Amex Making (Minor) Changes To Hilton Credit Cards

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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Update: This offer for the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

Today some updates have been announced to American Express’ Hilton card portfolio. Before you get worried, don’t. These changes are very minor.

Hilton Honors Ascend Card being rebranded

The Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express is Amex’s mid-range personal Hilton card. It has a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers the following perks:

  • Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card
  • Hilton Honors Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • An anniversary weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • 10 complimentary Priority Pass visits per year
  • No foreign transaction fees

As of July 18, 2019, the Ascend Card will be rebranded as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card.

What’s interesting is that this is what the card used to be known as — in early 2018 the Surpass was rebranded as the Aspire.

While Amex and Hilton aren’t providing a reason for this change, my guess is that they’re rebranding it because the name caused confusion. Two of Amex’s personal cards are the Ascend and Aspire, and my guess is that they just sounded too similar to many people. Or I could be completely wrong…

Hilton Honors Aspire Card benefit changes

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has a $450 annual fee and is an absolutely outrageously generous card. This card comes with the following benefits:

  • Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you have the card
  • A weekend night reward every year, including the year you open the card
  • A $250 annual statement credit for purchases at participating Hilton resorts
  • $250 Airline Fee Credit
  • A Priority Pass Select membership with the ability to bring in up to two guests

As of August 1, 2019, the Aspire Card’s $250 resort statement credit will no longer work on advance purchase rates. Every year cardmembers get a $250 statement credit for resorts, so now it only works on flexible rates as well as for any incidentals.

Bottom line

These are very minor changes — the Ascend Card’s name is changing, and one minor aspect of one benefit on the Aspire Card is changing. To me, the Aspire Card is too good to be true, so I’m happy to see that nothing major is being changed about that card.

Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected independently by One Mile at a Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (Rates & Fees).

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
  1. Lucky, the Aspire Card’s $250 resort statement credit never worked on advance purchase rates in the U.S.

  2. Don’t get it at all. The Aspire $450 AF gets you Diamond, which along with $5 to $8 at Starbucks, will get you a Latte. You can get $250 back if you stay in expensive Hilton Resorts. I’ve never stayed in one, and have no plans to do so in the future. Which leaves $450 a year for a one night certificate. In most cases it’s cheaper to just pay for the room, and also get the points from paying.

    Oh, and Priority Pass membership, which I already have with my Prestige card. Which after the $250 travel rebate, costs less than the Aspire if you don’t have any plans to stay in a Hilton Resort.

    Just seems crazy to me to “rebrand” the Surpass to Ascend. How much did it cost to do that rebranding. Then “rebrand” right back to Surpass again. I know a number of states have legalized marijuana lately, but I suggest that AMEX forbids it’s management from partaking during working hours. 😉

  3. “my guess is that they’re rebranding it because the name caused confusion. Two of Amex’s personal cards are the Ascend and Aspire”

    Yup, I still get confused

    Fortunately the name isn’t printed on the cards, so they won’t Bonvoy us by unnecessarily mailing out millions of new cards

  4. I thought the U$ 250 were only for charges during a stay, didn´t know it could be used to book a room.
    @ Lucky – I don’t know if you can give any advice, but as a non-resident alien (tourist is a better description), without SSN or Itin, I was able to get credit cards from BoA and Amex. This already allows great opportunities to get credit cards with great benefits (like the Aspire card).
    What I can´t find are credit cards worth spending everyday money on them, either for specific categories or general ones. Citi and Chase have great options, but I can´t apply for their credit cards without SSN or Itin, even though I have a good Fico Score.
    Amex Platinum is too expensive for bonus just on air travel, as Uber and Airlines credits aren´t worthy for those abroad. Amex Gold card would be great if the bonuses weren´t just for purchases in the US. The Everyday Preferred with the possibility of 1,5 points would be good but it would come along a 2,7% foreign fee. BoA doesn´t have any interesting options with a good spending return (on AS, AF or OZ).
    I´ll try opening a checking account on Citi and start with a secured credit card, but meanwhile, am I missing any opportunity on Amex or BoA?

