What Did I Find Reading Through the AMEX Hilton Ascend Credit Card Welcome Letter & Cardmember Agreement?

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My friend Stefan at Rapid Travel Chai likes to tell people that I read through all the small print on credit cards so the rest of us don’t have to.  99% of the info is super boring, but every now and then, I found something worth sharing.  I’ve been quietly following along with the Hilton news, but had nothing to add to the conversation at the time.  If you want to learn more about the Hilton transition from Citi to American Express, check out this website that American Express created.  A few days ago, I received an envelope from American Express with details of the transition.  I had read all about the transition on other travel blogs, mainly Frequent Miler and Doctor of Credit, but I read the small print to see if there were any diamonds in the rough.  I will share what I found below.

2 weeks ago, I received the following email from Citi regarding my Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card.  I think most of this info is pretty well known, but here is what I found interesting:

  • All Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Cards will be converted to American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Cards, unless Citi cannot transfer your account to American Express.  I’m not sure what would cause that, maybe if you are blacklisted from American Express?  I have no idea.
  • All purchases made on your Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card through January 30, 2018 will earn points according to the current Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card cardmember agreement.  Including spend toward your Free Weekend Night Certificate and Hilton Diamond Elite Status.
  • Keep paying Citi for credit card bills through January 30, 2018.
  • Your new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card will have a completely new credit card number, expiration date, CVV, and phone number.
  • In November, you will receive a letter from American Express with details on the new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card (I included my letter below).
  • All current Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card benefits (like purchase protection, lost baggage, etc.) will continue through January 30, 2018.

Here are pages 1-2 of the American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card conversion letter.  Here is what you need to know on these pages:

  • Keep using your Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card through January 30, 2018.
  • In January 2018, you will receive your new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card.
  • If your Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card is closed or ineligible, your account may not be transferred to American Express.
  • Your $95 annual fee will stay the same, your credit limit will stay the same, but your cash advance limit may change.

Here are pages 3-4 of the American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card conversion letter.  Here is what you need to know on these pages:

  • If you spend $40,000+ on your new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card, you will earn Hilton Diamond Elite Status.
  • If you spend $15,000+ on your new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card, you will earn a Free Weekend Night Certificate.
  • You will receive 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits each year, then be charged $27 per person per visit.
  • As a one time benefit from the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card, if you spend $10,000+ on your Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card up until your account’s next renewal date on or after January 27, 2018, we will track your purchases to determine if it reaches $10,000 for the annual period ending on your account renewal date.
  • Your new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card will have a new credit card number, expiration date, CVV, and phone number.
  • Your Hilton Honors account number is not changing.
  • If you have authorized users on your Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card, you will receive authorized users on your new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card (you may need to provide American Express with their date of birth and social security number).
  • Around January 30, 2018, you will be able to add you new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card to your American Express online account, or create an American Express account if you do not currently have an account with American Express.

Here are pages 1 and 2 of the Supplement to the Cardmember Agreement.  Here is what you need to know on these pages:

  • In the upper right corner of this page, I blacked out the last 5 digits of my new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card, so it looks like American Express has already generated new credit card numbers for everyone who received this letter.
  • You cannot spend more on your credit card than your credit limit allows.
  • If your account is cancelled and you call American Express, you can pay $25 to reopen your account (this is very strange).

Here are pages 3 and 4 of the Supplement to the Cardmember Agreement.  Here is what you need to know on these pages:

  • Purchasing prepaid cards and cash equivalents are not supposed to earn Hilton Honors Points (I think all American Express credit cards say this).
  • If you pay a merchant who is using a mobile card reader or digital wallet, you may not earn bonus Hilton Honors Points.
  • You may receive your Hilton Honors Points 6-8 weeks after your billing cycle ends (should be much faster).
  • If you spend your way to Hilton Diamond Elite Status, the status may take 10-12 weeks to become effective (should post faster).
  • Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificates may take 8-12 weeks to post to your account (should post faster).

Here are the rest of the Cardmember Agreement pages.  The only thing worthwhile is ExpressPay from American Express (where you tap your credit card on a reader to make a payment).  If you want to disable ExpressPay on your new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card, you need to call American Express.  The rest of the pages are super boring.

If you have any questions about any of the new American Express Hilton Ascend Credit Card welcome letter or cardmember agreement, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

16 thoughts on “What Did I Find Reading Through the AMEX Hilton Ascend Credit Card Welcome Letter & Cardmember Agreement?

  1. daVE

    “As a one time benefit from the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card, if you spend $10,000+ on your Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card before January 27, 2018, you will earn a Free Weekend Night Certificate.”

    So this changes the previous terms of spending 10K in a calendar year for the free night? In other words I can now start spending in 2017 and get the free night as long as I reach 10K by January 27?

    Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          Oops, I messed up. Greg (Frequent Miler) pointed out that “Up until your account’s next renewal date on or after January 27, 2018, we will track your purchases … to determine if it reaches $10,000 for the annual period ending on your account renewal date…”, so it looks like you still have time to hit the $10,000 Spend before your renewal date.

          Reply
  2. Danny

    I saw on DoC that there might be an opportunity to double dip the free weekend night certificate if you wait until January to start your $15k spending.

    From what you posted above, it sure looks like that’s a possibility.

    Reply
  3. Greg the Frequent Miler

    Good post Grant.
    One correction, you wrote “As a one time benefit from the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card, if you spend $10,000+ on your Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Credit Card before January 27, 2018, you will earn a Free Weekend Night Certificate.”

    In my packet it says “Up until your account’s next renewal date on or after January 27, 2018, we will track your purchases … to determine if it reaches $10,000 for the annual period ending on your account renewal date…”

    In other words, if your original renewal date is later than Jan 27 2018, you have longer than Jan 27 to complete the $10K spend.

    Reply
  4. James H

    The question is…shouldn’t I cancel the Citi card and apply for the Amex card separately in order to get a bonus? Citi doesn’t seem to make cancelling easy, from the paperwork I saw (not listed as an option).

    Reply

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