Well, this is certainly a victory for American Express (though likely an expensive one). As of January 1, 2018, Citi will lose their Hilton portfolio and American Express will be the exclusive c0-branded issuer for the Hilton Honors program in the US.
Hilton Honors Is Going Exclusive With American Express
I just wrote the other day about how Hilton points were the easiest hotel points to get, in part because of the very nice option of getting up to 4 cards from 2 different issuers. That will now be gone at the start of 2018 and you will only be able to get them from American Express.
What Will This Mean?
To be honest, I am kind of disappointed in this news. The reason has to do with Amex’s unfriendly policy of getting one bonus per lifetime. That means that if you have ever had one of the American Express Hilton cards before, you will be unable to get that particular card again.
For Citi Cardholders
On the Citi side, it will be interesting to see what they change cardholders to. As someone who does have a Cit Hilton card, I will be waiting to see what happens. This will be bad if they convert it to a product that people have not had yet as it may eliminate them from getting that product for at least 24 months.
Looking Forward? With Amex
From American Express, this explains a bit why we saw that free night bonus attached to the Hilton Surpass card. As I said, that is only for the second year and is a one-time offer but Amex is likely going to watch how this is used to determine if they will roll that out as an option instead of points or in addition to points. It was a new step for Amex as well since they do not offer anniversary nights or points on their hotel cards (the SPG cards or the Hilton cards).
Next Steps for You?
In the meantime, I would wait to see what kind of offers Citi starts to throw out as the year goes on. If you have not yet had a Citi Hilton card yet, I would wait to see what larger offers may come. With the Hilton Reserve offering only free nights, it would be interesting to see them remove the weekend requirement from those nights. But, that is just hope and speculation at this point!
Have you opened a Citi Hilton card yet? If not, will you wait or apply soon?