Hilton Honors™ Ascend Card
The Hilton Honors™ Ascend Credit Card earns Hilton Honors points and is a great choice for frequent Hilton guests. Points can be redeemed for free stays at more than 570 properties in the Hilton portfolio, and the card’s bonus categories for purchases make it simple to accumulate them quickly.
The card comes with a generous sign-up offer and complimentary Gold elite status, as well as the ability to upgrade to Diamond status via card spending. Unfortunately, the card charges foreign transaction fees and isn’t the best choice to use abroad.
Citibank no longer issues co-branded Hilton credit cards, making American Express the sole card issuer for the hotel. The Hilton Honors™ Ascend Card is one of two Hilton Honors credit cards issued by Amex.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the Hilton Honors™ Ascend Card offers and the value of the AMEX Hilton Honors™ points you earn.
The Hilton Honors™ Ascend Credit Card offers a welcome bonus of 75,000 points. To earn the bonus points, cardholders must spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. The points can be redeemed for stays at the following chains: Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Hilton, Curio, DoubleTree, Tapestry Collection, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Tru, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites and Hilton Grand Vacations.
As an Amex credit card, the Hilton Ascend offers cardholders the Entertainment Access benefit. The perk includes access to some ticket pre-sales to concerts and sporting events, as well as to members- only events in selected cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Florida cities, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Texas cities, Philadelphia and Washington.
What You Get
- 75,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months
- Complimentary Gold elite status with Hilton
- 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties
- 6 points per dollar at restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations
- 3 points per dollar for all other purchases
Hilton Honors points do not expire as long as program members maintain account activity at least once every 12 months. Qualifying activity includes staying at Hilton-owned hotels, as well as redeeming and earning points. Earning points with the Hilton rewards credit card every month will guarantee that your points do not expire.
What is the value of the Hilton Honors™ Points?
The Hilton Honors program recently removed award charts and hotel categories and introduced dynamic pricing, which means that award room rates are tied to the cash price on any given day. When the room price is low, the number of points needed to book it is also lower, so there’s a possibility to maximize the sign-up bonus by traveling in the off-season.
Hilton Honors members can also use the Points & Money option to pay for any room at any hotel on any date. That allows guests to use a combination of Hilton Honors points and cash to pay for a stay. Points & Money redemptions start at 5,000 points and, depending on the season and location, the average per- point value hovers around 0.4 to 0.7 cents.
What is CPP and How is it Calculated?
Cents Per Point (CPP) is a way to measure the value of points. It tells you how many cents you get for each point you redeem by dividing the cash price of the hotel room by the number of points of an equivalent award stay costs. This can be a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the stay in both cash and points fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPP:
The Best Ways to Redeem Hilton Honors™ Points
The best way to redeem Hilton Honors points is, of course, by booking an award stay. Hilton offers its elite guests the option to book five award nights for the price of four. Silver, Gold and Diamond Elite members can utilize the 5th Night Free promo and save points on longer stays.
Additionally, Hilton Honors now allows program members to pool points with up to 10 other family members or friends into one account at no additional cost, which means members can combine all their points and redeem them for a longer stay. It is beneficial to pool points into the account of the member with the highest status.
Hilton Garden InnAustin NW/Arboretum, TX · SuitePoints price40,000pointsDollars price/Night$224
Hampton Inn & SuitesChicago/Aurora, IL · SuitePoints price26,000pointsDollars price/Night$126
DoubleTree by Hilton HotelFlagstaff, AZ · SuitePoints price39,000pointsDollars price/Night$155
Hilton Garden InnBali Ngurah Rai Airport, Indonesia · SuitePoints price5,000pointsDollars price/Night$57
DoubleTree by Hilton HotelQinghai - Golmud, China · SuitePoints price16,000pointsDollars price/Night$72
Hilton DublinIreland · SuitePoints price50,000pointsDollars price/Night$539
Other ways you can redeem points
Hotel Stays14 partners14 part.
It’s possible to upgrade an existing reservation to a better room by using points. After the reservation is confirmed, simply call Hilton or use your Honors points to upgrade online.
While it is possible to transfer Hilton points to a variety of airline partners, the exchange rates are very poor and you’re better off using points for hotel stays. The rate for United, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines, for example, is 10 Hilton points for every mile.
Car Rental4 partners4 part.
Hilton Honors members can use their points to reserve a vehicle with car rental partners Alamo, Enterprise, National and Sixt, but the rates are less than favorable.
Gift Cards14 partners14 part.
Hilton Honors points can be used toward shopping with Hilton’s merchants, such as Nike, Samsung and Amazon, but again, this isn’t where the best value lies.
