Huge New Bonuses On Two More Hilton Credit Cards!

Update: These offers for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Card have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


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Earlier I wrote about the increased welcome bonus on the no annual fee Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, which is offering 75,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $1,000 within the first three months.

As it turns out, this isn’t the only increased bonus, and two of Hilton’s premium cards have fantastic increased welcome bonuses as well.

Huge welcome bonuses on two of Hilton’s other cards

The following cards are offering limited time increased bonuses through June 27, 2018:

  • The Hilton Honors Ascend Card is offering a welcome bonus of 100,000 Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months, plus a free weekend night award on your first account anniversary
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is offering a welcome bonus of 125,000 Honors bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months

These are fantastic bonuses. As a point of comparison, both cards previously offered 100,000 points upon completing minimum spend, meaning that the personal version of the card has a free night certificate thrown in on the account anniversary (valid at a hotel retailing for up to 95,000 points per night), while the business version of the card has a bonus of an additional 25,000 points.

Annual fees

The two cards have identical annual fees of $95.

Return on spend

Both cards offer 12x points/9x points/3x points, though the exact bonus categories differ:

  • The Hilton Honors Ascend Card offers 12x points per dollar spent with Hilton, 6x points per dollar spent at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations, and 3x points per dollar spent on everything else
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offers 12x points per dollar spent with Hilton, 6x points per dollar spent at US gas stations, on wireless phone services with US service providers, on US shipping purchases, at US restaurants, on flights booked directly with airlines or with amextravel.com, and on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, and 3x points per dollar spent on everything else

The personal card exclusively offers 6x points at US supermarkets, while the business version of the card exclusively offers 6x points on wireless phone services, shipping purchases, flights booked directly with airlines, and rental car spend.


Both cards offer 6x points at US restaurants

Status perks

Both cards are identical in this regard:

  • You receive Gold status for as long as you have the card
  • When you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year you receive Hilton Honors Diamond status


Hilton Honors Gold & Diamond members receive complimentary breakfast

Free weekend night certificates

Both the Hilton Honors Ascend Card and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card offer a free weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year.

However, the business version of the card exclusively offers a second weekend night reward if you spend $60,000 on eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year.

This creates some nice spend thresholds on the business version of the card, since you get a free weekend night after $15,000 of spend, Diamond status after $40,000 of spend, and another weekend night after $60,000 of spend.


Redeem your free weekend night certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

Priority Pass visits

Both cards offer 10 free visits to Priority Pass lounges per year. Additional passes are $27 per person per visit. However, given how many excellent cards offer Priority Pass memberships with unlimited visits (like The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card), I don’t personally value this benefit all that much.


Receive 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits with either of these cards

Foreign transaction fees

Both the personal and business versions of the card have no foreign transaction fees.

Approval odds

For those with excellent credit, I find both of these cards to be pretty easy to be approved for. The major restriction is that Amex limits you to five credit cards per person (this excludes charge cards, like The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, and The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN).

Assuming you’re within that limit you have good odds of approval. One advantage of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is that applying for an Amex small business card generally won’t count towards your total as far as the Chase 5/24 rule is concerned.

Bottom line

The Hilton Honors Ascend Card and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card have great new bonuses that are the best we’ve seen on these fairly new cards. If you haven’t had either of these cards before then I’d highly recommend picking up one or both of them. I’d say all things considered the personal version has a slightly more compelling bonus, while the business version is ideal for anyone looking to stay below 5/24.

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Comments

  1. I am maxed with number (currently 5) of allowed AMEX cards … time to cancel the Delta card and apply for this 125K Hilton points.

  2. Is there a reason why you never mention Aspire card at all? It has an added sign up bonus as well.

  3. I applied for the Hiton Honors Amex Business Card two weeks ago with the old sign up bonus of spend $4k and earn 100,000 points. Do you think there’s a chance that Amex will allow me to match with the current increased sign up bonus offer?

  4. @Jackie – From what I see the Aspire is offering 100k points which is the usual (at least so far). The Ascend and the plan Hilton Honors cards are the only ones the Amex site lists with a limited time bonus point offer. Do you see something different?

  5. I’ve never applied for a business card before. I’m assuming they request specific information to prove you have a business?

