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Hilton Credit Card Changes
Earlier today, Hilton announced changes to the Hilton Aspire and Surpass cards. These changes have long been rumored, so this didn’t surprise me too much. But, for my personal situation, I am not a fan of the changes. Read on to discover the Hilton credit card changes, as well as what my thoughts are on this.
Hilton Aspire Card Changes
As of earlier today, Hilton announced a couple of changes to the Aspire Card. The benefits that are being dropped are as follows:
- It is losing Priority Pass (lounge access) on 2/1/24
- It is losing the $250 airline credit
- There is no longer a $250 resort credit
However, it is gaining the following benefits:
- A $200 Semi-annual Hilton resort credit (for a total of $400 annually)
- A $50 flight credit per quarter (For a total of $200 a year)
- An additional free night cert that is earned at $30,000 in spend (in addition to a $60,000 free night cert).
- A $189 Clear statement credit per year
- National Emerald Club Executive status
- Cell Phone Protection
The point earning categories remain the same, and the once annual free night certificate as well as Diamond status also stay the same. But, the annual fee is also increasing from $450 to $550.
Hilton Surpass Card Changes
The Hilton Surpass Card also has changes to their credit card. The annual fee has changed from $95 to $155, and Gold status is now included for having the credit card. Furthermore, there is now a $50 Hilton statement (not resort credit) per quarter. However, the 10 Priority Pass visits per year benefit is now being dropped. National Emerald Club Executive Status is also being added. In addition, the card also earns 4x on online retail purchases.
Are These Changes Good or Bad?
Overall, I do not like the changes to either credit card. My mom is a Hilton Aspire cardholder, and I guess I should’ve known that the way the card is now is too good to be true. This is my parent’s only Priority Pass card, so that is definitely a major loss.
The potential positive of the changes is the $200 airline fee credit is that it can now officially be used toward airfare. But, for me, buying United TravelBank credits once per year was also pretty nice, and we now lose out on $50 of that.
The Hilton Resort Credit is also now a bit more annoying to use, because although it is $400 instead of $250, having to use it twice a year when it is already hard to use once is also quite annoying.
Overall, if you can make use of the $50 per quarter flight credit, the $200 semi-annual resort credit, and the free night cert, this is definitely an excellent card. The $200 flight credit can be valued at its full face value, and I think you could definitely value the free night cert at $500. So that alone, would be a net positive. Furthermore, Diamond status, particularly internationally in the Middle East and Asia is still super useful. But regardless, these benefits do require more keeping track of and are generally harder to use, which brings me to my next point.
If you have a Hilton Surpass card, these benefits are a negative too. Getting Gold status for $155 is good, but besides that, the card is only good if you stay at Hiltons 3 out of 4 quarters. Also, if you don’t travel a lot, then this is a great option if you want Priority Pass access without spending $400+ a year. So in most cases, the Surpass is not as good of a credit card either.
Why were these changes made?
One reason: breakage. The Clear statement credit, National Elite Status, and cell phone protection are all benefits that cost Amex very little yet they can get consumers to think they are getting good value from it. Most consumers won’t remember, and/or not use the airline credit quarterly, the Clear credit, the cell phone credit, or the resort credit twice a year. In turn, this means that Amex will be getting the annual fee but consumers won’t be getting the card’s full potential.
Will I keep this card?
Maybe. The airline and resort credits can still be very useful, and the Diamond status is also good. Diamond status is not worth much domestically, but it is great in countries such as Thailand, Korea, etc. Losing Priority Pass on a $550 credit card is a minus, so I would need to find an alternative for that as well. I think I am going to try to get a retention offer if possible, but if not, then it might or might not be worth it to keep this card.
Hilton Credit Card Changes – Final Thoughts
For some people, I think the changes on the Aspire card might be good, but the changes are pretty terrible on the Surpass card regardless. If you can make it work for you, then the Aspire card benefits can still pay you. So overall, these benefits are not an improvement in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on the today’s changes on the Hilton credit cards? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!