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Frequent readers of this blog may have noticed that I primarily book most of my hotel stays with Hilton. Hilton has been my primary choice when it comes to hotel brands. While the program has some drawbacks, it still offers some fantastic opportunities to extract great value. Even since its launch, I’ve signed up for and carried the Hilton Aspire Card in my wallet. In my opinion, it gives Hilton loyalists some amazing value, way above and beyond its $550 annual fee. One of the most popular benefits with the Hilton Aspire credit card is the $400 resort credit. Here’s a detailed guide with FAQs on how the resort credit works along with examples of how I’ve used it over the years.

hilton credit

Using my free night certificate to stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

Moreover, American Express is offering fantastic limited time offers on all of their co-branded Hilton credit cards.

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Offer Application Link Complimentary Elite Status
Hilton Honors Card 70,000 points + 1 free night Apply Now Silver
Hilton Surpass Card 130,000 points + 1 free night Apply Now Gold
Hilton Aspire Card 175,000 points + 1 free night certificate Apply Now Diamond
Hilton Business Card 130,000 points Apply Now Gold

HILTON ASPIRE $400 RESORT CREDIT

Here’s what the official terms and conditions say:

Basic Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Members can receive up to a total of $200 in statement credits semi-annually (January through June; and July through December), for up to $400 back annually for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton Resorts on their Card Account.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

hilton credit

Spectacular views of Bangkok from the infinity pool atop Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, Thailand

HOW DO I ACTIVATE THIS BENEFIT?

You do not need to activate this benefit as it’s automatic.

IS THE $400 RESORT CREDIT APPLICABLE ONLY AT RESORTS IN THE US?

No, you can use this benefit at Hilton Hotels anywhere in the world, as long as Hilton classifies the property as a resort property. I’ve used this credit at resorts in Mexico, UAE, Maldives and India with no issue whatsoever.

hilton credit

You can use Hilton points to book all inclusive properties, like the Hilton Playa del Carmen, Mexico

I HAVE AN AUTHORIZED USER ON THIS CARD, WILL HIS/HER CARD ALSO BE ELIGIBLE?

Yes, if your authorized user makes a purchase, that will also trigger the credit. However, you’ll only get a combined total of $400 in credits each year, in installments of $200 each half way through the year, irrespective of how many authorized users you add.

HOW DO I FIND PROPERTIES THAT ARE ELIGIBLE?

Visit hilton.com/resorts in order to find properties that are eligible.

HOW OFTEN CAN I USE THIS CREDIT?

This credit is available to you twice each calendar year.

  • $200 from January 1 to June 30
  • $200 from July 1 to December 31
WHICH CHARGES QUALIFY AS A CREDIT?

You must make charges directly with the qualifying resort property in order for it to qualify as a credit. In practical terms, here’s how I’ve done it. While checking in, I usually place the Hilton Aspire Card as a card on file for incidental charges. While checking out, I confirm that all the amounts billed to my room have been charged to the card.

Here’s what the official terms and conditions say:

Eligible purchases must be made directly with a participating Hilton Resort and charged to a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card for the benefit to apply. Visit hilton.com/resorts for the list of participating Hilton Resorts. Advance Purchase Rates/Non-Refundable Rates are not eligible for the resort credit. Incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property) must be charged to your room and paid for with a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card for the benefit to apply.

In my experience, I’ve successfully used the credit to pay for airport pick up/drop, meals at on-property restaurants/bars, in-room dining as well as Spa services. In each of these cases, I’d explicitly asked the hotel to bill all the charges to my room and I paid for them with my Hilton Aspire card during check out.

Hilton Credit

My resort credit worked perfectly at the Conrad Maldives

HOW LONG DO THE CHARGES TAKE TO POST?

As per the official terms and conditions, the credit takes around 8-12 weeks to post.

Please allow 8-12 weeks after the eligible Hilton purchase is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the Account. Please call the number on the back of your Card if statement credits have not posted after 12 weeks from the date of purchase.

hilton credit

However, I’ve usually seen this credit post in less than a week after making a qualifying purchases. In some cases, it has also posted in 2-3 days. I’m yet to use the $200 in credits for the first half of 2024. However, over the years, I’ve had no issues in these credits posting quickly after making a qualifying purchase.

DOES THIS CREDIT APPLY IF MY STAY IS BOOKED ENTIRELY WITH POINTS OR FREE NIGHT CERTIFICATES?

Yes, it does! I’ve used my credit on award stays and the credit has posted without any issues.

CAN I USE THIS CREDIT TO PAY FOR BOOKING THE ACTUAL ROOM?

As per the terms and conditions, advance purchase rates aren’t eligible for the resort credit. However, certain data points indicate that people have had success calling a hotel prior to a stay and putting a $200 deposit on their card, only to later adjust it during check out. However, the success of this workaround largely depends on how the property codes the transaction and may not always trigger the credit.

Advance Purchase Rates/Non-Refundable Rates are not eligible for the resort credit.

THE PUNDIT’S MANTRA

In addition to the $400 resort credit, the Hilton Aspire card is packed with a ton of value. It also offers a $200 airline credit, split into $50 credit per quarter. You can refer to this post where I delve into the details of how it works. Moreover, you get an annual free night at any Hilton hotel worldwide for just renewing the card. To make things even better, you get top tier Hilton Diamond status just for keeping your card active!

If you sign up for the card now, you’ll get a welcome bonus of 175,000 points and a free annual night after you meet minimum spend, in addition to the recurring benefits outlined in the previous paragraph. Even if you try the card out in the first year, you can easily get value way above and beyond the annual fee of $550.

Apply Now for the 175,000 + 1 free night offer

At which property did you use your Hilton resort credit off late? Tell us in the comments section.

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