  5. @Robert Hanson you forgot about the $250 airline credit as well. So it’s $250 airline credit + $250 resort credit + 1 night for the af. My friend doesn’t stay at Hilton resorts but he uses it to just eat at resort restaurant so it’s another way to kill, it’s prolly not a full $250 value but for using it for food I’d say it’s at least $100 worth .

  6. @ Robert — Huh? The $250 resort credit is good towards room and tax. If you have a two night stay at an inexpensive resort, you would usually very easily spend $250 on room and tax. Diamond also guarantees lounge access, and I’ve gotten suite upgrades more often that not by asking nicely. I think the Aspire card is a steal.

  7. @Carlos How did you get those cards? Did you have the Amex route or the long wait building your credit score? Do you have an address in the US? Asking for a friend 😉

  8. “… in early 2018 the Surpass was rebranded as the ASCEND.”

    Yep, they definitely changed it back to Surpass because people were getting confused 😀

  9. Hey, maybe you also got a little confused between Ascend and Aspire –

    “What’s interesting is that this is what the card used to be known as — in early 2018 the Surpass was rebranded as the Aspire.”

  10. 250 spirit airline credit, 250 room credit hilton resort in jamaica, 100 dollars after one night in waldorf chicago, breakfast for me, wife and two kids many times last year, visited over 15 airport lounges last year, including Dubai and even in abuja. Free amazing night at embassy suites with family in dc, with wonderful breakfast and welcome free drinks in the evening, lounge access with free snacks, 50 dollars per night in conrad dc, what are people smoking, this is the best card ever if you are a hilton lover

  11. @PV – it was actually a short wait building credit score. I opened a checking account on BoA, got a secured credit card and 3 months later was approved for Amex Blue and Aspire cards, using a mail forwarding address.

  12. @Robert Hanson
    I was just at Amsterdam double tree central Station with this card. Stayed 3 nights.
    Booked standard room. 270 euro/nite

    1st night free night. They put me
    in a suite. Breakfast in the lounge.

    Used the $250 air credit on the flight. By my count I already spent over $500 in value and I still have the $250 resort credit.

  13. @ Lucky sez: ” To me, the Aspire Card is too good to be true….”

    Shhhh…not so loud. The Aspire’s truly out-of-this-world benefits might last longer if more folks like @Robert Hanson are not in on the secret! 🙂

  14. Don’t spend unnecessary money for travel credits.
    It’s possible spending $0 to get $250+$250 gift cards from Aspire.
    Diamond and free night actually cost you -$50.

  15. @Lucky Call a spade for what it is, a spade.. I know you have the incentive to earns signup bonus from the cards, but this is around $50-100 devaluation since Hilton often has promos for 30-40% off resorts during their sales.

  16. The loss of access to Priority Pass restaurants is the biggest change for the Aspire (and all other premium Amex cards). Agree that the other changes listed above have no major effect.

  17. @Robert Hanson – YES!! This card is the worst!! Everyone look away, nothing to see here!!

    @Amex Hilton Aspire users – Shhh…. stop telling people about this card. We need more folks like Robert Hanson to keep the benefits of the Aspire to last a little longer.

  18. For those praising this card pointing out the airline credit, you can no longer use the credit on AA gift cards. If you already have airline status or an airline credit card its difficult to really use the airline fee. Also the advance rate is usually the cheapest rate so this is not really a minor change. I was able to find only one property i wanted to stay at where this credit applied in a year where i visited 6 different countries, so its not necessarily easy to find suitable properties in many countries, so its best to check the list of properties in advance of getting this card.

  19. @Bill – Most frequent travelers would have no trouble using up the $250 airline credit. In fact, I get $450 in airline credits from AMEX, as the AMEX Biz Plat also offers a $200 airline credit of its own. I use up most of the $450 just on wifi, flying transcon and long-haul int’l.

    Second, most savvy frequent travelers try to avoid locking themselves in with an AP rate, due to its inflexibility. If there is a change of plan, one loses it all, often many times more than the savings that one would have gotten from an AP rate.

    Please stop looking a gift horse in the mouth…! 😉

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