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

Mar 6, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

Want more credit card news and advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter!

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.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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.

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.