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AmEx-Hilton to Launch Premium Aspire Card With Sky-High Rewards

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American Express and Hilton are launching two new Hilton Honors credit cards early next year, including a premium card that will offer a whopping 14 Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar spent at eligible Hilton properties worldwide.

The new Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card will carry an annual fee of $450 but will come with a raft of perks, including multiple travel credits, automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status and unlimited access to Priority Pass airport lounges. It will debut on Jan. 18, 2018, along with the Hilton Honors American Express Business card, aimed at small-business owners.

Two existing AmEx/Hilton cards will also see updates at that time: the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express; and the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express, which will be rebranded as the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend card. Both cards will eliminate foreign transaction fees. 

» MORE: Hilton splits with Citi, goes exclusive with AmEx

Card features

All four cards are linked to the Hilton Honors loyalty program, which offers the chance to earn more rewards. Here’s a closer look:

Credit card features Hilton Honors AmExHilton Honors AmEx AscendHilton Honors AmEx Business Hilton Honors AmEx Aspire
Annual fee$0$95$95$450
Foreign transaction feesNoneNoneNoneNone
Complimentary Hilton Honors tiersHilton Honors Silver status; earn Gold status after spending $20,000 in a calendar yearHilton Honors Gold status; earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar yearHilton Honors Gold status; earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year Hilton Honors Diamond status
Weekend Night Rewards at hotels or resorts in the Hilton portfolioNoneOne Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar yearOne Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar year; a second Weekend Night Reward for spending $60,000 in a calendar yearOne Weekend Night Reward every year; a second Weekend Night Reward for spending $60,000 in a calendar year
Airport lounge accessNone10 free Priority Pass lounge passes per anniversary year10 free Priority Pass lounge passes per anniversary yearUnlimited Priority Pass lounge passes

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire

Designed for frequent travelers, this new card will have an annual fee of $450 to go with its high rewards rates. It also offers Hilton Honors Diamond status. Cardholders can expect:

  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide. NerdWallet values Hilton Honors points at an average of 0.5 cents apiece.
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, for purchases at U.S. restaurants and for car rentals booked directly from select companies
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
  • Up to $250 a year in credit for airline incidentals
  • Up to $250 a year in credit at Hilton resorts

Hilton Honors American Express Business

This new card carries an annual fee of $95 and provides access to the American Express OPEN platform for small-business owners, which offers discounts, bonus rewards and other membership benefits. Cardholders will also get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status. Cardholders will earn:

  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping purchases and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service producers
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com and car rentals booked directly from select companies
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases

Other changes

Applications for the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express and Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express are still open. Applicants approved for these cards will receive an automatic upgrade to the new benefits in January 2018. Both cards currently charge a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% per transaction, but those fees will be eliminated with the upgrades. Their rewards structures will remain the same.

The Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express has a $75 annual fee, but once it becomes the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend card, the fee will increase to $95. Currently, the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express waives the annual Priority Pass membership fee but cardholders still have to pay $27 for every Priority Pass lounge visit. The new card will offer 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge passes per anniversary year. Cardholders will also have the chance to earn one free weekend night when they use the card for $15,000 in purchases in a calendar year.

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