  6. Should we be describing these as ‘huge new bonuses’? At a rough value of .6, this is the exact same value as the standard Hyatt card.

    Still appreciate you highlighting the ‘special’ points offer, since it’s more than the norm.

  7. @AMPfromBNA
    I guess it depends.

    For example I can probably use 12,000 points for 4 nights of stay at a Hilton, get the 5th night free at 30,000 points a night at a hotel that would cost me $250. So the sign up bonus would be worth about 1 cent a point (I’m assuming you meant 0.06 cents) to me, it would save me the $1250 for the 5 nights @ $250 a night. Maybe not huge but nice.

  8. @AMPfromBNA sez: “Should we be describing these as ‘huge new bonuses’? At a rough value of .6, this is the exact same value as the standard Hyatt card.”

    Yes, we should be describing those as ‘huge new bonuses’, and stop obsessing with the largely meaningless AVERAGE redemption values of points currencies, BECAUSE POINTS CURRENCIES HAVE NO REDEMPTION VALUE UNTIL THEY ARE REDEEMED!

    Here’s what that means…

    A) At High-end Properties:
    __________________________

    I am contemplating booking a 5-night award stay at Conrad Maldives Rangali as part of my 2018 Annual Year-end Asian Escapade™. The dates would be something like 31 Dec 2018 to 06 Jan 2019.

    Here’s what I would have to pay in points and in cash during that time of the year:

    Points:
    31 Dec 2018 95,000 points
    01 Jan 2019 95,000 points
    02 Jan 2019 95,000 points
    03 Jan 2019 95,000 points
    04 Jan 2019 * 0 points

    — Room Subtotal 380,000 points

    Cash [Hilton Honors Discount]:
    31 Dec 2018 2,375.00
    01 Jan 2019 2,375.00
    02 Jan 2019 2,375.00
    03 Jan 2019 2,375.00
    04 Jan 2019 2,375.00
    Room Subtotal 11,875.00
    Service Charge 10.00 % per room per stay 1,187.50
    Room + Service Charge 13,062.50
    Taxes 12.00 % per room per night $6.00 USD per person per night 1,597.50

    — Total for stay: $14,660.00

    — Redemption value of the 5-night award stay: 14,666/38,000 = $0.39/point = 3.9cents/point.

    See? The value is nowhere near 0.6cpp.

    Even if one decided to book a one-night award stay at this property, the monetary value of the 100K or 125K signup bonus would be (excluding taxes and fees):

    $2,375/95,000 = $0.025/points = 2.5cents/point or more than 4×0.6cpp, with up to 30K points remaining in the bank.

    Still with me?

    B) At Low-end Properties
    __________________________

    Here’s a scenario based on another redemption I have been contemplating. I would like to spend some time in the Yucatan, so I looked to see what was available and came up, e.g., with these PER NIGHT redemption values:

    Property: Hampton Inn by Hilton Merida, Yucatan, Mexico:

    Standard Room Reward: Queen w/ Sofa bed
    – Nightly cash rate: $58
    – Nightly award rate: 5,000

    *** award redemption value: $58/5,000= $0.012/point or 1.2cents/point

    ‘Premium’ Room Reward: King SUITE
    – Nightly cash rate: $107
    – Nightly award rate: 40,000

    *** award redemption value: $107/40,000= $0.0027 or 0.27cent/point

    ___________________________

    The scenarios above illustrate that
    (a) in PRACTICE, there is not a single, fixed redemption value for points currencies [above I got values from ~4cpp down to 0.27cpp), and that’s because points currencies have no redemption values before a redemption has been identified or the points have been redeemed. The Yucatan Hampton redemption shows that even at a single property, redemption values can vary widely in PRACTICE.

    (b) Just because the number of points is low (5K) and the redemption value high (1.2cpp) does not mean that it makes sense to redeem points. It may still be better to pay cash.

    (c) In the Yucatan Hampton scenario above, I would not even pay cash for the STANDARD room @5K points/night. I would pay cash for the SUITE, which would earn me, as a HH Diamond with the Aspire card: 34*107= 3,638/night — i.e, almost enough points to be able to afford a standard award at the property. While the suite is affordable in points (40K), the room rate in cash ($107) and the redemption value (.27cpp) are too low to justify redeeming points. Cash all the way in the Yucatan!

    BOTTOM LINE: The focus on the “value” of points outside of actual redemption scenarios is self-anointed travel gurus’ MASTURBATORY exercise of the mind, with no practical import because invariably and grossly underestimates the monetary of points currencies. One must first identify a redemption and then do the math to determine the value of a redemption and then decide what do…

    G’day!

  9. “…because IT invariably and grossly underestimates the monetary VALUE of points currencies.”

  10. RE: the new signup bonus for the HH Ascend Card is the ‘free night on anniversary date’ just for year 1? Or is it going to be an annual free night on anniversary going forward every year like what the SPG and HYATT cards do?

  11. @Jackie – probably because he doesn’t have a referral link yet (ie. He won’t make a commission on sign ups). On one hand, I get it. Why promote something you’re not going to get paid on?
    Doesn’t want his readership to all sign up for the card until he has a referral link. But it also seems really disingenuous to write about Hilton credit cards and just pretend the Aspire card doesn’t even exist.

  12. @DCS – Silly exercise. Everyone on this site knows that redemption rates vary within programs. The point of setting a value on a point is to get an idea for the general value you might expect to receive. And the bottom line is that 100k Hilton points are nowhere near as useful as 100k starwood points. I would agree with the original point that classifying this bonus as “huge” is getting carried away a little bit.

  13. I got the Diamond Status match with Marriott/SPG . I have to stay eight times. Today I signed up for the 100,000 free night $95 AmEx Hilton Card. Will the free night/s I use the points on count toward the necessary 8 stays? Or do they need to be paid stays? I can’t find an answer.

  14. Hilton run-of-the-mill hotels regularly charge 100K+ during high time. So, its value ranges typically from 0.4-0.6 cents..

  15. BGPQ sez: “Silly exercise.”

    No, silly comment that presupposes that everyone who plays the game has exactly the same financial backgrounds and means, tastes, aspirations, etc, etc, etc, justifying a single redemptions value, even though because the point of the game is to shoot for redemption values that are greater than the average, using the average redemption value would consistently underestimate the monetary value that a points currency can achieve in a realistic scenarios. That is why redemptions value are meaningful only after the points have been redeemed.

    “And the bottom line is that 100k Hilton points are nowhere near as useful as 100k starwood points”

    Another silly statement that explains the first – cluelessness. You do not compare the purchasing power of 100K starpoints with that of 100K HH points because that’s like comparing the purchasing power of US$100 with that of JP¥100. It is a meaningless and senseless comparison.

    On their $95 AF SPG and HH co-brand cards, AMEX awards 2points/$ and 12points/$, respectively, which means that OFFICIALLY one earns 6x more HH than starpoints per $. Therefore, the meaning comparison would be 100K starpoints vs 600K HH points. But why bother when starpoints are dead, while Hilton points are thriving and getting more and more rewarding.

    G’day.

  16. @FTrump sez: “Hilton run-of-the-mill hotels regularly charge 100K+ during high time…”

    Yup, for 100K+….suites or other ‘Premium’ Room Rewards, and not for STANDARD Room Rewards. It’s just incredible how very simple concepts keep tripping people up again and again and again!

  17. @jackie

    Just sign up with it directly (that is what I did). It is obvious that Lucky and other bloggers (e.g., Gary) are intentionally not talking about it, either they have been told not to (most likely) or the lack of referral links.

    I believe lucky mentioned it several times before it was officially online and has been silent on it (both the card and the criticism about his silence).

    I don’t dislike Ben but his and Gary’s silence on that card has been very obvious and very disappointing (at least with regards to Ben)

    Clicking on referral links from many blogs seemed ok a few years ago when they were doing things almost for free but not I avoid it at all costs since it is just causing them to continue pump/dump cards and often questionable strategies/advice. Really how many people spend $45K or whatever to get status/bonuses on a single card and still have thousands left to get initial bonuses? Unless you are running a business or doing questionable mileage spending activities (thankfully cards are cracking down on those freeloaders) doing that kind of spending isn’t easy.

