Citi Hilton Cards Will Be Converted Into American Express Hilton Cards

This June it was announced that Hilton would be entering into an exclusive credit card agreement with American Express as of January 2018. Previously Hilton was in a unique position, as they had co-brand cards issued by both American Express and Citi. It seems American Express was willing to pay the price for exclusivity, meaning that Citi no longer has the right to issue Hilton cards.

Earlier we learned about huge changes that are being made to the American Express Hilton portfolio — the two existing cards are being improved, and two additional cards are being introduced, including a small business card, as well as a premium card that offers Diamond status. Maintaining top tier hotel status just for having a credit card is pretty incredible.

Up until now we didn’t know what would happen to those with Citi Hilton cards. In general I suspected it would go in one of two directions:

  • Citi would convert those Hilton cards into other Citi cards
  • Citi would sell their cardmembers to American Express, and allow them to convert their products to Hilton American Express cards

There are pros and cons to both. On one hand you don’t want to lose cardmembers, while at the same time if a competitor is willing to pay the right price, it could make sense to sell. Well, we now know what will happen with these cards.

As of January 30, 2018, Citi Hilton cards will be converted into American Express Hilton cards:

  • Those with the no-fee Citi Hilton Honors Card will receive the no-fee Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • Those with the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card will receive the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (formerly known as the Surpass Card)

You can find the full FAQs about this change here. Having these cards converted into American Express cards is good news for most, since the average consumer doesn’t want to have to apply for a new card. However, do keep in mind that you won’t be eligible for a new cardmember bonus if you’re an existing cardmember, so some will likely be canceling their cards before they’re converted.

What do you make of Citi’s decision to sell their cardmembers to American Express?

(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)

Comments

  1. I have the Citi Reserve Card, which will become Hilton Ascend. As far as credit history is concerned, will this transfer be considered (by the credit bureaus) as closing one account and opening another, or will my history with the Citi Reserve will be kept and the Ascend will be a “continuation” of the history I have ont he Reserve

  2. Definitely cancelling! I had the free Hilton card for ~2 years (so not that long of history), would definitely like to keep the option of applying for a sign up bonus on AMEX cards. Also not sure I want to “use” one of the AMEX 5-card slots just like this.

  3. If I have a free night certificate to use for for my Reserve card and I plan to cancel the card by January 30, do I need to use that night before I cancel or will that stay in my account?

  4. Any word on whether the ascend and surpass cards are the same or different cards for sign up bonus purposes?
    We have had the Surpass card (more than once) in the past but do not currently have it, so won’t have an ascend directly from AMEX, but would need to decide whether to avoid transfer of reserve cards to Amex to preserve sign up bonuses.
    Also makes one wonder, if the offer for a Surpass was up to 100,000 points plus a free anniversary night, just how big will a sign up (or conversion) bonus be for the new card.

  5. I dumped my Citi Hilton Reserve Card and got the AMEX card with a 100,000 point bonus. Better than just having them convert the card

  6. I cancelled my Citi Hilton Reserve last week. The rep told me the cards were being converted to AMEX cards. I wanted that 100K signup bonus and got in on that before they could change me over and I wouldn’t be eligible for it.

    The question now would be if we cancel the Surpass and get the newer equivalent card would we be eligible for that sign up bonus?

  7. I already have both the no-fee Citi and AmEx HH cards. Does anyone know if Citi allows product changes outside of the original “family” of origin? I.e. could I PC from Citi HH to Citi TY Preferred? Otherwise I think I’d just transfer the credit line to my Double Cash and shut it down.

  8. Also, repeating a question I just asked on FT: For those of us who did the recent Surpass signup offer with free weekend night at 1st anniversary, will AmEx still honor those original terms? I think it’s somewhat bogus that we’d now have to pay a higher AF to get it, but it’s mostly okay as long as the free night is still honored.

  9. I got rid of my HH Citi Reserve visa because it was badly managed, and that now seems to have been prescient move.

    I have the no-fee HH Citi visa now, but have no interest in keeping it as no-fee HH AMEX card as, I suppose, my prior no-fee HH AMEX, which was upgraded to the AMEX Surpass, will become the HH AMEX Ascent. In fact, I will even get rid of the Ascent/Surpass and just go for the new Diamond status-awarding premium card.

