How I blew a chance at a $250 credit — reader mistake story

Feb 7, 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.

Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Christina, who missed an important stipulation of one of her credit card benefits:

I’m a Hilton loyalist, and I was jazzed to start using my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, which I got for the Diamond status and in anticipation of an upcoming trip to Europe. I was particularly looking forward to using the [up to] $250 statement credit for staying at an eligible Hilton resort. I went through the recommended search portal and booked two nights at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace using a sale rate (full purchase in advance) that was offered.

Later that night, when reading the fine print for the Aspire benefits, I noticed it said “Advance Purchase Rates/Non-Refundable Rates are not eligible for the resort credit.” So even if you use the recommended search portal to find an eligible property, you have to make sure you’re booking a rate that will allow for use of the credits. I’ve called Hilton three times to see if they’ll let me change to a more expensive refundable rate … so far no luck. Hopefully this helps someone else avoid making the same mistake!

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

I give Christina credit for taking the initiative to read about her card benefits; understanding how they work will help her maximize their value in the long run, but the time to research benefit terms and conditions is before using them, not after. When you apply for a new credit card or reach a new tier of elite status, taking a few minutes to review the salient details can help you avoid confusion and disappointment later. If you’re primarily interested in getting a card for just one or two benefits, then make sure you thoroughly understand the rules that govern those benefits before you even apply.

The good news for Christina is that she still has the remainder of her cardmember year to use her resort credit. The benefit covers incidentals (like meals and spa services) charged to your room at eligible properties, so she may have opportunities to use it during her stay at Versailles after all. Furthermore, Amex recently added trip cancellation protection to the Aspire card (and others), so assuming she booked in 2020, she won’t be on the hook for that nonrefundable rate if she has to cancel her stay for a covered reason.

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: 5 great Hilton Honors redemptions in Europe

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 Christina 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, 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 Stephanie Leblanc/Unsplash.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*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 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

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.