Update: This offer for the Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
Hilton has four co-branded American Express cards, and at times it can be tough to decide which makes the most sense. Reader Dave K posed the following question in the Ask Lucky forum:
I have both the Amex Hilton Business and Hilton Ascend cards. I need to close one to make room for another Amex credit card (I am now at 5). Trying to recall the difference in benefits so I can decide which card to keep and which to close.
The Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express ($95 annual fee (Rates & Fees)) and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card ($95 annual fee (Rates & Fees)) have a lot of overlapping features, so for many people it may not make sense to hold onto both of them, especially if there are other American Express Cards that make more sense.. The obvious difference between the two cards is that the former is a personal card while the latter is a business card.
Aside from that, is there a big advantage to one card over the other?
Overlapping benefits between the two cards
- Offer Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as you have the card
- Offer Hilton Honors Diamond status when you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
- Offer an anniversary weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year
- Offer 12x points for purchases made directly with Hilton, 6x points for purchases made at US gas stations and US restaurants, and a minimum of 3x points on other purchases
- Give you access to Amex Offers, which offers savings for purchases with select retailers
- Come with 10 free Priority Pass visits per year
- Have no foreign transaction fees
Hilton Honors Gold status gets you free breakfast
Given that those are the overlapping benefits, what differentiates the cards?
Benefits of the Hilton Honors Ascend Card
The one “tangible” benefit of the Hilton Honors Ascend Card over the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is that it offers 6x points at US grocery stores. There aren’t many cards that offer uncapped bonus points at grocery stores, so this is a nice benefit.
One other potential benefit is that personal cards count towards your credit score, so having the card and making payments on-time could help your credit score, build your average age of accounts, etc.
Benefits of the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
- A second anniversary weekend night reward when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year (the personal card only offers a maximum of one of these rewards per year)
- 6x points on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers, and on US shipping, on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel, and on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
- Access to Amex’s “Do More Business” program, offering significant savings with select retailers
Redeem your weekend night reward at lots of great properties, like the Waldorf Astoria Park City
Both the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card and Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express are solid mid-range cards. The cards do have a lot of overlapping benefits, so some might not find it to be worthwhile to hold onto both cards.
While the differences between the cards aren’t huge, generally I think the business version of the card has some reasonably valuable incremental benefits, including access to the “Do More Business” program, the opportunity to earn a second weekend night reward every year, and more bonus categories.
The only real advantage to the personal version of the card is that it offers 6x points on US grocery store purchases.
So generally I’d elect to keep the business version of the personal version, though it depends what you value most.
Does anyone have a different take on this than I do?
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), and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (Rates & Fees).