Is The American Express Aspire Worth Keeping After Year 1
So the $450 annual fee just hit on my Aspire card. I have called the Aspire card the best perks card on the market in the past. I honestly thought American Express would devalue it by year two but they haven’t and it still holds that title in my opinion. That should make this a simple decision, right? The card is offering me more value than I am paying for, if I max out the perks, so why debate it? High annual fees drive me crazy and the earning structure for card is not the greatest which gives me pause.
Details on the Card
A quick back of the napkin math reveals the following to me. For $450 I would get the following tangible value:
- $250 airline incidental credit worth around $200 in cash even though it has become more difficult to use.
- The free night cert is worth a minimum of $250 to me but it most likely much more valuable.
- The $250 resort credit is worth around $200 to me as well on average. I would most likely use it on room rates in Orlando so the value is probably actually $250 this year but I am going on average value. I discount it since it is available only at certain resorts and if you use it on food and beverage the prices are usually 20% higher than off property options.
The finally tally is a minimum of $650 in value for a $450 price tag. That also doesn’t include the other perks like Diamond status or the Priority Pass membership etc. where the true value is a very personal equation since it varies widely. Seems like a no brainer, getting a minimum of 30% off upcoming travel is pretty great. But I hate paying anything for travel so I resist. Although I have become more willing to take advantage of these options with banks cracking down and making point accrual more difficult.
Should I Close It?
Whenever the annual fee is large this question needs to be considered. But with the value it offers, the downgrade options, and Amex making up the rules as they go along I don’t need another card closure on my record.
I still have the no fee Hilton card, my oldest Amex card, so the other option would be to downgrade to the Ascend card (learn more). Now I love the Ascend card because of its earning structure and it is actually a great everyday card. I also am depleting my Hilton Honors stash quicker than I am replacing it since the Aspire doesn’t get much use.
If I were to downgrade I would save $355 in annual fees and would be able to earn a free night after $15,000 in spend. That would net me a free night and at least 45,000 Hilton points, but likely much more than that. That option does come with $15,000 in spend and I am already working on $15K for mine and my wife’s World of Hyatt credit card for that free night. That would lock me into $45,000 in spend if I went for all three and I don’t know if I want to tie up that kind of spend.
My wife also has the Aspire card from her upgrade offer so I could downgrade one and keep the other for the perks. That muddies the waters some for me.
I am leaning towards keeping the card because the value is supreme and I know for a fact I will use the resort credit this year. I think that is where the value point hinges. If you are unable to easily use the resort credit, it is pretty restrictive, then you may be better off downgrading. Since I know for sure that I can use the credit it puts me into the plus side of things.
I still plan on calling American Express just to see what kind of retention offer they have. I don’t expect much because the value of the card is so high but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Look for a post tomorrow updating you on my results of the phone call.