Why the Hilton Ascend Is A Great Everyday Spend Card
There are a lot of great non bonus spend cards out there. The King (or Queen) of non bonus spend for the longest time was the American Express SPG credit card. Well that card is going to the back of the sock drawer or through the shredder once August rolls around. That got me to thinking what would be a good replacement.
There are a lot of choices but I plan on putting the next $15,000 in non bonus spend, and probably some bonus spend, on my American Express Ascend card. Once that is complete I will go back to the American Express Blue Business Plus card.
Ascend Earning Rates
The Amex Ascend card earns the following rates:
- 12X Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
- 6X Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations.
- 3X Hilton Honors bonus points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
But the perk of the card I am focusing on is the one weekend night certificate you earn once you spend $15,000 within a calendar year. This increases the return you can earn from the card.
Crunching the Numbers
Hilton points have a minimum value of $0.004 a piece when you use the pay with points feature. You can often get more than that but I will set the bar there. That means you get the following rate of return:
- 4.8% on Hilton Stays
- 2.4% on Gas, Groceries, and Restaurants in the US
- 1.2% on everything else
Once you hit the $15,000 spend threshold you earn a free night. These are limited to Friday-Sunday stays (when most people travel). There are a few properties excluded but for the most part you can use them anywhere when there is a standard level award available. I am using the one from my Aspire card in New York City for a savings of $450. I will put the value of this at $250 even though most will get much more value from it than that.
That would bring an additional rate of return of 1.67% on that $15,000 in spend. The free night would increase the overall rates to:
- 6.47% on Hilton Stays
- 4.07% on Gas, Groceries, and Restaurants in the US
- 2.87% on everything else
Those are some impressive earning rates. At the end of the day I will have a free night for practically anywhere and a minimum of 45,000 Hilton Honors points.
CLICK HERE to compare this and other hotel credit cards
These are among the best rates you can get for all listed categories. That is why the Ascend card will be getting a spot in the front of my wallet for the next few months. Only go this route if you can get use out of Hilton points. The only truly worthless point is the one that goes unused.
Hilton is probably my second favorite program, behind Hyatt, because of the ease of earning their status. A nice perk of the Ascend card is the free breakfast you get from receiving Gold Status with the card!
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