The following is a guest post from Little Miss Traveler. She has been an awesome resource on spousal MLA datapoints. Her site should help bring any of your spouses that on the fence on board to this MLA churning. She has been compensated by having me host her referral links for this post:
American Express currently offers 3 separate Hilton credit cards: Hilton Aspire, Hilton Ascend, and Hilton Honors. Normally, the Aspire and the Ascend carry a hefty annual fee, but thanks to MLA, active duty service members and their families get this fee waived!! The Aspire comes with a 150,000 welcome bonus after spending $4000 within three months, the Ascend comes with a 125,000 welcome bonus after spending $2000 within three months, and the Honors comes with a 75,000 welcome bonus after spending $1000 within three months. What’s awesome, is that Amex allows you to get all 3 cards! So that’s exactly what I did, and here’s how:
I applied for the Aspire card in November, and after hitting the $4000 spend received the 150,000 welcome bonus. Then, I referred by husband the Aspire (which got me a 20,000 referral bonus) so he got another 150,000 points after hitting the $4000 spend. We normally don’t spend money so quickly but it was holiday season so we had a lot of expenses! So by the beginning of January we had accumulated 320,000 points! Now it was on to phase 2…
I applied for the Ascend Card, and after hitting the $2000 spend received the 125,000 welcome bonus. Next, (you guessed it!) I referred my husband and got another 20,000 points for the referral. After he received his 125,000 welcome bonus, we were at 590,000.
By this time it was March, and time for phase 3 – apply for my final Hilton card! After hitting the initial spend, I received the 75,000 welcome bonus, bringing us to 665,000 Hilton points. I couldn’t refer my husband the Honors card because he already had 5 Amex products (remember Amex only allows you to have 5 credit cards total). However, the Honors card doesn’t have an annual fee even for civilians, so I referred by brother-in-law and got another 20,000 points bringing us to 685,000 points!!
The title of this post says I accumulated 750,000 points, so you are probably wondering how I got the last 65,000 points. Keep in mind that between our 5 Hilton cards, we had to spend $4000 on each Aspire, $2000 on each Ascend, and $1000 on my Honors. That’s $13,000! All 3 Hilton cards give a minimum of 3x points on all purchases, but some spending categories carry an even higher multiplier. For example, the Aspire pays 7x points on travel purchases and the Ascend pays 6x points on grocery and restaurant purchases. So after all the multipliers, that $13,000 we spent acquired an additional 65,000 points!
Now the only thing left to do is decide where to spend these points. I can think of no better place than the Grand Wailea Resort Maui ;). We have saved up Delta points via our Amex Delta Reserve cards and plan to fly to Maui for 5 nights next winter…all for free of course, and as always I will post a detailed explanation of exactly how!!
What’s crazy is that this is going to get infinitely better next January because after one year, we can upgrade our Ascend cards to Aspire cards and then in March I can upgrade my Honors card to an Aspire card. Yep, we will then have 5 Aspire cards, and each one comes with an annual $250 resort credit, an annual $250 air travel credit, and an annual free weekend night. That means every year we will have $1250 to spend at a Hilton resort, $1250 air travel credit (which we will use to buy Southwest gift cards), and 5 free weekend nights!!!
Recap of Cards Mentioned in this Post:
- 150,000 welcome bonus after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
- $250 annual resort credit (see Orlando post)
- $250 annual air travel credit (use this to by a Southwest gift card)
- Hilton Diamond Status
- Annual free weekend night award (see Orlando post)
- 125,000 welcome bonus after spending $2000 in the first 3 months
- 75,000 welcome bonus after spending $1000 in the first 3 months