    A lot of exciting news happened while I was asleep!

  10. Add me to the list with bluedevil and Mike — want to cancel my Citi Hilton Reserve before I get moved over, but don’t want to lose my free night certificate (valid thru next August). Since I already have the certificate/code, I assume it will not be cancelled, but would like some confirmation before I drop the card.

    Also, can you give me some idea as to how much more valuable Diamond is than Gold (which I think I also get from AMEX Platinum)? I assume better chance of an upgrade, but both levels seem to only offer “space available” upgrades.

  11. “Also, can you give me some idea as to how much more valuable Diamond is than Gold.”

    There is no comparison, unless free breakfast is your idea of the ultimate perk. Among others perks, HH Diamonds are guaranteed exec lounge access, are eligible for complimentary suite upgrades better than 90% of which I have cleared since 2012, have “HH Diamond Force” — the mother of all elite perks when the chips are down — watching over them (us), and all around status recognition that no HH Gold can claim. If you’ve been a HH Diamond, it’d be tough to return to and settle for Gold.

  12. @ Craig sez: “… but both levels seem to only offer “space available” upgrades.”

    Elites in EVERY hotel loyalty program get only “space available” upgrades, even when they have a certificate that they can use at booking. There has got to be availability for such certificates to be used. However, suite upgrades are not a T&C-stated perk for HH Golds, although they can occasionally get or be “comped” a suite upgrade, especially in Asia.

  13. got my AE Surpass in April 2017 with the sign up bonus of one free weekend night without a spending requirement. Just got off the phone with AE rep and they “can’t tell me at this time” whether they will be honoring that agreement, since to get the “bonus” on the card anniversary, you had to renew the card, and they won’t be renewing the Surpass cards.

  14. For any prospective-freebie-Diamonds who believe the spin about “unlimited suite upgrades!!!” – note you won’t find any language about suite upgrades on the Hilton Diamond benefit page

    http://hiltonhonors3.hilton.com/en/explore/benefits/index.html

    Now, if you believe Hilton doing a CYA in their heavily buried T&Cs about some possibility of a suite upgrade…I have a NYC bridge to sell you.

    Believe it or not, some hotel programs actually have it published as a real top-tier benefit (and Hilton is not among them).

  15. Hilton surely got a fat check for exclusive agreement with AMEX. Citi got paid out for transferring account to AMEX. What about us who has Citi Hilton Cards ? We will be sold out to AMEX without any incentives ? If we cancel the card now and apply for Hilton card at Amex then there surely will be a signup bonus. I think AMEX will need to offer something for the Citi Hilton Cardholders who are willing to switch over to AMEX otherwise there isn’t any incentive for use to keep the card. Might as well cancel and re-apply for sign up bonus.

  16. I currently have 5 Amex cards as the primary card holder. I also have the Citi HH reserve card. Once it’s converted to the new Amex HH card, does that mean I’d have 6 Amex credit cards?

  17. It is official. Citi just sent out the following email to HH Citi visa cardmembers [accounts are being transferred to AMEX effective 01/30/2018]:

    “Your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature account is being transferred to American Express

    Hi, DCS. We are writing to let you know that Citi’s co-branded credit card relationship with Hilton is ending. Your Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa® Signature® account will be transferred to American Express on January 30, 2018 (“the Replacement Date”).

    Please note, in some situations, your account may not be transferred to American Express. If this is the case, we will contact you with additional information.

    Importantly, you should continue to make purchases with your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card. All purchases made with your card up until the Replacement Date will continue to earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points, consistent with applicable terms and conditions. We value your loyalty as a Citi cardmember and remain dedicated to servicing you through this transition.

    What does this change mean for my rewards?
    You should continue to use your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card until the Replacement Date. All of your earned points will remain in your existing Hilton Honors account and your Hilton Honors account number will not change.

    • All purchases made with your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card before the Replacement Date will earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points, consistent with applicable terms and conditions.

    • All purchases made with your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card before the Replacement Date will count toward achieving Hilton Honors Gold status consistent with applicable terms and conditions.

