Amex adds “anti-gaming” language to Hilton Aspire card

Mar 6, 2020

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American Express has gone to great lengths in recent years to ensure its customers are playing by the rules and only earning points through legitimate means, and even clawing back points from customers it suspects has abused the system.

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For a while now, all Amex credit cards have included the following language in the terms and conditions surrounding the welcome bonus:

“If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome offer in any way or that you intend to do so… we may not credit the Bonus Points to your account.”

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

This carefully crafted statement gives Amex broad powers to crack down on unprofitable customers who are trying to game the system, and Amex has proved it is willing to exercise this power. Now, Travel With Grant is reporting that this type of anti-gaming language is coming to the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. While you won’t find the new language in the online application just yet, current Aspire cardholders should have received a notice of changes to their cardmember agreement that reads as follows:

“Effective May 1, 2020, American Express may reverse statement credits earned if your eligible purchase is returned / cancelled.  American Express may also reverse the statement credit for “abuse” or “misuse” of the benefit and if you do not maintain the eligible card for the entire year.”

As a reminder, one of the best benefits of the Hilton Aspire card and one of the easiest ways to offset its $450 annual fee (see rates and fees) is an up to $250 annual Hilton resort credit, eligible on room rates and food and beverage at participating properties.

Related reading: The only card you need for your next Hilton stay: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire credit card review

While this new language isn’t as sweeping as some of Amex’s other disclaimers, it follows a similar theme. Across its diverse card portfolio, Amex has been cracking down on people who…

  • return/cancel purchases that were used to trigger a statement credit
  • cancel their cards before the one year mark (i.e. use statement credits without paying an annual fee for that year)
  • engage in any other sort of “abuse” or “misuse”

As of now, we haven’t heard any reports of readers having Amex attempt to claw back their $250 Hilton Aspire resort credit, but this change to the card’s benefits agreement does lay the groundwork for Amex to do so in the future.

Related reading: Choosing the best American Express credit card for you

Bottom line

If you use your Hilton Aspire credit as intended, to enjoy a rebate at one of Hilton’s stunning properties around the globe, you can probably ignore this warning. However, it’s still important to pay attention to the deeper message Amex is trying to send with these changes: If you don’t play by the rules, you can expect to see clawbacks or even potentially account closures.

Featured photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, click here.

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