Keep or Cancel the American Express Aspire Card? Why We Decided to Cancel
The time has come to say goodbye to a loved one. The card I once called hands down the most valuable premium card on the market is no longer in our wallet(s). I closed mine at the beginning of the pandemic, as did Benjy, and my wife just closed hers. We tried for a retention offer on her account but there was nothing available. I wasn’t really expecting one after what she got last year, but it was my last hope of holding onto the card. Whether to keep or cancel the American Express Aspire card isn’t a question I thought I would ever ask myself, but it was time to let it go for a few different reasons.
Amex Aspire Card Perks
Before I get into why I closed our card I thought we should do a quick refresh on some of the great perks the card offers:
- Hilton Diamond status
- $250 Resort credit
- $250 Airline Fee Credit
- Free weekend night certificate
- Priority Pass Select Membership – Free access for you and 2 guests.
- $20 monthly restaurant credit until the end of 2021.
If you can maximize these perks I think Amex is still essentially paying you to keep the card.
Keep or Cancel the American Express Aspire Card?
While travel has been picked up a lot, including for myself, it still isn’t where it was before covid hit. And because of that the hoops you need to jump through to maximize the Aspire are a little more difficult than normal.
The airline incidental credit can still be useful, it was on our trip to Alaska, but it isn’t as easy to use as it was a few years back. But the real sticklers, for me at least, are the free night certificate and the $250 resort credit.
Free Night Certificate Back Log
Hilton is my secondary program, Hyatt being my main option, which means I stay at a Hilton 4-5 times a year most years. It will probably be less than that for the next year or two with the way things currently are. Which means it is becoming more and more difficult for me to maximize the value of my free night certificates. That isn’t even including the backlog of free night certificates I already have.
We were able to burn a couple of them on our recent bougie trip to Vegas but I still have two set to expire next year. Throw in the fact that I will earn another next year by putting $15K in spend on my Amex Surpass card and you get the point. It actually turns out you can have too much of a good thing!
$250 Resort Credit
I have always thought the $250 resort credit is where the value on the Hilton Aspire card resided. The free night certificate and airline incidental credit made it breakeven card with the $450 annual fee. But, if you are able to use the resort credit then you are “in the money” and actually coming out ahead.
The problem with the credit is that it is restricted to “resorts“. Hilton does use this definition pretty loosely, and there are quite a few options on the list, but it is still restrictive. If it was simply a property credit then I would be singing a different tune today.
I don’t have any concrete plans to stay at qualified Hilton Resort in the next 12 months and, to be honest, I would rather not have to worry about it. There is already enough on my plate trying to burn free night certs and deal with airline miles and hotel points scattered everywhere from cancellations. I just don’t want to dedicate the mental bandwidth to following up a Hilton resort credit too. Now I just remembered I still have one Amex Platinum FHR credit to burn this year too…argh!
Why I Am Cancelling My Amex Aspire Card – Final Thoughts
My decision on whether to keep or cancel the American Express Aspire card really comes down to mental bandwidth. I don’t want any more on my plate to track or focus on. I also currently have a stash of Hilton points that have gone mostly untouched the last two years, soon to be 3 free night certificates left over and no desire to fork over another $450. My valuation of the card hasn’t changed, it is still a net positive card overall for most people That value surplus of value just isn’t enough for me to dedicate energy to right now. That doesn’t mean I won’t add it back to my portfolio a year or two down the road. It is actually pretty likely. I am hopeful it comes with an upgrade offer from my no fee Hilton card though 😁.