Upgrading to the Hilton Ascend card wasn’t something I was planning on doing, but I couldn’t pass up the huge bonus.
As I wrote about in my points and miles goals for 2019, I currently hold the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors card. I got this card years ago when they were running an 80,000 bonus offer. Because it had no annual fee, I figured I could just leave it open, never spend on it, and it would help my credit.
There are currently three personal Hilton Honors cards:
Hilton Honors card ($0 annual fee)
Hilton Honors Ascend card ($95 annual fee)
Hilton Honors Aspire card ($450 annual fee)
Well, unexpectedly, I received an email from Hilton with the following offer: Upgrade to the Hilton Ascend card and receive 150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3,000 in three months.
The card does carry a $95 annual fee, but that’s a fat chunk of points and I don’t plan on keeping this fee card around for more than a year.
Here’s a direct link to the upgrade offer. It’s available until 7/16/2019. If you don’t make the deadline or aren’t upgrading, you can use my referral link to get the card. For new cardholders, it has 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Not as great, but still a solid bonus for this card!
Hilton Honors Ascend Card
Here are the perks to the Hilton Ascend card.
12X Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar spent with Hilton.
6X Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
3X Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar on all other purchases.
Earn a free weekend night after spending $15,000 in a calendar year on your card.
Earn 500 Hilton Honors bonus points when you use your card to both book online and pay for your Hilton stay.
A limited Priority Pass Lounge Membership which includes 10 free visits per cardmember year.
Hilton Gold Status (with the ability to upgrade to Diamond status with $40,000 in spend during the calendar year)
No foreign transaction fees
Reasons to upgrade to the Hilton Ascend Card
1. I encourage everyone to have a hotel credit card, but that’s only for cards that carry free night benefits. My Hilton Honors card did not come with a free annual night, and this one doesn’t either. But, as I mentioned, I’m essentially paying .0006 per point if you divide $95 (the annual fee) by the sign-up bonus of 150,000.
2. I have a wedding coming up (next week, actually!) and one of our wedding hotels is a Hampton Inn & Suites. We are hosting a welcome happy hour for many of our out of town family at the hotel bar (which will code as Hilton). With the Hilton Honors card, I would earn 7 points per dollar at Hiltons. However, with the Ascend card, I will earn 12 points per dollar. Not a ton, but, unfortunately, when you’re talking about a bar tab at a hotel bar, it adds up.
3. Because I’m going to have more than 150,000 Hilton Honors points, I could potentially use them for a longer stay at a property. With Silver, Gold or Diamond status, Hilton members get a fifth night free on reward stays of five consecutive nights. This means that if I redeem points for four nights, I’ll get a free fifth night to cap off my stay.
What can you book for 150,000 Hilton Points?
A lot. Too many, to be honest. But here are just a few of them.
Hilton doesn’t have a set awards chart, but they have a useful tool that lets travelers sort based on the numbers of points available and location. The ranges are very large.
For example, Whistler in the winter is going to be closer to 80,000 points than 27,000 points.
Harbor Club St. Lucia, Curio Collection by Hilton (mix: 39,000 | max: 80,000)
Hilton Times Square (min: 35,000 | max: 80,000)
DoubleTree by Hilton Vail (min: 44,000 | max: 80,000)
Conrad Chicago (min: 40,000 | max: 80,000)
Thankfully, the minimum spend for upgrading to the Hilton Ascend card was easy to reach thanks to (too many) wedding expenses. While I didn’t plan to get this card, I think it’s a steal to get 80,000 Hilton Honors points for basically $95.
If I were to redeem these points for two nights at a 40,000-point hotel (insert some redemptions), I would be getting a hotel room for $50/night. That’s not bad at all. Hilton isn’t my favorite program by any means but this was too good of a value to pass up.