Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express Review

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The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is Hilton’s new mid-tier rewards card, replacing both the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express and the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card.

DoubleTree-by-Hilton-Hotel-Kuala-Lumpur
100,000 points can land you 10 nights at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels Kuala Lumpur

In addition to earning 12x points on Hilton purchases and receiving complimentary Gold Elite status, the revamped Hilton Ascend welcomes some new perks; Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year, no foreign transaction fees (Rates & Fees), and ten free Priority Pass lounge passes.

The new and improved Hilton Ascend joins Hilton's refreshed lineup below, with similar benefits to the new business card.

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees

Hilton Ascend Welcome Bonus

New cardholders can earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Some of the best value in the Hilton Honors program is found at the lower end of the award spectrum. Hotels in Asia are often particularly good value, where 100,000 points can land you as many as 10 nights at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur or up to 20 nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Bali Ngurah Rai Airport. If you're more interested in aspirational properties, you can splash out on one night at the Conrad Tokyo, which runs to 95,000 points per night in peak season.

Points Earning Potential and Category Bonuses

The Hilton Ascend retains the same earning structure as the Hilton Surpass: Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

While Hilton points don’t hold the same cent per point value as rival programs SPG and Hyatt, the high returns at Hilton properties, combined with the 25% bonus for Gold status and Hilton’s regular promos, offer some of the highest earning ratios of any hotel rewards card we’ve reviewed.

Hilton Ascend Feature Benefits

Weekend Free Night Award after spending $15K

Hilton Ascend cardholders receive a weekend free night certificate after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year. A nice feature, the free night is redeemable across the Hilton portfolio of hotels and resorts (with a few exceptions) and could return hundreds of dollars in value if redeemed at a high-end property.

Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status

Hilton Gold ranks at the top of the charts for mid-tier elite status, providing complimentary breakfast, potential room upgrades and late checkout, and a 25% bonus on top of the base points earned for your stay. It’s also possible to earn Hilton Honors Diamond after spending $40K on the card in a calendar year. But the new Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card receives automatic Diamond status alongside a host of other benefits, and there's a good argument for applying for Hilton’s premium card if your annual spend is over $40K.

10 Free Priority Pass™ Lounge Passes

Another new benefit, Hilton Ascend cardholders receive 10 free Priority Pass Lounge passes just for holding the card. This is a vast improvement over its predecessor; if you held the Hilton Surpass, you were slugged $27 for each lounge visit. If you don’t already receive a complimentary Priority Pass membership via another card, this is a tangible benefit that provides added value for the increased annual fee.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Foreign transaction fees were a common complaint from international travelers swiping the Hilton Surpass while out of the country. The 2.7% foreign transaction fee imposed on overseas purchases has been removed on the Hilton Ascend which features no foreign transaction fees. It may not be a high-flying perk like lounge access or elite status, but it can potentially save you hundreds of dollars when traveling abroad.

Application Restrictions

The Hilton Ascend is not be considered a new card product. If you’ve previously received a bonus for the Hilton Surpass, it's highly unlikely you'll qualify for the welcome bonus on the new Hilton Ascend card. As per the Amex application page:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.”

Hilton’s refreshed lineup of co-brand cards includes two brand new credit card products, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, opening up terrific points earning opportunities for new and existing cardholders alike.

Final Thoughts

A step-up from the Hilton Amex, the Hilton Ascend is a quality co-brand hotel rewards card that’s sure to be a hit with Hilton fans. Featuring new and improved perks including 10 free Priority Pass lounge passes, no foreign transaction fees, and a weekend free night certificate after spending $15K, the Hilton Ascend is a significant improvement on the older Hilton Surpass. If you’re chasing even more benefits, more points, and higher status, Amex’s new Hilton Aspire card is the latest premium travel card on the market, and it offers all that and more.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (Rates & Fees)

Hilton Honors Ascend Card from American Express Review
5 (100%) 5 votes
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