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American Express becomes the exclusive Hilton co-brand credit card issuer in 2018. If you currently own either of the Citi Hilton credit cards, your card will be automatically be upgraded to the Amex equivalent in 2018. If you currently own the no annual fee Citi Hilton, should you keep the Amex Hilton Honors credit card after the conversion to Amex?

Will you be keeping your Amex Hilton credit card?

What Do the Amex Hilton Honors Look Like?

Starting January 18, 2018, American Express is launching four Hilton credit cards. Your Citi Hilton HHonors credit card will upgrade to the revamped Hilton Honors Credit Card from American Express after this date.

Amex is pulling out a lot of stops to entice you to keep the Amex Hilton Honors once Citi upgrades your account.

Earn 7x Hilton Honors Points on Hilton Stays

With the Amex Hilton Honors credit card, you will earn 7x Hilton points on all Hilton purchases. Citi only pays 6x points on Hilton stays, so you will earn an extra 100 points for every $100 spent at Hilton.

Earn 5x Points for Gas, Groceries, and Food

The Amex Hilton Honors will award 5x Hilton points for the following U.S.-based purchases:

  • Gas Stations
  • Supermarkets
  • Restaurants

Remember, you will only earn the bonus points for purchases that take place in the United States, otherwise, they will only earn the base rate of 3 points per $1 spent. You will still earn more with the Amex Hilton for all purchases because of the more robust purchase rewards.

Earn 3x on all Regular Spending Instead of 2x Points

Since the Citi Hilton only pays 2 or 3 points for all non-Hilton purchases, you should actually earn more points for each dollar spent because every Amex Hilton purchase will always earn at least 3 points per $1 while the Citi Hilton only guarantees at least 2 points per $1.

Since you can earn between 3-7 Hilton points (instead of 2-6 Hilton points) on each purchase with the Amex Hilton, you can accrue Hilton points a little bit quicker than before.

Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status

This benefit remains unchanged for current owners of the no annual fee Citi and Amex Hilton card owners. By simply owning the Amex Hilton Honors, you will always have Silver Hilton Honors status that lets you enjoy the 4th night free on a 5+ night stay, and a 15% elite status bonus.

Without the Amex Hilton, it takes 4 stays or 10 calendar nights per calendar year to earn Silver status.

By spending $20,000 a year in total card purchase, you Hilton Honors will automatically upgrade to Gold status for the upcoming calendar year. Being a Hilton Gold member lets you enjoy a 25% elite status bonus and a few extra amenity perks. You can also upgrade to Gold status with 20 stays, 40 nights, or earn 75,000 Hilton points each calendar year.

A 500-Point Online Booking Bonus

Amex also currently offer a 500 point bonus when you book a Hilton stay online with your Amex Hilton credit card. Even though you will be using your Hilton Amex to pay for all Hilton stays, this perk is a nice touch compared that rewards cardmember loyalty.

Why You Might Cancel Your Amex Hilton Honors

Understandably some existing Citi Hilton owners will cancel their card in 2018 because they simply do not want an American Express credit card.

If owning an Amex, instead of a Visa or Mastercard, is your primary gripe, remember this is 2018 and not 1998 when significantly fewer merchants accepted American Express. Digital wallets and smartphones didn’t exist 20 years ago, and rewards credit cards were a novelty; times have changed indeed!

In my opinion, if you are going to cancel your Hilton Amex it’s only for two reasons:

  • You don’t like Amex
  • You no longer stay at Hilton properties on a regular basis

Alternatives to the Amex Hilton Honors

If you don’t care for the no-fee Amex Hilton Honors you have three different alternatives based on why you want to cancel your card:

Let’s cover what credit cards you can apply for instead with the three options listed above:

Upgrade to a Better Hilton Honors Credit Card

Amex is relaunching the entire Hilton credit card lineup on January 18, 2018.

  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card (One free reward night after spending $15,000 and up to 12x Hilton Honors points on eligible purchases at Hilton)
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (One free weekend  night each year, up to 14x points on eligible Hilton stays)

The Surpass is like the old Citi Hilton Reserve. If you want a premium travel credit card that offers posh air travel perks yet gives you the opportunity to earn Hilton Honors on every purchase, choose the Aspire instead. With either option, you can also qualify for the Amex welcome offer again.

The information for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Use an Amex Membership Rewards Credit Card

The Platinum Card from American Express gives you the opportunity to earn bonus points on every travel purchase. You can then transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to many airline and hotel travel partners including Hilton.

Since hotel points aren’t always the most valuable travel rewards currency, this additional flexibility can boost your award travel potential. You can still redeem your Amex points for Hilton stays whenever you want and also for flights when you don’t want to pay cash for a plane ticket.

Use a Non-Amex Travel Rewards Card

If you don’t want to own an Amex credit card (even for Hilton Honors points), you can also apply for a non-Amex travel credit card. A top-notch recommendation is the Chase Sapphire Preferred when you want to earn flexible travel rewards that can be transferred to your favorite airline and hotel loyalty programs, including United, Southwest Airlines, Marriott, and IHG (Hilton isn’t a Chase partner).

While you will no longer earn Hilton Honors points with every purchase, you can still use your rewards points to earn free nights and flights for any hotel and airline you want to use.


If you’re pleased with your current Citi Hilton credit card, it’s worth keeping the Amex Hilton Honors credit card. That’s my plan on my Citi Reserve which is a credit card I’ve kept in my wallet for several years even though it has an annual fee.

4 Comments On "Should I Keep the Amex Hilton Honors Credit Card After It Converts from Citi?"
  1. Dan|

    You forgot one other reason for cancelling these two cards. I already have both the Regular no fee Amex and the Surpass Amex. I don’t see any reason to have two of each. Especially if I Amex limits you to 5 .

  2. Dan|

    Was on the don’t keep wagon but I don’t need the Amex slot and they do offer frequent no lifetime language upgrades which don’t count against 5/24. For that reason I e changed my mind

    1. Dan|

      Ps I already have the Amex no fee Hilton so it theoretically should give me 2x upgrade opportunity when I need to top off my hilton acct

  3. BT|

    Yes it is 2018, but to be honest, not once was my Citi Visa turned away, but since moving to my Amex most of my local shops won’t accept Amex and while on vacation 3 times people said “we don’t take Amex”. While the perks increased, the frustration of vendors not accepting it as also increased.
    Visa and MC are accepted everywhere.

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