Waiting to activate converted Hilton card? Consider applying new now.


In my recent post “Should you apply for the new Hilton 100K offers?” I primarily counseled waiting for better offers unless you have Hilton stays planned for the near future.  But Frequent Miler senior author Nick Reyes pointed out to me an important factor that I hadn’t considered.  He has a Citi Hilton Reserve card that is being converted to the Amex Hilton Ascend.  His new Ascend card has already arrived in the mail, with a sticker saying to confirm and begin using the card on January 30, 2018.  But once he activates that card, he’ll have 5 Amex credit cards and at that point it may be impossible to get more since Amex has an unofficial 5 credit card limit.

Amex credit and charge card limits: If you apply for a new Amex credit card, you may get turned down if you already have 5 or more Amex credit cards; or 10 or more Pay Over Time (AKA charge) cards. Both personal and business cards are counted together towards these limits. Authorized user cards are not counted. See also: Which Amex Cards are Charge Cards vs. Credit Cards?

Nick went ahead and applied for the Aspire card while he was still under the 5 credit card limit and his application was approved.  He made the right move.  Sure, it’s possible that Amex’s 5 credit card limit will change or has already changed.  It’s also possible that Amex won’t count Hilton cards due to the fact that many of us will have more than 5 credit cards after they are converted from Citibank.  But, those are just possibilities.  Nick knew that this was likely to be his last chance at a new Amex credit card unless he was willing to cancel others.

So, if you’re in a similar situation where cards converted from Citibank will lock you out of future Amex credit card applications, now is the time to go for it.  January 30th may be too late (that’s the date that the cards converted from Citibank become active).

Of course, Hilton cards aren’t your only Amex credit card options.  If you’ve never had the SPG personal or SPG business card before, I highly recommend either or both.  Those cards won’t be available to new applicants once Marriott rolls out their new combined program with SPG.  If you’d prefer to go for a Hilton card, the Hilton Aspire bonus may be as good as it will get.  And, while I think it is likely that we’ll see slightly better offers for the Hilton Ascend and Hilton Business cards in the future, I doubt they’ll be anywhere near 50% better (whereas I do think that we’ll see a 50% better offer for the no fee Hilton card in the future).

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I received the Amex convert card a while ago, but i have not activated it as of now.

If I don’t activate it, do I get chance to apply a new one, and eligible for sign up bonus?

Not sure if “Never activate” is the same as “never had this card”. please advise


Nick Reyes

We don’t really know for sure. My bet is that the computer system will recognize you as a previous cardholder and not award the bonus automatically. That doesn’t mean you can’t potentially argue it with Amex and get the bonus — I just don’t think it’ll be easy/automatic.


Officially have 6 American Express credit cards after activating the two Citi Hilton card conversions today. American Express did not cancel either of my existing Hilton credit card accounts or either of the new Citi transfer Hilton accounts.


So now I have two Delta amex cards and four Hilton amex cards.


I had the citi reserve hilton and was sent the new card 2 weeks ago but not allowed to activate it today. i also had an amex surpass hilton. between the time i received my ascend card for the citi replacement and today, i applied (and was approved) for the business hilton. that made my 5th amex credit card. today i activated my new ascend card and now i show 2 active hilton ascend cards, and a total of 6 amex credit cards. i also have a charge card and am an authorized user on other amex accounts. looks like 6 is the new five (at least in this circumstance).


Great blog but it’s “does not affect your ability” not “do not affect your ability”. 🙂


your showing the effect of some English teacher’s penchant for correct grammar.


That would be you’re, not your


nothing makes me cringe more than someone going out of their own damn way to make a grammar comment. like wtf. it beats all other troll comments to the ground.


That kills me too. Always have to ask my editor/wife. 🙂


Last day to cancel Citi Hilton was yesterday 1/25. Tried to cancel today was told can’t


Greg, just FYI I just got off the phone with Citi a few moments ago. Initial rep told me that it was too late to cancel the Hilton card, as the transfer has already begun and the “system wouldn’t allow it”. I asked to speak with a manager and after holding for aprox 5 minutes the manager was able to cancel it in a few seconds.

