• Using the credit for reservation deposit and then cancelling the reservation is no longer working. 
  • Amex Aspire $250 resort credit cannot be used for restaurants this year 2021 like last year. However,
    • If you stay at a participating Hilton resort and eat at the restaurant there, you can still have the bill charged to your room. That will trigger the $250 Hilton resort credit. 
    • Amex also added a limited time offer to the Aspire card that is not part of the $250 Hilton resort credit. Now through December 31, 2021, if you spend $20 or more at U.S. restaurants (including dine-in, take-out and delivery apps), you earn $20 back once each month. See this post

American Express Hilton Aspire Card offers the $250 resort statement credit each year upon approval and renewal of the credit card. One of the challenges with holding this credit card every year is being able to use that $250 resort credit to justify the high annual fee of $450. This means that you have to come up with a Hilton resort to stay at every year in order to use that resort credit. However, with some creativity and a little work, you can use and maximize the $250 resort credit quite easily.

The Awesome Tricks To Use and Maximize Amex Hilton Aspire Resort Credi
Photo: Grand Wailea in Maui
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    Do Not Use the Credit For Advance Purchase Rate

    Please note that the advance purchase (a.k.a non-cancellable) rate payment is not processed directly by the Hilton resort. It is processed by a third party and therefore you won't see the $250 statement Hilton resort credit issued automatically by American Express because American Express determines that charge on your American Express Hilton Aspire Card is not eligible.

    Use the Credit at a Hilton Resort

    This is the most obvious and straight forward way to use the American Express Hilton Aspire Card $250 resort credit. The resort credit covers the room rate, meals, spa, and any incidental charges at participating Hilton resorts in the world. You just need to make sure that the resort that you will be looking to spend that $250 credit at is a participating Hilton property found on Hilton Resorts page. You must use your Amex Hilton Aspire card to pay and have it charged directly by the resort at checkout. American Express then will issue a $250 statement credit into your credit card's account.

    If you are looking for some ideas on which Hilton resort to use this credit at, be sure to check out our Best Hilton Resorts To Use Amex Hilton Card Free Weekend Night Certificate.

    Use the Credit For Reservation Deposit

    [DEAD] The following trick is no longer working. After you cancel your reservation, the deposit goes back to your Aspire card and Amex also takes back the statement credit that is part of the $250 resort credit benefit. 

    This trick was known to me via FlyerTalk. Some Hilton properties require a credit card deposit when you make a reservation. This is true to Las Vegas properties that fall under resort classification according to Hilton. Most of the resort there charges one night refundable deposit at the time you make a reservation, even on a refundable/flexible rate 
    Take a look at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas for example. I randomly picked one night stay there. Prior to finalizing the reservation, there's a fine print that states below:

    This reservation requires a credit card deposit of $278.80 USD which will be charged to your card. If you wish to cancel, please do so 5 days prior to arrival to avoid cancellation penalties.

    So what this means is that you can make a refundable reservation with one of those Las Vegas properties and your Hilton Aspire credit card will be charged right away for the deposit. This will trigger the $250 resort credit because it's charged directly by the eligible Hilton resort property. After awhile, if your trip is interrupted, you can cancel the reservation during the permitted time and get the deposit refunded to your Aspire credit card. 

    Use the Credit For Refundable Advance Deposit

    [UPDATE] There's risk involves with this cancellation trick. See below under What Happened to Unused Credit?  

    What is an advance deposit? Simply put, you are making a prepayment by filling out a credit card's authorization form obtained from the Hilton resort property, and have the property charge your Aspire card based on the amount you specify on the form immediately. The resort then will keep that as a credit on your reservation and finalize any payment at the end of your stay or when you check out. Because this prepayment is refundable, any unused amount will be issued back to your Aspire card. If you end up canceling your reservation, let the property know and they will refund back to your Aspire card as well.

    The process is, make a refundable reservation and then contact the resort to ask about advance deposit or prepayment arrangement. The resort will send you a credit card's authorization form for you to complete and send back to them for processing. This process will trigger the $250 Hilton resort statement credit because the charge will be processed directly by the Hilton resort.

    Maximize the Credit With Amex Offer

    You can maximize your $250 Hilton resort credit savings even further with the Amex offer. You can stack the above mentioned deposit tricks with Amex offer.

    Here's how it works. Check your Amex offer from time to time to see if your Aspire card is targeted for any statement credits at participating Hilton brand. For example, my Aspire card was targeted for spending at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad property: Spend $500 or more, get $100 back. So if my upcoming stay is at a Waldorf Astoria resort, I can make an advance deposit of $500 with that resort and that will trigger not only the $250 resort statement credit but also the $100 statement credit with Amex offer. You get the idea! This will also ensure your Amex offer does not expire before your stay date as each Amex offer does have an expiration date. Also, each Amex offer has terms and conditions about which country's Hilton property is eligible, so be sure to check the fine print. 

    What Happened to Unused Credit?

    [More Update May 2021]: American Express system now automatically takes the statement credit back for any credit that they issued to you as part of the Aspire card's $250 resort credit for any deposit credit that is refunded by the Hilton resort to the card due to the cancellation. 

    [Warning Update May 2020]: It appears that American Express has added additional wordings to Hilton Aspire $250 resort credit terms. So please proceed carefully with this trick at your own risk as Amex may be clawing back cancelled/returned credits in the future. You have a whole full year to use this resort credit, so go travel and enjoy the credits. But if you must use this trick, use it as the last resort. This is what Amex says:

    Note that statement credit(s) received during the reward year may be reversed if the eligible purchase is returned/cancelled, or if you engage in abuse or misuse in connection with the benefit (for example, if you do not maintain an eligible Card Account for the duration of the reward year).
    The Awesome Tricks To Use and Maximize Amex Hilton Aspire Resort Credit

    Both the advance reservation's deposit and the advance credit's deposit that we have been talking about are refundable deposits. As mentioned above, if you cancel your refundable reservation, the reservation's deposit will be credited back to your Aspire card. Similarly, any unused amount for the advance deposit will be credited back to your Aspire card. But will that cause issues with Amex to claw back the $250 statement credits? We put these two tricks to test and haven't had any issues. However, don't get too greedy and be reasonable about doing these tricks. Obviously, if you have a legit upcoming stay, chances are you will be likely spending money at the resort for parking, food, drinks, room rate and taxes, etc. and these charges all qualify for the Aspire $250 Hilton resort credit benefit. If you are just going to do one of these tricks often, then do yourself a favor and just cancel the card and move on to a card that fits your travel style better.

    I also want to share an interesting thing that happened to me awhile back, but this happened with an Amex Marriott credit card. When I did the Amex offer trick and upon check out, I asked the front desk lady if she could give me the unused amount in form of cash. She said no and added that the unused amount would need to go back to the credit card that was used only. She also needed that specific card so that she could process the refund back to the card. So in other words, it wasn't even possible to have that unused amount refunded to a different credit card. You see I had two credit cards that have the same ending numbers at the time, and they both were Amex Marriott credit cards. So I wasn't sure which one I used and without even noticing that, I handed her one credit card and later I found out that the refund was issued to that card but that wasn't the card that I used to do the advance deposit.

    There you have it! I hope you enjoy learning these tricks to take full advantage of your American Express Hilton Aspire Card's benefit and make sure to subscribe to our blog posts below to learn more tips & tricks on points traveling!