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Last week, American Express made some changes to two of their co-branded credit cards with Hilton. For details on all the changes, please refer to this post. Amex made some significant changes to the Hilton Aspire card, including an update to the card design. The change that piqued my interest the most was the introduction of a new airline credit as opposed to the airline fee credit previously offered on the airline.

New Airline Credit

Earlier, with the Airline fee credit, one had to select an airline. However, one could only choose from a list of US based airlines. While we always knew that there were some workarounds, I always found the benefit very cumbersome to use given that most of my travel is international in nature.

The new credit is no longer an airline ‘fee’ credit but a simple airline credit for buying flights. Amex has now divided this airline credit into four chunks of $50 each quarter. Since the benefit was already active on my card after Amex made the changes, I decided to test it out.

Qualifying Charges

Get up to $50 in statement credits each quarter, for a total of up to $200 back each year, on flight purchases made directly with an airline or through amextravel.com using your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
As per the terms and conditions, you’ll earn the credit when you make a qualifying purchase directly with an airline or with amextravel.com. The following purchases are excluded.
Eligible purchases do not include: charter flights, private jet flights, flights that are part of tours, cruises, or travel packages or ticketing or similar service fees, ticket cancellation or change fees, interest charges, or purchases of cash equivalents.

You DO NOT need to activate the benefit. I decided to test the benefit out for myself. I needed to make an award booking on the Air Canada website and charged the taxes and fees to my Hilton Aspire card.

airline credit

I charged award taxes and fees to my card to test the benefit out

The charge posted to my card on October 20.

On October 25, the credit posted to my account.

airline credit

The credit posted to my account after 5 days

The Pundit’s Mantra

Overall, I’m really glad that Amex has made this change. While it would’ve been better if the credit was annual as opposed to quarterly, but this is still better than the previous workaround one had to deal with. Going forward, I plan to simply purchase flights or pay for award flight taxes and fees each quarter.

Now I’d love to see American Express make the same change to the airline fee credit on the Amex Platinum Card. However, I’m not quite sure that will happen.

As someone who has carried the Hilton Aspire card in his wallet ever since it was launched, I see this benefit to be really handy for frequent travelers. Moreover, you also earn 7x Hilton points per dollar since the purchase codes as an airfare purchase. Since one doesn’t need to activate the benefit, I found it pretty easy to use. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to use the benefit every quarter.

airline credit

This handy sidebar on the right tells if you if you’ve already used up the credit

What’s your take on the revamped Hilton credit cards by American Express? Do you prefer this new airline credit better to the previous airline fee credit? Tell us in the comments section.



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