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TravelHow to maximize the new statement credits on the Hilton Surpass, Aspire...

How to maximize the new statement credits on the Hilton Surpass, Aspire and Business cards


In October 2023, American Express revamped the mid-tier Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and top-tier Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Meanwhile, in March 2024, American Express refreshed The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card (with changes that were overall negative).

Along with higher annual fees (see rates and fees for the Surpass, Aspire and Business) and the removal of lounge access, Amex has introduced new and revamped statement credits on the three cards.

Savvy points-and-miles enthusiasts have probably wondered the best strategy to get the most out of these credits. On the surface, they seem somewhat restrictive, but as you’ll read below, they may have more flexibility than you think.

We originally published this guide in November 2023 but have updated it with how to get the most out of the new credit on the Business card.

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.

Hilton credit on the Surpass

With the Surpass, cardmembers now receive up to $50 each quarter in statement credits (up to $200 annually) when using the card for eligible Hilton purchases.

The terms and conditions state:

…for eligible purchases charged directly with a property within the Hilton portfolio on their Card Account, including bookings and incidental charges. For a booking to be eligible for a statement credit, the booking must be made directly through a reservation channel operated by Hilton. Bookings or purchases made through a third party other than Hilton, such as an online travel website, will not be eligible for statement credit(s)…For an incidental charge (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property) to be eligible for a statement credit, the incidental charge must be charged to your room and paid for with your Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card at checkout.

AMERICAN EXPRESS

That means that you can receive the credit for:

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  • Bookings directly through the Hilton website or app (but not through third-party channels like an online travel agency such as Expedia or the Chase Travel℠ portal)
  • Incidental purchases charged to the room, including dining purchases, room service and spa treatments

This indicates that you must stay at the hotel to receive the statement credit.

However, we have received data points that the following purchases have also triggered the statement credit, even when you’re not staying at a hotel:

  • Gift store purchases at a Hilton property
  • Dining purchases at a restaurant in a Hilton property
  • Hilton online gift card purchases

For example, TPG managing editor Clint Henderson recently went on a trip to Montreal, Canada. He wasn’t staying at the Hampton Inn By Hilton Montreal Downtown but popped in for a quick bite, and his purchase triggered the credit two days later.

Of course, your mileage may vary depending on how the merchant or individual property codes your purchase. However, it does give hope that you can maximize the up to $50 credit every quarter even if you don’t stay at a Hilton property every quarter.

Flight credit on the Aspire

In place of the old $250 airline fee credit is a new up to $50 quarterly statement credit (up to $200 annually) on eligible flight purchases made directly with an airline or through amextravel.com.

The terms and conditions state:

…for eligible purchases of airfare made directly with an airline or through amextravel.com. To be eligible for this benefit, an airfare purchase must be for a scheduled flight on a passenger carrier and purchased directly from the airline or through amextravel.com. 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.

AMERICAN EXPRESS

That means that you can receive the credit for:

  • Airfare purchases directly with the airline
  • Airfare purchases through Amex Travel

This indicates that incidental charges such as award ticket taxes and fees, seat upgrades and change or cancellation fees do not trigger the credit.

However, we have received data points that the following purchases have also triggered the statement credit:

  • Seat upgrades
  • Award taxes and fees
  • United TravelBank purchases

TPG director of content Nick Ewen received the credit for a seat upgrade to Delta Comfort+ (received after seven days). Former points and miles reporter Kyle Olsen was able to trigger the credit with a $50 United TravelBank purchase (after seven days). And credit cards writer Danyal Ahmed received the credit by using his card to pay for the taxes and fees on an American Airlines flight redemption using Etihad Guest miles (after six days).

Again, your mileage may vary depending on how the individual airline codes your purchase.

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.

Other Aspire statement credits

The new up to $189 Clear Plus statement credit is available on an annual basis.

And there is a $200 biannual Hilton resort statement credit to be used every six months. This credit can only be used at select Hilton resorts worldwide (numbering under 350), including beach, all-inclusive, luxury, golf and spa resorts. TPG managing editor for credit cards Matt Moffitt used his credit at the Hilton Vallarta Riviera All-Inclusive Resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in the first half of 2024.

Hilton credit on the Hilton Honors Business

With the Hilton Honors Business, cardmembers now receive up to $60 each quarter in statement credits (up to $240 annually) when using the card for Hilton purchases.

The terms and conditions state:

…for eligible purchases charged directly with a property within the Hilton portfolio on their Card Account, including bookings and incidental charges. For a booking to be eligible for a statement credit, the booking must be made directly through a reservation channel operated by Hilton. For incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property) to be eligible for a statement credit, the incidental charge must be charged to your room and paid for with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card at checkout.

THE POINTS GUY

Like the Surpass credit, this means that you can receive the credit for:

  • Bookings made directly through the Hilton website or app (but not through third-party channels like an online travel agency such as Expedia or the Chase travel portal)
  • Incidental purchases charged to the room, including dining purchases, room service and spa treatments

However, we have received data points that the following purchases have also triggered the statement credit, even when you’re not staying at a hotel:

  • Gift store purchases at a Hilton property
  • Dining purchases at a restaurant in a Hilton property
  • Hilton online gift card purchases

For example, TPG managing editor Matt Moffitt purchased a gift card using his Hilton Honors Business card it triggered the credit two days later. Note that these gift cards are physical ones, not delivered digitally, so you’ll need to wait for them to arrive in the mail.

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.

Bottom line

Unsurprisingly, the new and revamped statement credits on the Hilton Surpass, Aspire and Business cards seem to have stricter terms and conditions on paper than in practice.

If you’re a Surpass or Hilton Honors Business cardmember and don’t want to be forced to stay at a Hilton property four times a year, it seems you can max out your quarterly credit by visiting a Hilton hotel and either dining there or picking something up from the gift store. Alternatively, you could try buying a Hilton gift card online.

And if you have the Aspire, the easiest way to max out your $50 quarterly flight credit is to reload your United TravelBank balance. You can also try to use your card to purchase seat upgrades or pay for the taxes and fees on an award ticket.

It all comes down to how a property or airline codes your purchase, so we recommend trying a smaller purchase first, waiting up to a week to see if the statement credit is triggered, and, if so, making a larger purchase.

Related: How to get maximum value from Hilton free night certificates

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Surpass, click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire, click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Business, click here.

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