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Amex Hilton Aspire

Discussion in 'Hilton Grand Vacations Club / HGVC' started by Julian926, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. 1Kflyerguy

    1Kflyerguy TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    At a certain point, if you have to get value by booking and canceling tickets, adding a pet, etc it becomes too much work... I am hoping the southwest gift cards still work...
     
  2. brp

    brp TUG Member

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    Because we're moving a fair bit of travel to AS (going to maintain status with AA, BA and AS next year :)), it's worth the little bit to book and cancel 3 flights for that. When we were flying more Southwest, we did go the GC route, though.

    Cheers.
     
    1Kflyerguy likes this.
  3. hurnik

    hurnik TUG Member

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    It's mostly airline specific.
    Delta, AA, Southwest, and to a certain extent AS work well.
    United, not so much.

    The gotcha with AA is that their GC have restrictions (much more so than the others, IMO). Delta, can only redeem 3 GC per ticket.
    But I'd think Southwest would work quite well for you.
     
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  4. brp

    brp TUG Member

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    Other than not being able to use the AA GC on the AAVacations packages (which are the best deal going), I've not noticed them to be particularly restrictive.

    Cheers.
     
  5. Sky313

    Sky313 TUG Member

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    Anyone have good recs for using the weekend night? Went to maui last year. Looking for other ideas
     
  6. CalGalTraveler

    CalGalTraveler TUG Member

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    Look at Waldorf and Conrad locations for ideas. We used for Bev Hills, NYC, San Diego, and Rome in the past.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
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  7. hurnik

    hurnik TUG Member

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    Unlike Delta and Southwest, the AA gift cards can only be used on tickets that originate in the US (so if you're say, flying Southwest into CUN, but AA from CZM, you can't use the gift cards).
    And also the entire flight must be 100% AA metal, and there's the weird rules/restrictions regarding how the flight is listed (we have a lot of commuter jets from ALB, so they're "operated by so and so" and sometimes can't use the gift cards on those either.
     
  8. Tamaradarann

    Tamaradarann TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Those are great places to use the free night, however, unless you can make that night extend a longer planned vacation or can drive or take inexpensive public transportation like we can from Long Island to NYC, using the free night can become a challenge. You certainly wouldn't want to fly to Rome to just use the free night for a 1 night stay.

    Also, when extending a vacation it must be used on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. We had an occasion to use it for a night to extend a vacation but it would have been a week night.
     
  9. brp

    brp TUG Member

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    True. But a domestic location for a 1 night trip is imminently doable.

    Cheers.
     
  10. CalGalTraveler

    CalGalTraveler TUG Member

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    Agree that 1 night is less useful as standalone unless you want to stay in a location close to home. Biggest benefit is when spouse also gets the card so you get 2 nights. If you own a business you can also get a business card to make 3 nights.

    Also good for airport stays for layovers/positioning flights as those nights can be expensive.

    Lastly, we found great use as add-on to weekday TS stays where weekend points in HGVC are double weekday rates. A bit inconvenient to change hotels but sometimes can put you closer to other attractions.

    e.g.

    NYC: W57, Residences TS points weekday; Embassy Suites or Hilton Times Square weekend free stay.

    Park City Skiing: Sunrise weekdays; Hampton Inn Cottonwood or other Hilton (Close to Alta/Snowbird etc.) weekend free stay.

    Valdoro skiing?...

    We do the same with our SPG/Marriott free nights (we get 3 nights currently from me/spouse/biz card) and 2 IHG cards but these have been significantly devalued recently so we may cancel - especially the IHG cards which devalued from booking Intercontinental to now Holiday Inns (which my DH despises).
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  11. PigsDad

    PigsDad TUG Member

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    Just FYI, there is a DoubleTree by Hilton about a block from Valdoro.

    Kurt
     
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  12. 1Kflyerguy

    1Kflyerguy TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    So far i have used my weekend certs in San Francisco. We live in San Jose, but go San Francisco frequently for stage shows, and Giants games. We don't always spend the night, but a few times a year we like to make a long weekend out of it.

    Its not the most exciting, but i find value as the hotels are usually around $300 plus a night.
     
  13. Slalom

    Slalom Guest

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    ....and a Doubltree in Park City, a couple miles from the Sunrise...not ski-in-ski-out unfortunately, but an ok property.
     
  14. Remy

    Remy TUG Member

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    I've stayed a couple times at this Doubletree when I couldn't get that additional day or two at Valdoro. Its about 900 feet door to door and easily walkable across a small parking lot to the lift. The place has undergone a renovation since rebranding as a Doubletree and I've had excellent free upgrades as a Gold and Diamond. The rooms are huge, including a 2 King Bed option. It is typically 60k points during ski season for cash rate nights that are under $300. If you book today, Christmas week of 2019 is $112 a night, or 42k points, for a Queen.

    Also very interested in checking out the renovated and rebranded Doubletree in Vail. It's typically at 80k points per night for cash rates in the $450 range.
     
  15. PigsDad

    PigsDad TUG Member

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    I just booked a two King room there for 60K Honors points, and the cash rate was $350. Not bad! I'll see if I get upgraded (Diamond), which would be sweet.

    Kurt
     
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  16. Remy

    Remy TUG Member

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    Don't quote me on this since the renovation, but the last time I had a 2 King, it had a pull-out Queen too. Can't overstate how huge these rooms are. The restaurant breakfast is also excellent. I hope you enjoy your trip!
     
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  17. GT75

    GT75 Moderator

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    I actually had a backup reservation there Jan 1-5 and the rates for 60K Honors points, and the cash rate was $550. I agree, I think that is pretty good rates. I ended up staying in Silverthorne in BIL condo, now that was even better rates, free.
     
