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A Honeymoon Stay on the Wrong Nights — Reader Mistake Story

April 12, 2019
5 min read
A Honeymoon Stay on the Wrong Nights — Reader Mistake Story
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Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Ryan, who misunderstood the terms of a Hilton free night certificate:

My fiancée and I are getting married on Oahu this summer and decided to take a short honeymoon to Maui, since we don't have time for a longer vacation. We had both signed up for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and thought we would use our free annual night to stay at the Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort on Maui. Nights at the Grand Wailea were running over $600 after resort fees and taxes, so we were excited to stay at a high-end resort and save much more than the $450 annual fee (see: rates & fees) for the Aspire card. However, we made some mistakes in our planning.

Our first mistake was to book our flight before booking our room at the Grand Wailea. Due to flight prices, we decided to catch a red-eye out of Maui on Saturday night, arriving back on the mainland on Sunday. That was a few hundred dollars cheaper than flying out on Sunday morning.

Our second mistake was that after booking our flight, we waited two days before we got around to booking the hotel. It was only then we realized the free night certificate on the Aspire card is only redeemable for weekend nights. Since we're flying out on Saturday night, we can only use one of our free nights, meaning we have to either use another payment method or stay elsewhere for our first night. We were already outside the 24-hour cancellation period for our flights, so we couldn't cancel or change our tickets without paying a fee.

We have not yet decided what we'll do. We're considering paying for an additional night at the Grand Wailea — we could use our $250 resort credit to help subsidize the cost of the hotel night, but we'd still be paying close to $400. Alternatively, we are considering trying to stay at another hotel and then move to the Grand Wailea for the one night. We hope others can learn from our mistakes.

Among the wide variety of stories I get from readers, the most common mistakes involve simply failing to read the fine print. Hilton free night certificates offered by the Aspire card (and others) are only valid on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights. Amex clearly markets those free nights as "weekend night rewards" and defines which nights are eligible in the terms and conditions, so any expectation they could be redeemed on weeknights amounts to an oversight by Ryan and his fiancée. I point this out not to chastise them, but to illustrate how attention to detail can help you avoid similar pitfalls in your own travels.

There are a few bits of good news for Ryan and his fiancée if they decide to pay for a second night at the Grand Wailea. First, since they each have an Aspire card, they could split payment across the two cards at checkout and redeem both of their up to $250 resort credits for a total of $500 toward their stay. Second, they may be able to lower their out-of-pocket costs further with some of the current Amex Offers for Hilton stays, one of which is a $100 statement credit for spending $500 or more at Waldorf Astoria properties.

Finally, redeeming Aspire resort credits won't prevent them from earning points. Between their bonus for Diamond status and the increased earning rate on the Aspire card, they can earn 34 points per dollar spent on their room rate, along with additional points depending on what sort of bonus promotion Hilton offers this summer. If they spend $500 on the room (not including taxes and fees), they'll net at least 17,000 points — that should soften the blow of having to pay for the additional night.

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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 me to post it online), I’m sending Ryan a $200 airline 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 info@thepointsguy.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!

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.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex Aspire Card, please click here.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Grand Wailea)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
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  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023