Nick Reyes

You might try the automated system. Reps have been saying it was too late to cancel since sometime in October/November I believe, but many people have reported success canceling via the automated phone system as recently as a couple of days ago. I don’t know for sure that it won’t still show up as an Amex Ascend, but it’s worth a shot if you want to cancel.


Tried to call and cancel Citi Hilton Honors cards today. Already received new cards. They said I could not cancel, but if I call after 1/30, I can cancel them. They also said to not activate the new Amex cards and it would be as if I never had the card.


Same thing I was told yesterday. If I had known what the signup bonus was going to be I would have cancelled in November. Way to go AMEX.


I’ve got all the primary cards in the mail… Wondering when all the AU cards will arrive



On a somewhat related note, do you know if you do apply and get approved (Live over the phone) for an Aspire, do you have to request to get the new account number for immediate spending instead of waiting for it to come in the mail? I’ve seen/read reports that some people get their info. right away. It wasn’t offered to me, but I also didn’t ask so wasn’t sure what the standard MO is for AMEX when folks opening a new account. It’s been over a week and I still haven’t received my new card. Thanks for the feedback.

Nick Reyes

When I applied online, it offered me the ability to get my card number right away on the approval screen. I had to go through a couple more steps of verifying info (like the 4-digit code on the front of one of my order cards), and then it displayed the card info (with a 3-minute countdown timer to copy it). I received a shipping notification on the card a couple of days later (but haven’t received it yet either).

Nick Reyes

I take that back regarding the card not having arrived. I hadn’t looked at all of my mail. My Aspire card has arrived. You can always call to inquire about the shipping status (and ask for them to expedite it if it hasn’t yet shipped for some reason).


damn. i really wanted to see a DP about a 6th card. i think you should add more info to this post about the possibility if you apply for a new HH amex cc. The logic is that amex has a lot riding on this deal so they let it slide to 6th. YMMV. ive seen it work based on reddit DP but its full of n00bs so i cant trust it. I tried myself and got denied.


unless you are in the 5 limit situation, wait and see….all this rush for signing up the first days of a card, why?…do you like being guinea pigs?, do you like tense anticipation? at this point either you kept the old cards or you have canceled them. If you have canceled and are planning on getting the new product, why cant you wait a month and see what happens?…do you need HH points for an upcoming stay? if not, why would you jump on an offer with vague exclusions and a slightly better signup bonus?…chances are the initial offer will not be the best, and since Amex changed to one signup bonus per lifetime, per product, why jump blindly off that cliff?
It also makes sense to wait to see if people get the signup bonus before you add another card against the chase 5/24 and wind up with no HH points because Amex considers their new product an evolution of an existing one instead of a totally new product…..don’t fall for the blogger bait, they will be talking about these cards until Marriott comes out, so relax and take time to see where you will land before you jump.

Freeman Grover

Hi Greg – I have a problem with the receipt of the new American Express cards – how do I know which new AmerExp replaces which Citi card I now have. The literature with the new cards does not give any clues. I will need to activate one of the three new cards I received, but I don’t want to keep the two other new AmerExp cards. I called American Exress to try to find out which new card replaces which old Citi card and they could not tell me – odd! Do you have any ideas on this problem? The new cards Pareto be activated by 1/30/18 as I understand it!


If you flip over the back of the letter with the new card on the front, it will tell you that it replaces your Citi Hilton Honors Card. It’s in bold print on the back of the letter if it’s to replace a Citi card.


Yes, however, it doesn’t say which Citi card it is replacing, so if you had more than one reserve card, you won’t know which reserve card it replaces.


I saw the same thing as Nick. My wife and I were at 3 credit cards each with AMEX and would be at 5 and 6 each once our citi cards converted, so we took a shot with the business and Aspire cards before the citi cards activated. With some work, we were approved for all 4, so 400000 points, $1000 in credits and 2 more free nights to go with the 4 coming from the citi cards. After conversion, we will have 11 Hilton Amex cards all together and 15 Amex credit cards total.


