American Express, Hilton HHonors

Two new Hilton 100,000 pt credit card bonuses – pros/cons to applying

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Putting aside the new Hilton Aspire credit card and its $450 annual fee for the moment, let’s take a look at why you might want to – or not want to – apply for the new (but not really brand new) Hilton Ascend card or the new Hilton Business card.

Let’s refresh ourselves with the cards themselves. The Ascend card replaces the Hilton Surpass card (and all Surpass users were auto upgraded). It now comes with a $95 annual fee, Hilton Gold status, a free weekend night when you spend $15k in purchases, and 10 free Priority Pass Select lounge visits a year. Should you spend $40k on the card in a year, you’ll get Diamond status.

Earning rates: It earns 12 points per dollar spent at Hilton properties and 6 points per dollar at gas stations and supermarkets.  It earns 3 points per dollar elsewhere.

I value Hilton points at around half a cent per point, making these earnings 6%, 3%, and 1.5% respectively. That beats other leading travel cards for Hilton stays and gas and supermarkets handily, but I wouldn’t put my everyday spend there given the lack of flexibility to use the points anywhere but Hilton.

Signup bonus: Assuming you’ve never had the Ascend or the Surpass card before, you are eligible for a signup bonus of 100,000 Hilton points as follows: 75,000 points when you spend $2,000 in 3 months and 25,000 points when you spend $1,000 within 6 months of the account approval.

There is some conjecture if former Surpass cardholders may be eligible as it’s a new product name, but so far the Amex comments have implied you will not be eligible. Stay tuned there.

Should you apply?  100,000 points is a very nice signup offer, no doubt. It’s worth about $500 but you can get more value if you combine with existing points to redeem, for example, 380,000 points for 5 nights at the Conrad Maldives. Two considerations to keep in mind: 1) Amex limits you to five cards total between personal and small business. Do you have room for this card and would this be your 5th card?  If so, you may want to skip this as there will be a new SPG Amex later this year and, surely, you have the current SPG Amex (personal or business or both) taking up a slot. The other consideration is 5/24. If this card will be your 5th card in 24 months, you may want to hold off. If neither of those applies to you, I’d grab the nice 100k bonus.

All hotel credit card offers can be found here – Hotel Rewards Credit Cards – and I always appreciate you using my links should you choose to apply for a new credit card.

Next up is the Amex Hilton Honors Business card.  It is extremely similar to the personal Ascend card above, but with a few differences. First, the 6x earnings category is different. Here, you’ll earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases:

  • on flights booked directly with airlines or
  • on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
  • at U.S. restaurants
  • at U.S. gas stations
  • on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service provider
  • on U.S. purchases for shipping

Those could be some nice categories for 6x earnings (or about a 3% effective return) – especially shipping if you ship a lot.

The Business card also lets you earn a second free night when you spend $45,000 in a year on top of the first one at $15,000 like the Ascend card.

Welcome bonus: Similar to Ascend, but with $1,000 more in spend required for the full $100,000. Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership and an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you make an additional $1,000 in purchases with your new Card within your first 6 months.

Perhaps the best part is that applying for a Business card like the Hilton Business card won’t add to your 5/24 totals, as it’s not reported as personal credit. So even if you are trying to save a 5/24 slot, you can get this bonus and not affect that.   There really aren’t any cons to getting the business card, so long as you have no issues meeting the minimum spend.

All business credit card offers can be found here – Business Credit Cards – and again, I always appreciate you using my links should you choose to apply for a new credit card.

What I doing myself? I already have the Surpass card which just became an Ascend, so I’m not eligible for that welcome bonus. It was an upgrade offer from my no-fee Hilton Amex, though, and I still received 75,000 bonus points for that. Since I just upgraded, I really have to wait a full year to downgrade it without angering the Amex gods. That means I’ll likely wait a year to get the Business card, as the benefits it offers are substantially similar. The only reason I may get a Business card before then would be if I had a direct and near term need for 100k Hilton points. But for speculative needs only, I’ll intend to wait for now. Of course, I do risk the bonus falling before I’m ready.

Going for this?  Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

New to all of this? My new “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your WIldest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.