I let my $250 statement credit expire — reader mistake story
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.
Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Dan, who misunderstood when his card benefits reset:
In early March, I added one night to the tail end of a vacation to use up the annual $250 resort credit on my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card before the annual fee hit. The resort was booked via Hilton’s resort page, so it qualified for the credit. Between food, drinks and souvenirs, we spent $221 of the allotted $250. My credits for $221 posted a few days later with no problem.
I later initiated a chat with Amex to find out how long I had to use (or lose) the remaining $29. I thought I had until March 18 or 19, 2020 based on when my annual fee hit the previous year, but wanted to make sure. To my surprise, I was informed my card anniversary had already come and gone in February, and the annual resort credit had reset then. The representative I spoke with seemed truly invested in helping, but couldn’t come up with a solution to make up for the fact that I had missed out on my previous year’s resort credit by a few weeks. Now I’ve “wasted” this year’s credit on a stay didn’t really “need,” since we only booked the extra night to use last year’s credit.
I learned the hard way that your Hilton Aspire anniversary date is not the same as the date your annual fee actually hits your account; that happens at the end of the statement that includes your anniversary date. My misunderstanding and waiting until the last minute caused me to miss out on the $250 resort credit for my first year of having the Aspire card. I won’t make those mistakes again, and I hope this helps others avoid doing the same!
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Some travel credit card benefits are offered based on the calendar year, like the $300 annual travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, or airline fee credits on the Hilton Aspire and several other Amex cards. These benefits reset each year when the calendar turns, so you have from January 1 to December 31 to use them.
However, some benefits are based on the cardmember year, which is determined by when you open your account. The terms and conditions for the Hilton Aspire card specify that cardholders can receive up to $250 in statement credits for eligible purchases each “reward year,” which begins on your account opening date (for the first year) or the anniversary of your account opening date (for subsequent years). As Dan’s story illustrates, that’s not necessarily the same date your annual fee is billed.
Dan touches on another point that shouldn’t be overlooked: misunderstanding the terms proved costly, but he was only in that predicament because he waited until the last minute to redeem his benefit. Once annual benefits like statement credits or free night certificates expire, they’re generally gone for good, so whether they’re valid for the calendar year or cardmember year, make sure you use them while you can.
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.
I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing us to post it online), I’m sending Dan a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to email@example.com, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.
Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!
Featured photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees