Skip to content

I tried out the new Hilton Honors 'breakfast' benefit — and I'm a fan

Sept. 02, 2021
6 min read
I tried out the new Hilton Honors 'breakfast' benefit — and I'm a fan
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.

A few weeks ago, I was reviewing my credit card tracking spreadsheet when I realized I had a couple of unused perks on my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. First, I had a pair of Hilton free-night certificates, and one of them was going to expire on Jan. 3, 2022. In addition, I hadn't used any of my $250 Hilton resort credit for the year — which would reset as of Oct. 28, my account anniversary.

The information for the Hilton Aspire 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.

And when I remembered that I also had a targeted Amex Offer for $50 off a $250 purchase at Hilton Hotels, Curio Collection properties and Canopy hotels, there was only one thing to do: plan an impromptu trip with my family.

After some research, we landed on the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa in Florida — a three-hour drive across the state from our house. We snagged a standard room for the weekend with those two free-night certificates on my account. The stay would've otherwise set us back nearly $1,000, including a $35 resort fee that Hilton Honors (thankfully) waives on award stays.

Related: The award traveler’s guide to Hilton Honors

However, I was also interested in putting the program's new breakfast benefit to the test. I have Hilton Honors Diamond status courtesy of my Aspire card, and this would be my first stay at a property where I'd receive a daily food-and-beverage credit as opposed to a complimentary continental breakfast.

And after one stay, I'm a big fan.

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

We loved our meal at the Hilton Marco Island's restaurant — including pre-dinner drinks in the lounge area. (Photo by Nick Ewen/The Points Guy)

In the past, I always felt obligated to eat breakfast in the hotel restaurant, since it was a perk of my status and a decent way to start the day with a full stomach. That said, a number of these meals were far from outstanding. Sure, many properties would allow us to enjoy a full, hot breakfast with no upcharge — but this often consisted of a buffet with the option to add a made-to-order egg dish or omelet.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Even putting aside coronavirus-related concerns with a shared buffet, that's still not exactly an inspiring option.

To make matters worse, these restaurants would sometimes close down their offerings mid-morning. We like to have a leisurely start to the day in our room on vacation — with a cup of coffee, the news and some quality family time. Setting an alarm or feeling rushed to make it to a less-than-stellar breakfast before it closes at 9:30 a.m. or something isn't our idea of relaxation.

Now, that "pressure" to eat the complimentary breakfast is gone — replaced with a much more flexible perk that was simple to utilize.

Since our room was 'free', we knew that we needed to spend at least $500 on property to make the most of the Aspire card's resort credit ($250) plus the Amex Offer ($50 off $250). As a result, we made a dinner reservation at The Deck at 560 — the hotel's restaurant — for 7 p.m. on Saturday in the hopes of catching a beautiful sunset.

While the weather left us disappointed, the food (and service) did not.

Our ceviche starter was delicious, and my wife's grouper entree was terrific. Meanwhile, I tucked into cioppino for my meal — an Italian seafood stew served in a creamy, tomato-basil-coconut broth with crusty garlic bread. And it was simply outstanding.

Related: These are the best Hilton credit cards

My cioppino was outstanding — and $24 less expensive thanks to the food-and-beverage credit. (Photo by Nick Ewen/The Points Guy)

But our server was the best part of the experience. Jonathan was friendly, knowledgeable and very attentive (without being overbearing) throughout the meal.

With a bottle of wine, the pair of desserts we took back to the room plus tax and tip, our bill came to roughly $215 — and at checkout, $24 of that cost was wiped from our folio — effectively a discount of over 11%. Of course, 11% isn't life-changing but $24 saved is $24 saved.

The next morning, we were up a bit early, and since the property was full, we couldn't get a late checkout. A friend had recommended a local brunch spot (Doreen's Cup of Joe), so we again weren't interested in a full breakfast at the hotel. However, there was a small market just off the lobby, so I grabbed an egg wrap to share and hold us until we sat down at the restaurant. We also picked up a pair of Diet Cokes for the drive home and a jar of gummy bears for our daughter.

The total cost was $25.68 — of which $24 was taken off my final bill.

(Screenshot courtesy of Hilton Hotels)

All told, we enjoyed $48 worth of food and drinks during our two-night stay ($12 per person per day) — but instead of being forced into a specific use, we got to pick how and when to spend it. We saved $24 on our fantastic dinner, and then spent less than $2 out of pocket for a pre-brunch snack plus drinks and goodies for the car ride home.

It's true that the on-property market was pricey, but the grab-and-go option was exactly what we wanted — and it allowed us to enjoy yet another outstanding meal (this time off property) that we would've missed if we had been "forced" into breakfast at the hotel.

And that's the entire point of this perk: offering flexibility for guests to pick the food-and-beverage options that work for them.

Sure, there are some properties out there where the daily credit won't cover the breakfast for those who still value that perk, and a single anecdote isn't enough to declare this change universally better for Gold and Diamond members. It's also worth noting that this new credit only applies to U.S. locations — international properties still provide free breakfast (and those are generally much nicer).

Nevertheless, my first experience using the new perk was quite positive — and I'm already looking forward to trying it out again on my next trip.

Featured image by (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
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.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
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

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
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 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more