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American Express Hilton Aspire Card has a high $500 annual fee. The card offers up to $400 Hilton Resort Statement Credits each calendar year upon approval and account renewal.
One of the challenges with holding the American Express Hilton Aspire Card every year is being able to use that $200 resort credit every six (6) months to justify the card’s high annual fee. This means that you have to come up with at least two Hilton resort stays every year to use that resort credit. If you can maximize that benefit each year, you only pay a $150 annual fee and enjoy the card’s other perks.
Whether the American Express Hilton Aspire Card is worth keeping or closing is up to you to decide.
Hilton Aspire $400 Resort Credit
First, it is essential to understand how the Hilton Aspire Resort Credit benefit works:
- The benefit is per the calendar year from January through December.
- You receive up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually from January through June.
- You receive an additional $200 in statement credits from July through December.
- Purchases must be made directly with eligible participating Hilton Resorts.
- Allow 8-12 weeks for the statement credits to be posted to your account. However, in practice, it’s sooner than that.
- There’s no enrollment required. You charge your Aspire card at the participating Hilton resort, and Amex will automatically issue the statement credit.
Hilton Aspire Resort Credit Terms & Conditions
Below are the full terms and conditions for the $400 Hilton Resort Credit benefit:
Basic Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Members can receive up to a total of $200 in statement credits semi-annually (January through June; and July through December), for up to $400 back annually for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton Resorts on their Card Account.
Eligible purchases must be made directly with a participating Hilton Resort and charged to a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card for the benefit to apply. Visit hilton.com/resorts for the list of participating Hilton Resorts. Advance Purchase Rates/Non-Refundable Rates are not eligible for the resort credit. Incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property) must be charged to your room and paid for with a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card for the benefit to apply.
Eligible purchases can be made by both the Basic and any Additional Card Members on the Card Account. However, the total amount of statement credits for eligible purchases will not exceed $400 on the Card Account per calendar year. Please allow 8-12 weeks after the eligible purchase is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the Account. Please call American Express at the number on the back of your Card if statement credits have not posted after 12 weeks from the date of purchase. To be eligible for this benefit, your Card account must not be cancelled or past due at the time of statement credit fulfillment. Statement credit(s) may not be received or may be reversed if the purchase is cancelled or modified, or if you engage in abuse or misuse in connection with the benefit.
American Express relies on the merchant’s processing of transactions to determine the transaction date. The transaction date may differ from the date you made the purchase if, for example, there is a delay in the merchant submitting the transaction to us or if the merchant uses another date as the transaction date. This means that in some cases your purchase may not earn the statement credit benefit for the benefit period in which you made the purchase. For example, if an eligible purchase is made on December 31st but the merchant processes the transaction such that it is identified to us as occurring on January 1st, the January statement credit would be applied. American Express also relies on information provided to us by the merchant to identify eligible purchases. If American Express does not receive information that identifies your transaction as eligible for this benefit, the Basic Card Member will not receive the statement credit. For example, your purchase will not be eligible if it is not made directly with a Hilton Resort (e.g., if a purchase is made at a restaurant or convenience store within a Hilton Resort). Basic Card Members may not receive the statement credit if we receive inaccurate information or are otherwise unable to identify your purchase as eligible, if a transaction is made with an electronic wallet or through a third party (such as an app store), or if the merchant uses a mobile or wireless card reader to process it.
Maximizing Hilton Aspire Resort Credits
With creativity and caution, you can use and maximize the Hilton Resort Credit benefit on the American Express Hilton Aspire Card every year. Remember that the credit is every six (6) months, so you have January through June and July through December per calendar year to use the credit of up to $400.
Do Not Use the Credit For Advance Purchase Rate
It is vital to note that the advance purchase (a.k.a non-cancellable) rate payment is not processed directly by the Hilton resort. A third party processes it; therefore, you won’t get the statement credit issued by American Express because American Express determines that the charge on your American Express Hilton Aspire Card is ineligible.
Use the Credit For A Hilton Resort Stay
This is the most prominent and straightforward way to use the American Express Hilton Aspire Card $400 resort credit. The resort credit covers the room rate, meals, spa, and any incidental charges at participating Hilton Resorts worldwide.
- Ensure that the resort that you will be looking to spend that credit at is a participating Hilton property
found on the Hilton Resorts page.
- Remember to use your Amex Hilton Aspire card to pay and have it charged directly by the resort at checkout. American Express will then issue the statement credit to your credit card account.
Use the Credit For the Reservation Deposit
There are Hilton resorts that require a deposit during booking. This may sometimes help you use the credit during its validity period semi-annually.
