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Starting in January 2018, AMEX will become the sole issuer of Hilton credit cards. If you have a Citi Hilton card, it will be automatically converted to an AMEX Hilton card. And this could affect your plans of getting that next big bonus. 🙁
Million Mile Secret Agent Dan commented:
Should we close our Citi Hilton cards? Will allowing them to convert to the new AMEX Hilton Honors cards prevent me from getting a new card with the welcome bonus?
Lots of folks have the same question, Dan. So thanks for asking! Let’s take a look at how this change will affect your opportunity to get the welcome bonuses on the new AMEX Hilton cards. But first, let’s review the transition Dan is asking about.
No More Citi Hilton Cards
Hilton is ending their relationship with Citi. So in January 2018, all Citi Hilton cards (already no longer available to new applicants) will be converted to AMEX Hilton cards. If you don’t cancel your Citi cards before then, they will convert as follows:
- Citi Hilton Honors card will become AMEX Hilton Honors card
- Citi Hilton Reserve card will become AMEX Hilton Honors Ascend card
As part of this process, the AMEX Hilton cards will get some updates, like no foreign transaction fees! Plus, AMEX
will introduce 2 brand new Hilton cards!
AMEX only lets you get the welcome bonus on each card once per lifetime. So having 2 new credit cards will give folks who have already had the AMEX Hilton cards before a shot to earn more welcome bonuses.
Should You Close Your Citi Card or Let It Convert?
If you have never had an AMEX Hilton card and you want to earn a future Hilton welcome bonus, then you could consider canceling your Citi Hilton cards. Because AMEX restricts you from earning a welcome bonus if you have or have ever had the card before.
It doesn’t matter if you never earned a welcome bonus on the card. Once you’ve had an AMEX card, you can NOT earn that bonus again. The only exception is if you are lucky enough to receive a targeted welcome bonus or upgrade offer.
But if you already earned the bonus on the same AMEX Hilton card before, you might want to let your account stay open, especially if you aren’t paying an annual fee. Because closing it will affect the overall age of your accounts on your credit report. And can cause your score to drop.
It is possible that AMEX will consider the AMEX Hilton Honors Ascend or the updated AMEX Hilton Honors cards to be new credit cards. Because they are making significant changes to both of them. In that case, it might be better to close your Citi Hilton cards. Because if they are considered new cards, you could earn the bonus again.
I reached out to American Express about this. I was told that once the new AMEX card applications and welcome bonuses are finalized they will update us on whether or not the re-vamped Hilton cards are considered new products. So right now, we don’t know.
Unless the annual fee is due on your Citi Hilton cards, I recommend waiting until closer to January 2018, to decide on whether to keep it or not. Just in case we get new information! We’ll have a post as soon as we know, so keep an eye out.
So if you want to earn the welcome bonus on the AMEX Hilton cards in the future, you might consider canceling your Citi Hilton cards before January 2018. Because you can NOT earn a welcome bonus on an AMEX card you have or have ever had before.
And we don’t know if AMEX will consider the Hilton cards they are making changes to new cards. But we’ll update you when we do!