Everyday Earnings with Hilton Honors™ Ascend Card
The American Express Hilton Ascend card earns 12 Hilton Honors points per dollar spent directly with Hilton Hotels & Resorts; six points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations; and three points per dollar spent in all other categories.
The Amex Ascend card charges foreign transaction fees, which means using it abroad or paying for international Hilton stays is not the best use of the card. Point multipliers in bonus categories are quite lucrative, but given the lower value of Hilton Honors points, the earnings on everyday spending aren’t that strong.
- Hilton purchases
- All Other Purchases
No Foreign Transaction Fee
The Hilton card charges no fee for transactions made outside the United States.
Get exclusive access to ticket presales and card member-only events, including Broadway shows, concerts and sporting events.
Earn Elite Status Fast
The Amex Hilton Ascend card comes with automatic Gold elite status. Gold members earn 25 percent more base points on paid stays, as well as room discounts, digital check-in, complimentary in-room Internet access, express checkout, late checkout when available, two complimentary water bottles and a free second guest at all-inclusive properties. Perhaps the most valuable elite perk is getting five award nights for the price of four.
Additionally, Hilton guests can spend their way up to Diamond Elite status by spending at least $40,000 on the Ascend card in a year. Please allow 10 to 12 weeks from meeting the spending threshold for the status to be upgraded.
- Earn instant Gold status in the Hilton Honors program
- Spend $40,000 on your card in a year and earn Diamond status
Fees: the cost of Having Hilton Honors™ Ascend Card
Holding the Hilton Ascend Credit Card costs $95 per year, and the fee is not waived the first year. Depending on how you plan to redeem the points, your calculations may vary. Let’s say you manage to get 1.5 cents per point out of every redemption. In this case, you’d have to spend at least $1,667 on the card to break even with the fee.
Why $1,667? Because every dollar earns three points or more, and you should earn at least 5,001 points to cover the cost of the card every year. If your personal redemption values are lower, you’d have to spend more to break even.
- Annual Fee
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- Late Payment Fee
Up to $38
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $3,299 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the Hilton Honors™ Ascend Credit Card. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the Hilton Honors Ascend Card
The Hilton Honors Ascend card from American Express is a good choice for guests and business travelers who like to frequent Hilton properties. Let’s take a look at the card’s top five perks.
- Great Earning Potential: You’ll earn bonus points on every purchase you make. All spending earns between 3 and 12 Hilton Honors points — a generous earning structure not offered by many rewards cards.
- Big Sign-Up Bonus: You earn 75,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Taking advantage of low-season rates in less popular destinations can pay off in big ways.
- Complimentary Gold Status: Hilton Gold is a mid-tier elite status, which offers useful benefits, including bonus earning on paid stays, late checkout and free water bottles.
- Redemption options: Points can be redeemed for free stays at more than 570 properties in the Hilton portfolio, and the card’s bonus categories for purchases make it simple to accumulate them quickly.
- Amex Benefits: Holding the Hilton Honors Ascend card qualifies you for many American Express benefits, such as Entertainment Access, ShopRunner membership and travel accident insurance.
Should You Get the Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card?
I recommend the Amex Hilton Ascend card to anyone who stays at Hilton properties often and can benefit from elite status. This is a great card with high earning potential for a true road warrior who prefers the Hilton brand.
You’ll receive 75,000 Hilton Honors points just for signing-up for the card and meeting the minimum- spending requirements. After that, earning points should be a breeze if you use the card to pay for all purchases.
The downside of the Hilton Ascend Card is that it charges foreign transaction fees, which is why I recommend carrying multiple credit cards in your wallet when traveling abroad.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- Flexible pricing gives Hilton Honors members a chance to redeem a combination of cash and points for all types of rooms, be it standard rooms or suites. Points & Money rates start at 5,000 Hilton Honors points and go up in increments of 1,000 points.Members can use any combination of points and money to book a stay. Since the option to combine currencies to pay for rooms has become available, award costs seem to directly correlate with cash costs. Your results may vary depending on season and property location, but the average redemption value of Points & Money hovers around 0.4 to 0.7 cents per point.
- The 5th Night Free perk lets Hilton Honors elite members book every fifth night for free after booking four award nights. Silver, Gold and Diamond Elite members receive every fifth night free in a standard room, for a maximum of four free nights on a 20-night stay.For the perk to apply, award nights have to be booked consecutively, but the number of annual stays is unlimited. The value of free nights is based on the average nightly rate of the entire stay. For example, it’s possible to book a five-night stay for 20,000 Hilton Honors points total — 5,000 points per night plus a free night. A standard room is defined by each hotel and subject to availability.
- You probably know that American Express sign-up offers are issued once per lifetime. In other words, having received a bonus on a card in the past prevents you from receiving another bonus on the same card again.If you haven’t applied and been approved for the Hilton Surpass card before, you will qualify for the welcome offer. If you have held other co-branded Hilton credit cards in the past, such as the Hilton Honors™ Card or either of the co-branded Hilton Citi cards, it doesn’t prevent you from being eligible for the bonus points on the Surpass card because they’re considered different products.
Besides the Hilton Ascend card, the hotel chain has a few more co-branded rewards credit cards on the market: the standard Hilton Honors card from American Express, the Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature card and the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve card. Citi no longer issues the above-mentioned co-branded Hilton cards, and the applications are not open to new card members.
Other Hilton Honors cards
|Hilton Honors™ Card|
|Sign-up bonus||50,000 points||75,000 points|
|APR On Purchases||16.99% to 25.99% Variable±||16.99% to 25.99% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$230||$230|
The standard Hilton Honors card is the second co-branded credit card issued by Amex. It offers a lower welcome bonus of 50,000 points, but charges no annual fees. The card comes with complimentary Silver Elite status, and its earning potential isn’t as rewarding.
With the standard Hilton card, you’ll get seven points per dollar spent directly with Hilton Hotels & Resorts; five points per dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations; and three points per dollar for all other purchases. This card is a better fit for a casual Hilton guest who doesn’t travel often, yet wants accumulate free stays by spending on the card year after year.
Compare the Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card to Other Cards
The Ascend Hilton card is a great choice if you’re looking for a rewarding hotel card that offers mid-tier elite status, but there are other hotel cards that offer both rewards and status. Check out some options below.
The Hyatt credit card from Chase offers new members 40,000 points as a welcome bonus, plus another 5,000 points for adding an authorized user within three months. The card waives foreign transaction fees, offers one free anniversary night upon membership renewal and charges an annual fee of $75. With this card, you’re guaranteed to earn at least one free night every year, plus it comes with Discoverist status, the World of Hyatt program’s low-end elite tier.
The Ritz-Carlton credit card from Chase offers two complimentary nights at Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotels as a welcome bonus. This premium hotel rewards card comes with an annual fee of $450, but offers card members an annual travel credit of $300. This card is great for someone who frequents the Ritz and travels abroad.
The Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express offers new members 25,000 Starpoints that can be redeemed toward free stays at Starwood and Marriott hotels or flights on about 30 airline partners. The Starwood Preferred Guest card charges an annual fee of $95 after introductory year, but it has very flexible rewards that offer card members quite a bit of value. It’s possible to earn Gold status with this card by spending $40,000 on it annually.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the Hilton Honors Ascend card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this Amex card.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 16.99% to 25.99% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 25 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- The length of your warranty can be matched for up to 1 additional year when you use your card for eligible purchases that come with an original U.S. manufacturer's warranty of 5 years or less.
- Purchase Protection:
- When you use your card for eligible purchases, theft and accidental damage are covered for 90 days and $1,000.
- Return Protection:
- If you try to return an eligible item purchased with your card within 90 days and the merchant won't take it back, you may receive a refund.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 26.49% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
American Express provides its card members with all the security features they might expect. The Hilton Ascend card comes with chip technology, account alerts, a mobile app and access to a FICO score to help protect customers against unauthorized transactions and identity theft.
- Account alerts:
- Set up alerts to be notified when large transactions occur, if there’s an unauthorized withdrawal and when your bill’s due.
- Banking On the Go:
- Track your account with the mobile app.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip enabled terminals.
- Credit Score Reports:
- Monitor your credit history for unusual activity, including recently opened accounts and inquiries made on your history.
Amex cards are compatible with NFC (near-field communication) payment options, such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. The feature is easy to set up, safe to use and is convenient as more and more stores allow customers to pay via mobile wallet apps. It’s possible to use a mobile wallet in stores and online at participating merchants.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
American Express Travel Benefits
- Baggage Insurance Plan:
- Card members receive secondary coverage for their checked and carry- on luggage. It’s possible to get a reimbursement of up to $500 per passenger for a lost checked bag and up to $1,250 for a carry-on bag when the entire fare is purchased with the Hilton Ascend card.
- Roadside Assistance:
- Premium roadside assistance covers cardholders up to four times per year when they're in their car and need towing, winching, lockout service, battery jump, flat tire change or fuel delivery. Coverage is available in the United States, District of Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- The benefit covers unexpected events, bodily injuries and loss of life when using a common carrier to travel. To be covered, card members must purchase the entire fare with the Hilton Ascend card. The plan pays up to $50,000 for loss of one hand or one foot or sight in one eye and up to $100,000 for loss of life or both hands, feet or eyes.