Some people, including myself, are seeing a 75k offer for upgrading their no-annual fee Amex Hilton Honors card to the $95 annual fee Ascend card (aka Surpass refresh). Importantly, our offers lack the “once in a lifetime” language, so we should be able to get the bonus even if we’ve had the Surpass card before. You’ll want to make sure this is the case with your offer.
There are two ways to see if you have the offer:
- Login to your Amex account, then go to the official Ascend card page. If you qualify, you will see the above offer.
- Login to your Amex account (use the new GUI), click on your no-fee Hilton card. If you qualify, you will see the upgrade offer in a box just below the top menu. The link goes to #1.
Important: Carefully read the terms & conditions (T&C) of your offer. Make sure it doesn’t contain the verbiage “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product” or similar verbiage.
Note that annual fee has increased to $95 (not waived 1st yr), while minimum spend went down to $2,000 in 3 months. A family member upgraded their no-fee Hilton card to Surpass in December and received the 75k bonus. It’s worth mentioning at least one member of Saverocity forums didn’t from an earlier version, though that’s the only negative account I’m aware of and there are many positive data points about getting the bonus as advertised.
There’s surprisingly little data point on the million dollar question of: can you get the signup (not upgrade) bonus on Ascend if you’ve had Surpass before? The verdict seems to be NO but I’ve only seen a total of one data point in Frequent Miler’s comments and Flyertalk (the same person posted on both). But basically, if you’ve had Surpass before, this kind of upgrade offer is your best bet. If you haven’t had Surpass before, the current standard signup bonus is 100k after $3k spend, which is better.
I’m actually not sure I’ll go for this upgrade. I’m sitting on a lot of Hilton points without definitive use; the annual fee has increased; and some MS avenues no longer count towards minimum spend. While Hilton does have some low “category” sweet spots, SPG and Marriott have way more (those lists are coming, I promise), while Hyatt gives me consistent high value, so most of my redemptions are going to those programs. Hilton points are worth about 0.5 cents per point on average (though I get >=0.75 CPP with the low category sweet spots), so you’re paying $x to acquire ~$375 worth of points. Your exact $x depends on your position in the no-fee card membership year cycle and your cost of meeting minimum spend. Amex prorates upgraded annual fee based on how much of your current membership year is left, so if you are 10 months into your no-fee card membership year, you’d only pay ~$16 for the 2 months left, but you’ll be charged the full $95 in ~2 months. On the other hand, if you just entered a new cycle of the membership year, then you’d be charged near the full $95 annual fee.
Are you targeted for the upgrade, and will you go for it?