This trick was known to me via FlyerTalk. Some Hilton properties require a credit card deposit when you make a
reservation. This is true for Las Vegas properties under the Hilton Resorts classification. Most of the resort charges a one-night refundable deposit when 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 to stay there. Before finalizing the reservation, there’s a fine print that states below:
This reservation requires a credit card deposit of $278.80 USD whichWaldorf Astoria Las Vegas
will be charged to your card. If you wish to cancel, please do so 5
days prior to arrival to avoid cancellation penalties.
Therefore, you can make a refundable reservation with one of those Las Vegas properties, and your Hilton Aspire credit card will immediately be charged for the deposit. This will trigger the Amex statement credit because it’s charged directly by the eligible Hilton resort property.
If your trip is interrupted and you cancel the reservation during the permitted time, you will get the deposit refunded to your Aspire credit card. However, Amex may claw back that credit later.
Use the Credit For A Refundable Advance Deposit
What is an advance deposit? You are making a prepayment by filling out a credit card authorization form obtained from the Hilton resort property and having the property immediately charge your Aspire card based on the amount you specify. The resort will then keep that as a credit on your reservation and finalize any payment at the end of your stay or when you check out.
The advance deposit is helpful because of how the Hilton Aspire resort credits are awarded semi-annually. If your resort stay is after the credit validity period, you can request an advance deposit, as the charge is processed immediately.
Here’s how the process works:
- Make a Hilton resort reservation found on the Hilton Resorts page.
- Contact the resort to ask about an advance deposit or prepayment arrangement.
- The resort will send you a credit card authorization form to complete and send back to them for processing.
- This process will trigger the Hilton Aspire resort statement credit because the Hilton resort will process the charge directly.
Because this type of prepayment is refundable, any unused amount will be returned to your Aspire card at the time of checkout. If you cancel your reservation, let the property know, and they will also refund your Aspire card. However, it is also important to note that any refund to your Aspire card may cause Amex to claw back that credit later.
Maximize the Credit With Amex Offers
You can maximize your Hilton Aspire resort credit savings even further with the Amex Offers. You can stack the deposit mentioned above tricks with the Amex Offers.
Check your Amex Offers occasionally to see if your Aspire card is targeted for any statement credits at participating Hilton brands.
For example, my Aspire card was targeted for spending at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad property: Spend $500 or more, get $100 back. Therefore, 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 Hilton Aspire resort statement credit but also the $100 statement credit with the Amex offer.
- This ensures your Amex Offer does not expire before your stay date, as each Amex offer does have an expiration date.
- Each Amex offer has terms and conditions about which country’s Hilton property is eligible, so check the fine print.
- Check Amex Connect if the Amex Offer is not targeted on your Asapire card. If the offer is available on Amex Connect, you can add the offer to your Aspire card.
Maximize the Credit With The Aspire Card $100 Property Credit
American Express Hilton Aspire Card also offers a $100 Property Credit benefit for a two-night minimum stay at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad properties. Your booking must be a room package eligible for the $100 property credit.
You can use your Aspire card with the $100 property credit benefit, so you get the $100 property credit and the Amex statement credit.
Frequently Asked Questions
I try to answer frequently asked questions as much as I can. If you have any other questions, please get in touch with me or comment on this post for others to read.
Do you need to enroll in the Amex Hilton Aspire resort credit benefit?
Is the Hilton Aspire resort credit per calendar year or account anniversary year?
The Hilton Aspire resort credit benefit is per calendar year. You can use a $200 credit every six (6) months, up to $400 in a calendar year.
- $200 resort credit from January through June
- $200 resort credit from July through December
Does the semi-annually $200 resort credit rollover?
No. You use it or lose it. You must use each $200 resort credit from January through June and July through December.
Hilton Aspire Resort Credit List?
Can you use the credit for non-resort property?
No, you must use the credit at an eligible participating resort on the Hilton Resorts page.
Check out the American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card instead if you want to use the credit at any Hilton hotel.
Can Hilton resort credit be used for the room rate?
Absolutely. However, be careful about the advance payment rate as a third party processes it. Amex considers that charge ineligible for the statement credit.
Do you need to book directly with Hilton to use the credit?
No. You do not need to book directly with Hilton or through the Hilton Resorts page. You can book through any online travel agencies (OTAs). However, ensure that the rate is not prepaid and that you only pay with your Aspire card at the end of your stay because the charge must be processed directly by a Hilton resort, not the OTA.
How long does the Hilton Aspire resort credit take to post?
The benefit terms and conditions show that the statement credit can take 8-12 weeks. However, in practice, the credit takes 3-5 days after the eligible purchase is posted to the account.
Does Amex claw back the credit for refunds?
Yes, highly possible. When the Hilton resort issues a refund, and you have already received the statement credit, Amex reserves the right to claw back that statement credit. Therefore, don’t try to game the system.