Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of the largest hotel chains in the world, and there are tons of ways to earn Hilton Honors points to redeem for award stays. Last week, Hilton announced that it reached an exclusive agreement with American Express to provide co-branded cards starting in 2018.
As a result of this new agreement with American Express, we are losing one of the best ways to earn Hilton Honors points as Hilton is dumping its co-branded relationship with Citi. We never like to lose an opportunity to earn points, but fortunately we will still have 2 co-branded American Express cards going forward, which are the Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express and Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express.
With this big news, we expected Citi to continue offering the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card and the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card until the new American Express deal goes into effect in January 2018.
Unfortunately, Citi has already pulled the application links to these cards as of today. We do not currently know if Citi will be transitioning cardholders of these cards to different Citi products before January, or if they will be selling the accounts to American Express.
In recent years, American Express has lost accounts with Costco and JetBlue to Citi and Barclaycard, respectively. However, they have also been strengthening their remaining co-branded agreements.
Prior to settling on an exclusive agreement with Hilton, American Express renewed their contracts to provide credit cards with Delta and Starwood Preferred Guest. We’ll see what happens with the Starwood Preferred Guest contract as a result of the merger with Marriott.
Chase already has a strong relationship with Marriott, so it’s unknown whether both brands will continue to offer credit cards with 2 different issuers.
While it’s understandable that Citi might not want to take on new customers with its co-branded Hilton cards, it’s disappointing that they pulled these application links without even the slightest warning to consumers.
If we’re talking about unannounced changes, we’re usually dealing with airlines such as Delta devaluing award charts without notice. It’s disappointing to see a bank do the same without giving customers the information necessary to make informed decisions.
For now, cardholders of the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card and the Citi® Hilton Honors™ Visa Signature® Card can continue earning Hilton Honors points until the end of the year.
Hopefully, Citi has only pulled these cards from their site temporarily, and they will be available for application again soon.
We’ll keep an eye out for any updates to this story.