Today I received an offer from Amex to upgrade one of my Amex Hilton Ascend cards to the premium Amex Hilton Aspire card. The offer is for 100,000 Hilton Honors points with a spend of $4,000 within 3 months of the upgrade. This is an excellent offer.
UPDATE AS OF 9/20/2018: The excellent Aspire card now has an increased sign-up bonus of 150,000 Hilton Honors points after $4,000 spend within 3 months. You can sign up for the Aspire card and get this offer using our referral link: Sign-Up Link for the Amex Hilton Aspire card
My Amex Hilton Card Upgrade Offer
I currently hold two Amex Hilton Honors Ascend (mid-level) cards – one that was originally an Amex Surpass and was auto-converted to an Ascend card early this year (my “Old” Amex Hilton Ascend), and another that was originally a Citi Hilton Reserve card that was also converted to an Ascend card early this year when Amex took over the prior Citi portfolio of Hilton Honors-branded cards (my “New” Amex Hilton Ascend).
As I’m writing this article (Tuesday, June 5), I have received this upgrade offer on my “New” Ascend card (the one that converted from Citi) but not on my “Old” Ascend (the one that has always been an Amex card).
Today when I logged into my online account for my New Ascend card, I had a notice at the top of my profile that I was eligible for an upgrade to the Aspire card, with an offer of 100,000 Hilton Honors points, plus I would enjoy an Annual Weekend Night Reward every year upon Card renewal. The banner notice invited me to click to learn more.
When I clicked through to “Learn More,” I was provided with more details on the upgrade offer – most importantly, that I would earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $4,000 on the card within 3 months after the upgrade. This is the same as the new-card sign-up bonus for the Amex Hilton Honors Aspire card – but critically better for me as it does not require a new card application (and thus no hard-pull inquiry) and it should not show up as a new account on my credit report.
I was also given the following terms for my upgrade offer and for the new Aspire card if I accepted the offer:
These terms basically spell out the normal benefits of the Amex Hilton Honors Aspire card, including:
- Airline fee credit of $250 per calendar year
- $100 On-Property Coupon at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties – requires a 2-night stay and booking through a specific Hilton portal
- $250 Hilton resort statement credit – applies per cardholder year
- Earning bonus categories of 14x at Hilton properties and 7x for US restaurants, airfare (from airline or on amextravel.com), and car rentals from “major” companies
- Complimentary Hilton Diamond elite status
- Priority Pass – 10 complimentary visits; $27/visit thereafter
- Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate in first year and annually upon renewal thereafter
- Additional Hilton Free Weekend Night Certificate with $60k spend in a calendar year
I also took note of some of the fine-print terms and conditions, such as:
- The $450 annual fee will be prorated according to the cardholder’s anniversary date, and the prorated fee will be charged approximately 45 days after the account is upgraded
- The definition of “Eligible Purchases” for the sign-up bonus includes the now-standard Amex language, that it does “NOT include … purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or other cash equivalents.”
- The terms and conditions also contain Amex’s new standard language that if Amex believes there has been or will be “abuse, misuse, or gaming,” then Amex “may not credit Bonus Points to your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.”
I also was able to get the Upgrade offer to pull up by clicking through from the Amex website page that allows you to check for pre-qualified offers, and then logging in to my online account for my New Ascend card.
Is This a Good Offer?
Yes, absolutely, for anyone who stays at Hilton properties. In my view, the complimentary Diamond status and annual Hilton Free Weekend Night certificate alone justify the $450 annual fee for the card. [Philly and I had a great time using a Free Weekend Night certificate recently at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills!]
In addition, the $250/calendar year airline fee credit is worth close to face value (reports are that certain gift cards trigger the credit), and there are many Hilton-affiliated “resort” properties that qualify for the $250/cardholder year resort statement credit. Frequent Miler has provided a good analysis of the Aspire card benefits, which you can read here.
Will I Accept the Upgrade Offer?
Actually, my answer is, “not right now.” The reason is that one of the benefits of the Ascend card is a Hilton Free Weekend Night certificate after completing $15k of spend in a calendar year. I’ve made a lot of progress toward hitting that threshold on my New Ascend card, and at the moment I’m only $2-3k away from getting to $15k this year. I want to be sure to hit that threshold and get my certificate before I upgrade this card.
If I had the upgrade offer on my Old Ascend card, on which I’ve already hit the $15k spend threshold and received the Free Weekend Night certificate, I would accept it in a heartbeat.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this upgrade offer stays around on my New Ascend card long enough for me to get the Free Weekend Night certificate and then upgrade, or alternatively, that I receive the same upgrade offer on my Old Ascend card.
Have you received an upgrade offer on an Amex Hilton Ascend card? Will you be accepting? Why or Why Not? Let us know in the comments!