Strong Moves from American Express on Hilton Credit Cards
Recently, many of us have read and heard about upcoming improvements to American Express credit cards in May. Today, Amex has promptly delivered several welcome additions to their Hilton credit cards. In my view, most cardholders will find increased value by moving more spend to their Hilton cards. Let’s get to the changes!
Limited Time Offerings for Hilton Credit Cards
Hilton Aspire Card
- Earn 12 Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at grocery stores from May 1 through July 31, 2020.
- Free weekend night rewards issued through December 31, 2020 can now be used any night of the week. New free weekend night rewards issued from May 1 through December 31, will be valid for 24 months from the issuance date.
- All points earned through card purchases between May 1 and December 31, 2020 will be considered base points, counting toward elite qualification, including Lifetime Diamond Status.
- Cardmembers who have unused Hilton resort statement credits will be able to have the remaining credits applied to US restaurant purchases, including takeout and delivery, from June 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020.
Hilton Surpass Card
The Surpass card has the same offers as the Aspire card above, except for the Hilton resort statement credit at restaurants.
Hilton No-Fee Card
Amex considers cardholders’ spend on the no annual fee card as base points, counting toward elite qualification, including Lifetime Diamond Status, between May 1 and December 31, 2020.
My Initial Take
Amex has come out strong with their elevated, limited-time offers on the Hilton credit cards. I find the improved 12x grocery earning for the next three months on the Aspire and Surpass cards to be particularly impressive. Even better, Amex instituted no caps to this higher earning on grocery spend. This is superior to Chase’s offer that came out today in every single way.
Aspire cardholders’ resort statement credit turning into basically a no-strings-attached $250 for any restaurant spend is a welcome improvement, as well. Some of us may have trouble using the entire resort credit, even without a global pandemic. Instead, most Aspire cardholders should have no problem using this $250 at restaurants over three months.
I expected the free weekend night reward certificate extension. Amex surprised me by lifting the weekend stay requirement, though. I like that cardholders’ points earned from all spend count as base points for elite qualification; this is a solid secondary benefit. It makes reaching the 2 million point cap needed for lifetime status that much easier.
My Plans Moving Forward
My near-term plan is to spend exactly $15k on my Hilton Surpass card at grocery stores by July 31. By doing so, I’m taking advantage of three parts of the elevated offer simultaneously. Through this $15k spend, I accomplish the following:
- Earn 180k Hilton Honors points
- Earn a free night reward certificate good for 24 months from issuance; this certificate is also valid for any night of the week until December 31, 2020.
- My 180k points from spend on the card count as base points for elite qualification, including lifetime Diamond status.
My wife is also a Surpass cardholder, so we will plan to implement the same strategy for her account. Given the limited time nature of these offers, I will refocus more immediate grocery spend on my Surpass cards; Amex Gold spend at grocery will become secondary, as I have the rest of the calendar year to use the Gold’s 4x capacity.
From my perspective, Amex has knocked it out of the ballpark with their elevated offerings on the Hilton cards. Amex is getting users like me to immediately move more spend to their Hilton cards, and in significant amounts (unlike Chase). I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Amex extend these offers down the road, but I will definitely take advantage of them near-term as I described. What is your opinion on Amex’s moves with the Hilton credit cards?