05 Nov Amex Hilton Aspire – Is Anyone Diamond if Everyone is Diamond?
American Express recently announced a revamp to their existing Hilton co-branded credit card line-up.
It’s out with the old:
American Express Hilton Card
American Express Hilton Surpass Card (HURRY before it disappears forever – Amex is offering a best ever limited time 125k point offer!)
And in with the new!
American Express Hilton Card (with no foreign transaction fees)
American Express Hilton Ascend Card (Surpass – same same, but different)
American Express Hilton Honors Business Card (Ascend Business version)
American Express Hilton Honors Aspire (New premium card offering)
If you are looking for a full breakdown of each card and it’s benefits I suggest heading over to Miles to Memories… but I really just want to draw your attention to one card and one benefit in particular…
The American Express Hilton Honors Aspire featuring Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
The Aspire is by far the most interesting of all the news recently shared by Hilton and it is the only card that provides any reason for excitement.
With the Aspire and its $450 annual fee, you will earn Hilton Honors points at the following rates:
14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals, and at U.S. restaurants
3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points everywhere else
And you will receive the following cardholder benefits:
A weekend night at any Hilton hotel/resort upon account opening
$250 incidental airline fee statement credit
$250 Hilton resort statement credit
Priority Pass membership
Another weekend night at any hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $60,000 within a calendar year
$100 credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts
And most notably…
Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
Is Anyone Diamond if Everyone is Diamond?
I currently hold Diamond status. Like every airline or hotel status that I have ever held, this was given via status match/challenge, not earned with traditional travel.
I love the idea that I can continue to enjoy Hilton Diamond benefits with a simple credit application and $450 fee (down to $200 when netted against the airline incidental fee statement credit).
That said, I can’t help but wonder what this may do to Diamond status benefits as a whole?
I also can’t help but wonder why anyone in their right mind would attempt to earn diamond status the old fashioned way – through 30 stays or 60 nights per year! (Even without the new Aspire card offering I can’t imagine why anyone would earn Diamond status the old fashion way, given the Hilton Status Match, and Hilton Status Challenge offerings…)
Can Hilton really expect to keep up with all the traditional Diamond members PLUS all of the new Aspire Diamond members? Will there be any differentiation between those that spend thousands each year at Hilton properties versus those of us who pay a $450 annual fee?
Scott at Travel Codex asked a similar question directly of Hilton’s SVP of Customer Engagement, Loyalty, and Partnerships. His response? Pretty much that Hilton can afford to give elite status to anyone that we want, whether they stay 60 nights a year or sign-up for a single Amex co-branded credit card.
I am not so sure. Is anyone Diamond if everyone is Diamond?
I expect that this Hilton Diamond as we know it today will not be the Hilton Diamond that new Aspire cardholders will enjoy. Whether it be through differentiation of Diamond status (Diamond light? Cubic zirconia?), or just an overall devaluation of the program and the benefits offered, I just cannot imagine a Hilton world with such easy access to top tier status and thereby sooooo many elite guests.
I don’t stay at Hilton properties solely because I have Diamond status and want to enjoy the Diamond benefits. The free breakfast offering does factor into the equation, but it is just one small factor in a larger decision making process.
While it’s nice to have, Diamond status alone is not enough to incentivize me to stay any more at Hilton branded properties.
That said, when I do stay at Hilton properties, Diamond status has come in mighty handy (especially on the breakfast front) and it is something that I am more than willing to pay $200 ($450 annual fee less $250 airline fee credit) per year to keep.
That is, if the current version of Hilton Diamond remains post-Aspire flood!
Is anyone Diamond if everyone is Diamond?
Will you be applying for the Aspire or any of the other new Hilton card offerings? Any current Diamond’s upset about this new card benefit!?