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UPDATE: Hilton has launched 4 new Amex co-brand cards. The cards replace the old Citi and Amex Hilton cards. We’ve covered all the changes in detail, along with earn rates and benefits for the new cards.
Hilton has signed on with American Express to be their exclusive credit card Issuer. Currently, Hilton Cards are issued by American Express and Citibank. As of January 1, 2018, American Express will be the sole issuer of Hilton co-branded cards.
One thing with the new deal is that that it may have been expensive for American Express, not just to renew their partnership with Hilton, but to gain exclusivity. But you could see this as a way for American Express to solidify their position and strike back at Citi for taking over the Costco account from American Express.
What Happens to Current Cardholders
While initially it was not perfectly clear whether American Express will buy out the Citi cardholders book and just transition members to the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express or the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express, or would Citi just transition cardholders to another Citi Issued Card, it is now clear that cardholders will not be automatically transferred to Amex cards. In fact, Citi will be transferring card members to another one of their products, although it is not clear which one it will be. Per a Citi statement:
“Citi will communicate the new credit card information – including anticipated delivery dates and any other pertinent details – to cardmembers prior to the end of this year. Until a replacement card is provided, cardmembers can continue to make purchases on their current card. Spend will continue to earn Points until the end of this year and Points earned on the program will be credited to the cardmember’s Hilton Honors account.”
While it is an inconvenience when an institution discontinues a product you are happy with, there is a lot to be said for the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express and the Hilton Honors Card from American Express. While in an ideal world it would have been perfect if the transition was seamless and people were just issued new Amex cards, it seems that those wanting to keep their association with Hilton will have to apply for a new Amex issued card.
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