Last week, I wrote that American Express would become the exclusive issuer for Hilton Honors co-branded credit cards in the US. Current Citi Hilton cards will be automatically replaced with one of two re-branded American Express Hilton cards on January 30, 2018.
I don’t want that to happen to my Citi Hilton card, so I plan on canceling. I’ll explain why.
The Citi Hilton Honors Card will automatically be replaced with a Hilton Honors American Express Card. If you have the Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card, it will be replaced with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card. I have the no-annual-fee Citi Hilton Honors card, but my reasons would hold true for either card.
Reason 1: No Signup Bonus
If I’m going to get a new credit card, I expect a signup bonus. I did get one when I was approved for the Citi Hilton card, however Amex isn’t offering any bonus points for the transition. And if I let the automatic replacement happen, I’ll never be eligible for a signup bonus for the Hilton Honors American Express Card.
Amex has a clear concise rule when it comes to credit card signup bonuses:
Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.
If I let my Citi card transition go through and end up with the Amex Hilton card–even for a day–I’m no longer eligible to receive a welcome bonus in the future. I prefer to cancel my Citi card and apply for the Amex version when it suits me AND get the bonus.
Reason 2: The Chase 5/24 Rule
Here is how I define the Chase 5/24 “rule” in its simplest terms: if your credit report lists 5 or more credit card accounts from any bank opened in the last 24 months, Chase will–in almost all circumstances–initially deny your application for many of their credit cards, regardless of any other factors.
This approval condition seems to have spread to other banks who have instituted 5/24-like rules. Despite my 800+ credit score, I was recently denied for Barclay’s Arrival+. The reason given was: “The number of bankcards opened within the last 24 months.” My Capital One Venture application was also denied for the following reason: “Based on your credit report from Trans Union, number of bank cards tradelines opened in the last 24 months.” There’s clearly a trend.
This automatic transfer from Citi to American Express will result in a new credit card account on my credit report–even though I didn’t apply. It is possible that Amex reports the actual Citi account opening date to the credit bureaus, which would negate this concern. I’m not willing to take that chance. I’m currently over 5/24, but I still like to manage the frequency of my new accounts.
Reason 3: Amex 4/5 Credit Card Limit
American Express has a limit to the total number of credit cards you can have open with them at any time. This limit used to be 4 but appears to have been increased to 5 last year. Note that this limit includes business credit cards but does not include charge cards–there’s no limit to the number of Amex charge cards you can have.
So, once again, this new Hilton replacement card takes up a valuable slot. Right now, I have 3 American Express credit cards: Everyday, SPG, and Delta Gold. The new Amex Hilton card would be the first card I’d cancel if I needed room for another Amex credit card, so I might as well just do it now.
So there you have it: 3 good reasons–off the top of my head–for canceling my Citi Hilton card soon. My guess is, if I gave it more thought, I could probably come up with even more reasons. I also can’t think of any “pros” to keep the card through the transition period to negate any of the “cons” I listed above. Hilton elite status? I’m already Honors Gold since I have a Platinum Card. Earning extra Honors points? The Citi card was collecting dust in my nightstand drawer, I don’t imagine I’d use the Amex version any more frequently.
What’s your plan for the Citi->Amex Hilton card transition?