Let’s All Rationalize Another $450 Credit Card

In my Chicago Seminars talk I listed one of my upcoming tasks as to sort out my premium card situation.

I have Amex Business Platinum, Citi Prestige, and City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite.

I have toyed with an Amex Charles Schwab Platinum, the Chase Ritz-Carlton card, heck, even the UBS card.

It’s so easy to rationalize spending all this money on fees by convincing myself the value of benefits and the effort to maximize them are justified.

Hilton Honors American Express New CardsHere’s comes the Hilton Aspire and suddenly, though I have never stayed at a Hilton resort, I will be rationalizing a $250 stay. Frequent Miler’s analysis hinges on this point (and that the card does not have the spend-friendly category bonuses on the old Surpass/new Ascend).

Then there’s that annual weekend night cert. Single night certs are a recipe for marriage disharmony unless you are marriage to someone equally into miles and points. My wife is not interested in changing hotels the next night. So then we are off on the chase of having 2 cards or me spending $60,000/year on the card without good category bonuses.

Here’s from the press release, let the rationalization begin!

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card:

  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio with your new Card and each year of Card Membership
  • A second Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $60,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • Unlimited Priority Pass™Lounge passes to ease the airport experience
  • $250 Airline incidental fee statement credit
  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit
  • $100 on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking the exclusive Aspire Card package
  • Access to 24/7 American Express concierge
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee

The other cards are:

Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card:

  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. grocery stores, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status; Earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $15,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • 10 free Priority Pass™Lounge passes to ease the airport experience
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

Hilton Honors American Express Card:

  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. grocery stores, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status; Earn Gold status after spending $20,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card:

  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status; Earn Diamond status after spending $40,000  in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $15,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • A second Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $60,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • 10 free Priority Pass™Lounge passes to ease the airport experience and get work done more easily and comfortably while waiting for a flight
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

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  • All good points (pardon the pun) but the status is not worth all that much. Anyone that would get very much value from Hilton status is someone who stays at Hilton properties. Hilton status is also easy to get through other methods. It’s like having AA Concierge Key but you only fly once a year. Sure it’s nice but if you don’t use it you don’t get the true value. If you are hotel captive by corporate policy, etc. then these make sense but then again if your company is that controlling they likely make you pay with a crappy green amex corporate card and also make you book the stays through someone like carlson or concur so you don’t even get the app booking bonuses, etc.

  • Gosh I sound bitter can you guess what my company travel policy is like 🙂

  • Mike

    With a $250 airline credit and a signup bonus (I don’t see that covered here) I think this card is a winner at least for the first year.

  • Sign-up bonuses have not been officially announced that I have seen, though rumor is that the Aspire will be 125,000.

  • Russ

    My wife is not interested in changing hotels the next night.

    You nailed it here!

  • Michael Karpiel

    I have the Citi Hilton Reserve card and the Amex Surpass card (recently after the Citi/Amex announcement). I’ve qualified in the past as Hilton Diamond based on number of nights but missed it last year so I have the Gold guaranteed with the current cards. Definitely will look to the Aspire card as Diamond status is well worth it for Hilton (my preferred vendor) and the $500 in credits covers the $450 fee and gets a free night without the spend. So for me it’s an absolute winner.

  • Ryan Booth

    I can spend 40k on grocery-store MS and do just fine with the Surpass/Ascend. The $450 card would only be worth it to me for a signing bonus. The business card, though, might be a keeper.

  • I’m also on a fence here. I had Diamond for a year, and never managed to get upgraded beyond what I would’ve gotten with Gold. Besides, think of all newly minted Diamonds after the card hits the streets.