    • All purchases made with your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card in 2017 will count toward achieving your anniversary bonus of 10,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points, which will be awarded in 2018 if you have met your spending requirements for 2017, consistent with applicable terms and conditions. After 2017, anniversary bonuses will no longer be available on your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card.

    For questions regarding your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card rewards prior to the Replacement Date, please call 1-866-517-7795 (TTY: 1-800-325-2865 for hearing and speech impaired services only).

    You should continue to use your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card until the Replacement Date
    You should continue to use your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card for purchases until the Replacement Date. You’ll also have access to your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card at Citi Online until the Replacement Date. Before that time, please download and save any billing statements for your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card that you would like to keep for your records.

    If you automatically pay your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card bill using AutoPay, please be aware that any payments scheduled to occur on or after the Replacement Date will be cancelled, and these payments will not be credited to your American Express card. Also, because your new credit card will have a new card number, you will need to provide your updated account information to all merchants with whom you have recurring automatic payments (such as your utility provider, mobile phone provider or fitness center), card information stored on-file, digital wallets, and any bill payment services you may use to pay your credit card bill.

    In November, American Express will be sending information about your new card, including your new card’s terms, conditions, benefits, and where to send payments after the Replacement Date. On the Replacement Date, any balance on your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card account will transfer to your new account with American Express.

    Citi and American Express will continue to honor the terms of any promotions in which you are participating. But any promotional offers linked to your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card, such as balance transfer offers or balance transfer checks, that have not yet been activated, will expire on January 15, 2018. After January 15, 2018, you will not be able to take advantage of new offers.

    How does this change affect my Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card benefits?

    All the benefits of your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card will remain available to you until the Replacement Date.

    • You will retain your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card travel and shopping protection benefits for purchases made using your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card before the Replacement Date – including Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection, Lost Baggage Protection, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Damage & Theft Purchase Protection, Citi® Price Rewind, Extended Warranty, and 90 Day Return Protection. Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card travel and shopping protection benefits will not apply to purchases made on or after the Replacement Date.

    • You may file a claim on and after the Replacement Date, in accordance with the current benefit terms, but only for purchases made before the Replacement Date using your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card. For questions regarding your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card benefits prior to and after the Replacement Date, including how to file a claim or about the status of an existing claim, please call 1-866-918-4670 (call collect internationally at 1-312-356-7839). Please note that you will not be able to file a claim online after January 29, 2018.

    • Travel & Emergency Assistance or Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service benefits will be available to you until the Replacement Date.

    For questions regarding your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card benefits, please call 1-866-918-4670 (call collect internationally at 1-312-356-7839).

    If you have any questions about your Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card account’s transition to American Express, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-866-517-7795 (TTY: 1-800-325-2865 for hearing and speech impaired services only). You can also visit our FAQ pages at HiltonCardFAQ.”

  18. I don’t mind to transfer to AMEX. The only thing I concern is am I going to have a closed account (Citi) and a new open account (AMEX) record on my personal credit report? Because I am going to escape from 524 in February.

  19. I spoke with a Citi rep who answered my two questions:

    1. the free weekend night certificate that I received on my Citi Reserve account in August will remain valid even if I close my Citi account (which I expected)

    2. if I choose to close my Citi Reserve account, I now cannot transfer some/all the available credit to my Citi Prestige account prior to closing (which was a bit of a surprise). In the past, I have transferred available credit prior to closing accounts so that my total available credit would not drop (which would cause a corresponding increase in the % of my credit in use). I was surprised that it would not be an option here. Just a phone rep, so he may have been wrong, but, the last time I did that with Citi, it was a huge pain in the @ss (as opposed to Chase, where it seems you can move available credit among accounts at ease).

  20. I’m totally disappointed with this change to American Express since while traveling in Europe many merchants don’t accept this card. I haven’t decided yet but I’m considering closing this card.

  21. I just got the notice that my credit score went down due to the Citi Hilton card transfer to American Express. Unfortunately , the Citi Visa card had been my oldest account and had a perfect history. It seems totally unfair that I am “dinged” due to their decision to close and open accounts rather than an actual transfer. I really don’t know what to do at this point. I certainly don’t want to ever open another account with Citi after experiencing this. Has anyone else received their Credit Karma notice of their score going down due to Citi’s actions?

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