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  18. frank808

    frank808 TUG Member

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    We use it for a long weekend at Grand Wailea. Wife and I both have the Aspire and I have the Ascend. Charge our HGVC mf to Aspire to get the 14pts per dollar and recoup our $250 apiece from Hilton purchases (hopefully). Then we use the $250 for our United airline trips. Just using this card for mf, we get two free weekend nights and Amex is saving us $100 plus all the HH pesos we earn. Then I make $15k in charges to the Ascend to get the third weekend night for $95. Then cards get put away until next year maintenace fees are due. Unless Amex sends us an offer to spend x amount of dollars for bonus HH pesos.

    Sent from my SM-T217S using Tapatalk
     
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  19. brp

    brp TUG Member

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    I should probably know this as I manage the card perks, but mrs. brp is the one with the Aspire, and I don't recall the details as well for this one:

    So, she gets 1 weekend night/year to use anywhere. I understand that part.
    The "Just using this card for mf, we get two free weekend nights and Amex is saving us $100" part I don't quite get (or recall...maybe it is something I used to know :)). Can you elaborate.

    Our strategy across cards (and I probably already said some of this up-thread :))

    Me:
    Chase Sapphire Reserve for most spent the Chase points transfer well to things we want to use, $300 travel credit for any expenses, Priority Pass membership
    Amex Platinum - mainly keep now for Centurion Lounge access (still thinking about this). $200 in airline credits that I get for AS purchase/cancellation, $200 Uber credits, which do come in handy
    Marriott Reserve (something or other) - For Marriott Gold status and a free night. Little spend
    Hyatt Card - free night, no real spend; night worth more than annual fee

    mrs brp:
    Hyatt card - free night, most spend as their points are actually worth something for stays. Also, can get status based on spend.
    Aspire - Resort fee (will ty on MFs next month), $250 airline credit (currently doind WN, likely to move to AS after getting MVP Gold next year), minimal spend

    Cheers.
     
  20. frank808

    frank808 TUG Member

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    You are on the right track BRP. This is what I do with the Aspire.

    Aspire
    $250 HGVC mf rebate
    $250 United Airlines rebate
    $500 rebate I get from Amex for a $450 annual fee. So in essence, I save $50 per card($100 for both of us). Get 2 free weekend nights and the 14x HH pesos on mf for just using aspire card.

    This only works if you have a use for the airline rebate. We use this up on united for seat upgrades, in flight purchases, luggage, etc. As a family, we easily spend this much with united every year anyway so consider the $250 per card a savings. This year, instead of paying the $450 united club card fee, might cancell that and pay for club lounge membership with our aspire cards instead.

    If you don't use a particular airline and spend $500, the dynamics would be different.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     
  21. CalGalTraveler

    CalGalTraveler TUG Member

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    @frank808 so you have 2 cards? 1 for you and one for spouse?

    Aspire is a great card, however my fear is that they will increase the fee next year just when we get this in place for both of us.

    Our wallet now is primarily:

    CSV - (2x) love the travel credits, love the primary car insurance, 3x Uber for my college kids, the evacuation insurance up to $100k and the option to transfer points to UAL, or Hyatt or use the travel portal and still get airline credits. Will keep but may downsize to 1 + AU
    Southwest Cards (for Companion Passes)
    Hilton Aspire (spend bonus, MF only)
    Freedom and Discover - 5 x bonuses - had forever - free
    Costco Citi - 4x gas, 3x travel 2x Costco - had forever - free

    Sock drawer/Downsize
    All SPG cards (3) - Pay Vistana MF get credits, Marriott Gold (Lux) Free nights (may cancel personal cards if no decent free hotel use at 35k)
    All IHG cards (2) - Free Nights (may cancel with recent devaluation) but only $49 AF.
    United (1) - good for free bag, priority boarding and award availability. - keep
    Alaska (1) - Companion pass to HI. But if SWA works better/cheaper may cancel.

    Considering:
    A 2% card such as Fidelity - with all of the travel devaluations cash is becoming king. Would use for all non-bonus spend. No AF which makes this a keeper.

    Aspire Card for DH
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  22. brp

    brp TUG Member

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    @frank808 - OK, so the two nights are from having two cards. I misunderstood that part.

    As to the airline, it can be used for air travel, as outlined above, and we easily spend more than that on any number of airlines, so getting those rebates is no problem.

    We get $450 in airline rebates ($250 for her Aspire, $200 for my Amex Plat). Could actually make sense for me to get Aspire as well since I could also get the $500 back for $450 spend. Gonna wait and see if MFs continue to trigger the Resort Spend ($250). If not, actually spending $500 split across two "resort" properties within a year could be tough.
     
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  23. frank808

    frank808 TUG Member

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    I hope the annual mf gets the $250 hilton rebate. Would be hard for us to spend $500 as well. Some HGVC stays trigger rebate and some don't. I have stays at Hokulani trigger rebate and a long weekend at Grand Wailea and Grand Islander didn't. I did call and Amex rep said there was something wrong with my account as it should have triggered it. Put in a ticket to have this fixed.

    Don't know if that helped as my next HGVC stay was at Grand Islander a week ago.


    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
     
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  24. giowop

    giowop Guest

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    We were planning a trip to Phoenix for Valentine's Day and were going to use one at the Biltmore Waldorf. The reward-eligible room would have cost $380 a night.
     
  25. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    Marriott's Barony Beach Club, Hilton Head
    Marriott Destination Club Trust Points
    HGVC at Sea World
    We're using mine to add one night at the Hilton Waikoloa hotel at the end of our Hawaii trip in Feb/Mar, after checking out from a week at HGVC Kohala Suites, that allowed us to get a much cheaper air fare home by leaving Kona on Sunday instead of Saturday. So, air fare savings, plus one free extra night in Hawaii - win-win.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 1:23 PM
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