New Hilton Aspire & Ascend Upgrade Strategy

As you might have read, American Express kicked out Citi making it the only Card to Earn Hilton Honors Points. Today DoC confirmed the new Hilton Card line up coming January 2018:

  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire ($450 annual fee, Waved for Military?)
    • 14X @ any Hilton
    • 7X on flights booked directly, car rentals, U.S. restaurants
    • 3X on everything
    • Hilton Honors Diamond status
    • One weekend night at any hotel every year
    • Another weekend night after spending $60,000 spend
    • Probably the shitty Priority Pass that the Surpass had
    • $250 airline incidental fee statement credit (for AA or Southwest Gift Cards?)
    • $250 Hilton resort statement credit
    • $100 on property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels
  • Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card ($95 Annual fee, hoping for military waiver)
    • 12X @ Hilton Hotels
    • 6X @ U.S. supermarkets, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
    • 3X on all other eligible purchases
    • 10 free priority pass lounge passes
    • Complimentary Hilton Honors gold status.
    • Earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 in purchases within a calendar year
    • One Weekend Night after spending $15,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year
    • No foreign transaction fees

People (like me) that have the current AmEx Surpass Card will be forced to upgrade to the Ascend card meaning we will might never be able to earn a possible 100,000 points and free night on anniversary. Also those that decide to upgrade from the Surpass to the new Aspire will be not eligible to earn Two free nights. My proposition is to cancel my Surpass card right now so I can apply for both the Aspire and the Ascend in 2018. Then after a year I can upgrade the Ascend to the Aspire in order to max out $500 travel credit per year. This would also give me both bonuses of 100,000 points and another free night on anniversary.

On the more conservative side I could just let my Surpass get upgraded to the Ascend, then apply for the Aspire and then upgrade to the Ascend to the Aspire to get the same benefits, but I lose out on the 100,000 points from having the Aspire already.

A lot more information at frequent miler here. Thoughts? Comment below…

Great write up on strategy here on Frequent Miler.


8 thoughts on “New Hilton Aspire & Ascend Upgrade Strategy

  1. Dave says:

    Any fear of cancelling an amex co branded card in under a year of account ownership?

  2. zoomzoomzoomie says:

    Why ? on the waived AF for mil?

    This might throw a wrench in my strategy of holding 5 Delta Reserve Cards at one time…

  3. Coastie says:

    Can the basic no annual fee Amex Hilton Honors also be upgraded to the Aspire after a year? Is it in the same category? ie: Get all three, and have three free weekend nights after a year/upgrades and airline credits?

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      you got it! You can get all three bonuses, and then have three Aspires in one year. Keep in mind the 5 card limit for AmEx.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hey Derp,
    I believe there’s a law that saws that credit cards cannot be upgraded within 1 year because of the change in annual fee…but since we’re not paying for annual fees, do you know if AMEX will allow us to change from ascend to aspire in less than a year?

    I know that precludes one from possibly getting the upgrade bonus, but in my situation, I may favor having a second aspire 8 months early, than the potential for an upgrade bonus (which would set me back another 1-3 months after upgrading due to my spending habits, e.g. 13-15 months after getting ascend). Thanks!

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