How I blew a chance at a $250 credit — 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 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.
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 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 Stephanie Leblanc/Unsplash.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
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.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- 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.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- 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