American Express Hilton Card Upgrade Offers and Changes to Hilton Cards

Amex Hilton Ascend -> Amex Hilton Surpass

Starting on July 18, the Amex Hilton Ascend card is going to be renamed to the Amex Hilton Surpass credit card. I’m guessing that Amex/Hilton realized having multiple cards start with the same letter can get confusing (Ascend, Aspire).

Amex Hilton Upgrade Offers

American Express recently sent out upgrade links to Hilton card members to upgrade their cards to the next tier. Should you take the upgrade offer?

Request an upgrade to the next tier using the respective links below:

The upgrade offers are scheduled to end on July 16, 2019, however, it’s not unusual for offers to be extended / pulled.

When you upgrade the card, you’ll also be charged the respective higher annual fee in the next billing statement.

  • Ascend/Surpass = $95*

  • Aspire = $450

    * you generally get a pro-rated refund of the annual fee paid on the current card (i.e., $95 / months remaining)

Value of Upgrade Offers

Each upgrade offer has a minimum spend requirement to earn the bonus.

  • Hilton Honors (no annual fee) => Ascend/Surpass
    150k Hilton Honors points for $3,000 min spend within 3 months

  • Ascend/Surpass => Aspire
    150k Hilton Honors points for $4,000 min spend within 3 months

The value of the Hilton Honors points varies on where you plan to redeem them. A conservative value would be 0.6 cents per point (CPP), and an aggressive value would be 0.8 CPP.


  • Conservative: 150k * 0.6 CPP = $900 in value

  • Aggressive: 150k * 0.8 CPP = $1,200 in value

    1) Hilton => Ascend
    Conservative = $900 / $3,000 = 30% return on spend (ROS)
    Aggressive = $1,200 / $3,000 = 40% ROS

    1) Hilton => Ascend
    Conservative = $900 / $4,000 = 22.5% ROS
    Aggressive = $1,200 / $4,000 = 30% ROS

Hilton Upgrade Strategy

American Express has a once in a lifetime bonus rule, so the order in which you apply for cards and upgrade them matters.

HAVE: Hilton Honors (no annual fee)
Strategy: Apply Ascend THEN upgrade Hilton

HAVE: Ascend
Strategy: Apply Aspire THEN upgrade Ascend

Takeaway: Don’t burn a welcome offer for no reason.

Watch the video below to learn more about the optimal strategy for upgrading/downgrading cards.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

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