We travel as a family of 6, so we usually use them in at least pairs because we need two rooms and we need to get free nights in bunches or they are considerably less useful for us. I actually have more trouble using the IHG free nights effectively because we need cash or lots more points to supplement them.
In this case, we are waiting on at least 4 of them to be delivered before the end of March, when we will use them for two nights in two rooms at the Doubletree Resort Paracas, Peru. That will let us use 4 free nights and the resort credits from both Aspire cards for about $1700-$2000 in value. We could also use the other two on the same trip in Cusco, but I am leaning toward holding onto them and using SPG or Marriott options there.


I got the 125K amex card like 6 weeks ago their points aren’t worth a lot like SPG was .I think Hilton still have stay 4 get 5th nite free HOPE I can get that.


What about the no AF card? I cancelled mine but received a card anyways. I also have a currently open Amex no AF Hilton card. Would that be eligible for a bonus or is it considered the same product?


This is messy and could be very disruptive process for some of us.

I canceled my Citi Hilton Honor card but they shipped new Amex card anyway and it’s already in my Amex online profile. So, I would assume that it will show up in my credit history report regardless if I going to activate it or not.

Should I call Amex and discuss this? What do you think?


That is exactly what I am saying. It is showed up in my online account before I received mail package.


Amex also setup new card for auto-pay. Not sure why would they do this.


I’d Citi No Fee Hilton Card which I cancelled around thanksgiving however AMEX still shipped me the new card. Looks like Citi transferred Hilton Portfolio to AMEX earlier than expected. I’m not planning to activate the card since I won’t earn 100K bonus.


My wife and I have no annual fee Citi Hilton cards (forgotten from the sock drawer) converting to no fee Amex Hilton cards. Will these appear on the credit reports as if they are newly opened cards counting against 5/24 with Chase for 2 years? We were waiting to get out of time out with 5/24 slots opening in February.


They seriously are sending us like 18 of those new Amex cards. We had that many Citi Hilton’s. Why?

I’m just stacking them up waiting to be activated…maybe lots of Amex shopping offers now?

So is the 5 limit per type or actual card account? Because now I have about 10 of the new aspires, a surpass, Blue cash, preferred, I don’t even know what else. How am I not way over the limit?


I have the new Hilton Ascend card that Amex sent me. Wondering if I should cancel it before Jan 30 to make sure I can get bonus if I apply in future since Amex has once per lifetime policy. Am I too late to cancel it since Amex issued the card?


Hi, thanks for the article.

I have an old Citi H Honors – No fee – Visa Gold card – with permanent Gold Status that is being converted.
1. It looks like I am getting transferred to a no fee A/E card.. and will only now receive Silver Status?

2. I hold the A/E ‘Surpass’ card now as well. Is this being converted also?

I will have 5 cards in my A/E Portfolio now and will have to eliminate at least one to apply for any new cards.



I will need to eliminate one card.
I suppose if I cancel the Citi card now I will not be converted? or is it too late?


Regarding the statement about the Amex 5 card limit not including charge cards, I just (three days ago) applied for the Delta Bus Gold card and was denied do to have reached my limit of cards with Amex . I have 5 cards including one charge card: PRG, Hilton Surpass, Bus Blue, SPG and SPG Business. I closed the SPG and was immediately approved for the DL card.


*due to having*


Gosh this is messy. I cancelled the Reserve. I have a surpass, which was upgraded from the no fee to earn 100,000 points a little less than a year ago. My Aspire card has been shipped. Clearly, I don’t need the surpass anymore. Should I cancel the surpass?


What if you had an AmEx Surpass card that was converted to an AmEx Ascend, but you have yet to activate the new Ascend card?

Could you apply for the Ascend separately prior to activating the Surpass replacement card and still be eligible for the 100k bonus?


I am curious about this also and maybe I am missing something but I haven’t been able to find the answer.