, which does not have strong affiliate relations with card-issuing banks. But sites like "One Mile at a Time", "View from the Wing", "The Points Guys", and, surprisingly, the usually agnostic "Loyalty Lobby", which aggressively push credit cards that are often less compelling than these HH AMEX cards, have been silent other than for writing about the new business HH AMEX card for which AMEX provided the signup link...

ReplyQuote
Posted : January 24, 2018 1:02 pm
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