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Should You Cancel Your Citi Hilton Credit Cards Before January 2018?

Last week, American Express announced their new Hilton credit card line-up. In addition to introducing two new credit cards (the Aspire and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card), existing Citi Hilton credit cards would be transferred to American Express in January 30, 2018. The new card line-up is great and I’m sure the sign-up bonuses (of which there has been no mention so far) will make churners very happy. A lot of existing Citi Hilton credit cardholders are wondering whether their transferred accounts will make them ineligible for new sign-up bonuses. Is it best to cancel an existing Citi Hilton credit card account and reapply for the Amex version later?

Citi Hilton Honors Cards Converting to American Express on January 30, 2018

Citi Hilton Honors Cards are converting to American Express on January 30, 2018

My hunch is that if your Citi Hilton cards convert to the new Hilton American Express cards, you won’t be eligible for their sign-up bonuses. As a good-will gesture it would be nice if American Express made the sign-up bonus available to transferred accounts. However, there’s nothing to suggest that will happen. So if you become an official Amex Hilton cardholder on January 30, 2018, will you be eligible for a sign-up bonus if you cancel and reapply for the card? My guess is no.

I no longer have a Citi Hilton Honors Reserve, but my dad still does. My plan is to put that card to good use while I still can (i.e. manufacture spend a little more aggressively than usual), secure Diamond status, and then cancel before January 30, 2018. When the new Amex Hilton cards come out, I’ll apply for the Hilton Honors Aspire Card and probably keep that for a while. It’s great for the instant Diamond status and annual free night, and a slew of other travel perks.

Meanwhile, my dad will have his Diamond status secured and if the new card sign-up bonuses are big enough, I might get him one too. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of Hilton points from the new Aspire card, and since I’ll have Diamond status without having to spend $40,000, I probably won’t put much MS on that card. It’s really ideal because I’ll have all the perks I need without risking a financial review/card shut-down.

Some of you might wonder if it’s even worth investing in Hilton Honors. My answer is absolutely! Hilton is actually one of the best hotel rewards programs for earning free nights via paid stays as well as via credit card spending. While I often find it a better deal to pay for stays rather than redeem points, that’s how it is with most hotel programs. And I’m fine with saving points for aspirational stays and paying for cheap ones. Between Hilton’s generous credit card category bonuses, 2x bonus point promos, and 5th night free benefit, it often makes more sense to redeem points for longer stays at higher rates and pay for cheaper stays. 

Now that we’ve gone sufficiently off-course, let’s bring it back to the main point. Should you cancel your Citi Hilton card before January 30, 2018? Unless this happens to be one of your oldest accounts, I would cancel the Citi card and re-apply for the Amex version when that application goes live. That way, you’re guaranteed a sign-up bonus.

That being said, I don’t know if the age of your Citi account resets during the transfer. If it doesn’t, then it’s better to keep Citi Hilton accounts open until the Amex transfer completes. But if it simply shows up as a new account in your credit history, then you’ll have possibly given up a lucrative sign-up bonus. And lost one of your oldest accounts. So take these factors into consideration when deciding whether to keep or cancel your Citi Hilton card before the Amex transfer. It’s tough to make a decision when there’s still so much up in the air. We have over two months left and hopefully more information will trickle in to help you all make informed decisions.

Do you plan on keeping your Citi Hilton credit cards to ensure you qualify for an Amex sign-up bonus? Or will you simply let your accounts transfer? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Ariana Arghandewal

17 Comments

  1. I agree that if one were to let their Citi card account transfer to a new AmEx account, one wouldn’t be eligible to then earn a sign-up bonus bonus for that new AmEx card type. However, technically, a sign-up bonus for the new AmEx card account would never have been earned, so arguably one would/should not be subject to the ‘once a lifetime’ sign-up bonus rule. That said, if one were to then cancel the transferred account, and wait whatever amount of time AmEx requires before re-applying for the same card type, could one still earn a sign-up bonus at some future point?

      • Yes, I am acutely aware of that. If you were to read more closely, the scenario I put forth is this: one HAS NOT earned a sign-up bonus on a Citi card that has been converted to AmEx. Therefore, the resulting question is: might it be possible to cancel the converted card, and then apply and receive a bonus at some future point?

        • Also, the original post should have read: “I agree that if one were to let their Citi card account transfer to a new AmEx account, one wouldn’t be eligible to then earn a sign-up bonus bonus for that new AmEx card type while still holding the converted card.”

  2. Thank you, Ariana, your comment makes sense as always, so I will cancel my Citi Hilton card regardless how old it is in order to get the new Amex Asire card next year

  3. I plan to pound both those cards pretty hard before it gets to AMEX. You know, get it, while the getting is good. Surely, Citi really does not care much at this point. I will be giving the Arrival Plus a breather and work on these Hilton cards.

    I am keeping the ones I have.

  4. Hi Ariana, do you think these card conversions will count as a new account for Chase’s 5/24 rule?

    • That depends on whether Amex will require a hard pull before approving the account transfer. Chase counts applications towards 5/24, so if Amex pulls your credit (which I feel like I read somewhere they will) before transferring your account, then it will probably count towards 5/24.

  5. any idea when the free night cert posts for spending $10k with citi Hilton reserve? Got card in summer and just hit $10k. I don’t want to cancel card and lose free weekend night

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