When the Hilton Aspire Credit Card from American Express hit the rewards scene a few years ago, I immediately signed both myself and my husband up despite the card’s $450 annual fee. With the $250 resort credit it offers, the free weekend night you get every year, the automatic Hilton Diamond status, and the $250 airline fee incidental credit, I knew I could get a ton of value in return.
So far, I’ve been thrilled with the results. I racked up 800,000 Hilton Honors points and used them to book my 40th birthday getaway in Aruba, plus I have used my Hilton Diamond status on more than one occasion. I also cashed in the airline fee credits for gift cards last year and successfully used the resort credits for hotel bills at Hilton properties in Arizona.
Considering all the perks I’ve earned — and the $7,000+ in hotel stays I’ve booked with points earned from this card — I would say it was well worth it when I paid the annual fee and renewed our cards this year.
Why I Won’t Renew My Hilton Aspire Card Next Year
But I’m pretty sure I won’t renew again when our annual fees are charged in March of 2020. This is mostly due to the fact that, as we have all learned from numerous FlyerTalk threads, the airline credit is no longer being triggered by small denomination gift card purchases.
While the airline credit this card offers has always been limited to “incidentals,” gift cards have traditionally worked provided they were purchases in small increments. Well, not anymore.
This means you can only use the airline credit for expenses that may never amount to $250 per year with a single airline — expenses like onboard internet, onboard food and drink, and checked baggage.
While the Hilton Aspire has plenty of other perks, I’m not sure I am a huge fan of the $250 resort credit, either. You have to use this credit at a Hilton resort property for starters, meaning it doesn’t apply at every Hilton property. I am going to use our upcoming credits for my 40th birthday at the Hilton Aruba this time, but I got lucky because I want to go there anyway.
And, to be honest, Hilton Diamond status really is hit or miss. We were treated like a king and queen due to status at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik and the Hilton York recently, but other Hiltons we’ve stayed at didn’t acknowledge our status at all.
The Bottom Line
It will be hard for me to justify keeping this card next year with no good way to use the airline credit — or, at least not one I plan to utilize. Paying $450 for a hotel credit card is a lot, and the fact the airline credit is so limiting means the value of the card has gone way down.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other rewards and travel credit cards to focus on once I cancel this one. The game is always changing, and this is just another unfortunate example.
Are you keeping your Hilton Aspire Card next year? Why or why not?
Source: frugal travel guy