Middle Age Miles

Another Reason We Like Amex – Good New Targeted Spend Bonuses on Hilton Aspire & Ascend Cards

Executive Summary

Yesterday, Amex released targeted spend bonuses on its co-branded Hilton Aspire and Ascend cards. The bonus is up to a total of 40,000 Hilton Honors (HH) points for $4,000 spend. The bonus is broken up into 2 parts, which is nice – 20,000 HH points for the first $2,000 in spend, and another 20,000 HH points for the second $2,000 in spend. The offer is targeted; you should have received an email from Amex if you’re eligible. Spend must be completed by 12/25/2018. You must enroll in the promotion to receive the bonus.

Registration Details

We are not aware of a direct link to the offer landing page. If you’re targeted, you should have received an email from Amex with the subject line, “[Name], earn up to 40,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points.” You should enroll by clicking on the “Enroll Now” button in the email you received from Amex.

I received this offer on my Amex Hilton Ascend card. The enrollment process took a few steps.  When I clicked on the “Enroll Now” button, it took me to this landing page:

I didn’t see an RSVP Code in the email from Amex, so I clicked on “User ID and Password.” I entered my User Id and Password, but then I had to correctly answer 2 security questions before I could proceed. Once I completed the security questions, I received this screen:

I then clicked the “Enroll” button to successfully enroll in the offer and was presented with this confirmation page:

Full terms and conditions of this bonus points offer are as follows:

Our Analysis of the Amex-Hilton Bonus Offer

We’re assuming that if you have an Amex Hilton Aspire or Ascend card, you must find Hilton Honors points useful. And if you find Hilton Honors (HH) points useful, this is a really good offer. Pleasant surprises like this one out of the blue yesterday evening are one of the things we really like about Amex.

We give HH points a baseline value of 0.5 cents per point. Using that metric, 20,000 HH points are worth about $100. On $2,000 in spend, that’s an incremental 5% return on your spend, in addition to the base earnings on the Aspire or Ascend cards.

As a reminder, the Aspire earns:

  • 14x HH points/dollar at Hilton properties (7% return using our baseline value of 0.5 cents per HH point)
  • 7x HH points/dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or at amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly with select car rental companies, and US restaurants (3.5% return)
  • 3x HH points/dollar on all other purchases (1.5% return)

And the Ascend earns:

  • 12x HH points/dollar at Hilton properties (6% return)
  • 6x HH points/dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations (3% return)
  • 3x HH points/dollar on all other purchases (1.5% return)

Thus, if you hit the spending bonus thresholds using entirely unbonused spend, you’re getting a return of about 6.5%, which is great. Your return can be even higher if some or all of your spend is in bonus categories.

[Note that Amex has been disqualifying certain gift card purchases from earning points recently. If you’re buying GCs directly from Amex or at a Simon Mall, I wouldn’t count on those purchases counting toward the bonus thresholds. On the other hand, if you’re buying third-party gift cards at Office Depot, Staples, Lowe’s, or the like, we expect that spend to count as we have not seen data points where Amex has excluded purchases like that.]

One thing that I find unclear in the terms and conditions is whether a single $4,000+ purchase would trigger the entire 40,000-point bonus, or whether separate “batches” of $2,000 purchases are required. My guess would be that a single $4,000+ purchase would trigger the entire bonus, but I’m certainly not sure. For safety’s sake, we’ll be making sure that we hit $2,000+ in spend, then another $2,000+ in spend.

With respect to the timing of when your bonus points will post to your Hilton Honors account, the terms and conditions say that they should post within 8 weeks after December 1, 2018, which would be in late January 2019. We’ll note that the last time we completed a similar promotion, it took quite a while for the points to post, at or near the end of the period listed in the terms and conditions. That said, our experience with Amex is mixed – sometimes points post remarkably quickly, and sometimes they take a very long time.

We hope you’re targeted for this nice bonus offer, and we hope you can hit it with your holiday shopping or other spend to beef up your Hilton Honors point balance!


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