Nerd tip: In July 2019, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, mentioned in this article, was renamed the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is no longer available
When Hilton declared its undivided commitment to American Express in June 2017, Citi Hilton cardholders knew their plastic would soon be replaced with AmEx credit cards. Now Citi, AmEx and Hilton have released more information about when and how that will happen.
The switch is scheduled to take place in January 2018. If you carry a Citi Hilton credit card, here’s what you can expect.
Who is affected?
Cardholders with these Citi Hilton credit cards:
The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card.
The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card.
Eligible cards will be transferred from Citi to American Express in January 2018. In addition to receiving a new credit card in the mail:
Your card number will change.
Your credit card payments will begin to go to AmEx, not Citi.
Your card will now be an AmEx, not a Visa, so it might be accepted by fewer merchants.
Overall, your card benefits will improve.
Starting Jan. 30, 2018, you can use your new AmEx Hilton card to make purchases.
What do I need to do?
You’ll receive a new card automatically, according to Citi. That means you don’t have to reapply. If your account isn’t eligible for automatic transfer to AmEx, Citi will contact you.
However, there are other things you'll need to do:
Update credit card information on linked autopay accounts. Yes, this is going to be quite tedious. But if you don’t, you risk incurring late fees from merchants or having services or subscriptions cut off.
Read your email and snail mail carefully. Both Citi and Hilton recently emailed cardholders details about the transition — and there are likely more updates to come via email and snail mail. Plus, you’ll be receiving your new card in the mail soon.
Start directing your payments to AmEx on Jan. 30, 2018. Any automatic payments you have set up with Citi will be canceled.
Set up a profile on americanexpress.com if you want to manage your account online. You’ll be able to do this starting Jan. 30, 2018. If you already have an AmEx profile, you can add the new card to that account.
Which card am I getting?
If you have a Citi Hilton consumer card, here's what you can expect from your new AmEx card.
For more information about your new card benefits, read NerdWallet's report on AmEx's new and improved Hilton cards.
What’s not changing?
Here’s what won’t change:
Your Hilton Honors account number. You'll still earn rewards under the same membership number.
Your outstanding balance (if any). It will be transferred to the new account.
Your authorized users. They’ll also receive new card numbers.
Your credit line, AmEx confirmed in an email.
Expiration dates on weekend night rewards earned on the Citi Reserve. You’ll be able to redeem them as you normally would.
How will it affect my credit?
Good news for cardholders — your credit scores likely won't take a hit during the transition.
"American Express will report the account to the credit bureaus using information provided by Citi, and this is not expected to have an impact to the credit report," AmEx said in an email.
This isn't unusual. Issuers must abide by certain credit-scoring conventions, which require them to report acquired accounts this way — minimizing any potential damage to user credit. Because of that:
Issuer changes are usually reported as transfers, not as new accounts, and don't affect the age of your account.
The transferred account usually appears as one account on your credit report, not as two separate accounts.
There are exceptions to that last point. When AmEx Costco cards became Citi Costco cards in 2016, the accounts appeared as no longer being open on cardholders' credit reports for a short time while they were being transferred. This temporarily hurt some cardholders' scores.
What if I already have an AmEx Hilton credit card?
If you have both a Citi Hilton credit card and an AmEx Hilton credit card, and your account is eligible for transfer, you’ll soon have two AmEx Hilton credit cards. Cardholders should call AmEx to discuss options if this is the case, Citi adds.
You might qualify to consolidate your credit line into another American Express product before closing the account. However, you have to meet eligibility requirements, and not all card members do, AmEx notes.
But having other AmEx cards won’t prevent you from receiving an AmEx Hilton in place of your Citi Hilton, the issuer confirms.
“American Express will not be looking at how many existing American Express accounts a Citi Hilton Honors card member has as part of the transfer eligibility requirements,” AmEx said in an email.