  18. @DCS: “Another silly statement that explains the first – cluelessness. You do not compare the purchasing power of 100K starpoints with that of 100K HH points because that’s like comparing the purchasing power of US$100 with that of JP¥100. It is a meaningless and senseless comparison.”

    It was so much better for that period when you didn’t insult the people with whom you disagreed, DCS.

  19. @Mike — it was even much better and peaceful when you did not come in here to get a fix for your obsessive compulsion.

    The poster called my comment “silly”, and I responded in kind. When will you learn and let go once and for all? Don’t you think that, by now, whatever point you believe you’d like to make about my purported insults has already been made loud and clear? Rather than OCD should we call it the broken record syndrome or BRS?

    Now, can you just go to hell once and for all….please?

  20. Personal ‘wars’ should be fought directly between 2 parties, so DCS and Mike pls move your 2 person conversation to direct texting, emailing, or talking to each other pls.

  21. Looks look at this Hilton vs SPG thing further. Let’s say one has a two night stay in Boston for work. For the week I am looking at, I see the W Boston at $395 per night and the Hilton Boston for $381 per night. Let’s compare earnings in July assuming the traveler has the standard $95 annual fee credit card.

    A customer booking the Hilton would earn 30,480 points:
    Ascend spend bonus at 12x: 9,144 points
    Hilton standard membership at 10x: 7,620 points
    Gold bonus at 80%: 6,096 points
    Double Promotion: 7,620 Points
    Total: 30,480 points
    At a 0.4 cent valuation, this is $122 in value on a $762 spend
    If you use the Aspire card, you get 33,500 points

    A customer booking the W would earn 4,450 points:
    SPG Amex Spend Bonus at 2x: 1,580 points
    Standard SPG membership at 2x: 1,580 points
    Gold bonus at 1x: 790 points
    SPG Summer bonus at 250 points per night: 500 points
    Total: 4,450 points
    At 2.2 cent valuation,t his is $98 in value on $790 in spend

    The ability to earn 100,000 HHonors points on a few pedestrian business stays enhances the value of the program

  22. @DCS: “The poster called my comment “silly”, and I responded in kind.”

    The fact that you think that a personal attack is an “in-kind” response to someone calling your argument “silly” shows just how delusional you are (in addition to the ludicrousness of your arguments here).

  23. Go to hell…Everyone knows what I write about. The fact that you believe you can “enlighten” them about who I am because they do not know is a bigger insult to them than I have ever launched at anybody.

    I have been posting here for a long time now, so that I am no longer an unknown quantity. The fact that you feel that you must constantly let everyone know about who I really am when everyone already pretty much knows what I write about simply reflects about how truly pitiful and pathological you are.

    I will not try to stop you from making a fool of yourself anymore. Please knock yourself out edifying everyone about what programs “DCS” shills for because they are so stupid they cannot figure it out on their own.

    G’day!

  24. @DCS: “I have been posting here for a long time now, so that I am no longer an unknown quantity. The fact that you feel that you must constantly let everyone know about who I really am when everyone already pretty much knows what I write about simply reflects about how truly pitiful and pathological you are.”

    Actually, the fact that you proclaim yourself to be as important as you think you are is a reflection of nothing more than your narcissism.

    Grow up and get help.

  25. I cannot cure you of either your inferiority complex or obsessive compulsion to go after me as a fix for feeling inferior. It will all go away if you would muster just enough will power and self-restraint to avoid succumbing to the temptation to address me. Your call…

  26. @DCS: My supposed inferiority complex and OCD is nothing more than me calling you out for being an asshole when you post here. In reality, your belief that I’m somehow the problem here is nothing more than your narcissism giving you delusions that everyone thinks you are more important than you really are.

    Get help.

  27. Funny to claim that I am the “problem” when I never address you until you do, and it is almost never to engage me constructively. It is invariably and obsessively about the same thing, again and again and again. Anyone who cares to hear what you have to say about me has already it ad nauseam. The broken record syndrome…

    Someone definitely needs help and there has been any doubt in my mind who that is…

    G’day.

  28. @DCS: Yet again, you are not a victim here, so don’t pretend that you are. If you don’t want people pointing out how much of an asshole you are when you post here, don’t act like one.

    Why something that should be so obvious to everyone somehow escapes you is something that completely defies logic.

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