Podcast: Strategizing Hilton cards, credits, and free nights | Frequent Miler on the Air Ep255 | 5-17-24


Hilton’s SLH partnership is stirring up some excitement over Hilton, even for people like Greg who haven’t bothered with Hilton cards for awhile, so this week we’re discussing Hilton credit cards, credits, and free nights.

Watch the full episode below, or listen on your favorite podcast platform. You can click the timestamps below to navigate directly to a specific part of the episode within YouTube.

For a transcript of this episode, click “Watch on Youtube” on the video below, then click the “…more” link in the video description. This will expand full video details. Scrolling down past the timestamps and chapters, you’ll see a “Show Transcript” button. If you’re an Apple Podcast listener, you can touch and hold a podcast episode to reveal an option to view a transcript.

 Mail Bag

(02:07) – We forgot about Qpoints last week… (Mail Bag)

Card Talk

(05:10) – Citi Strata Premier (Card Talk)

Crazy Thing

(10:33) – Citi accidentally made Strata Premier details public (Crazy Thing)

(11:56) – Citi accidentally published FAQ showing that it may be possible to upgrade to Prestige card (Crazy Thing)

Mattress Running the Numbers

(14:10) – Earn Delta MQDs on hotel bookings & car rentals (Mattress Running the Numbers)

Award Talk

(16:58) – AutoCamp now bookable with Hilton points

Main Event: Strategizing Hilton credit cards

(20:40) – Hilton is the only major hotel program with easy to get, uncapped free night certificates

(28:28) – Read about the Hilton Honors American Express Card here: https://frequentmiler.com/AmxHilton/#Goto

(28:40) – Read about the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card here: https://frequentmiler.com/AmxHiltonBiz/#Goto

(29:19) – Read about the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card here: https://frequentmiler.com/hilton-honors-american-express-surpass-card/#Goto

(30:00) – Read about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card here: https://frequentmiler.com/AmxHiltonAspire/#Goto

(31:18) – Earning free nights

(43:51) – Earning rebates to keep cards net free

(51:22) – Greg’s strategy

(1:01:00) – Nick’s thoughts

Question of the Week

(1:05:01) – Is booking anything better than booking nothing?

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Music Credit – “Ocean Deep” by Annie Yoder

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I just listened to this episode on June 7, missing the 175k bonus on the Hilton Business card (expired 6/5/2024). It’s now dropped to 130k. Do folks think an offer at the higher level might return soon (or ever)? Or should I get it now, before it’s devalued further?


How did you purchase GC online? Is there a site without a shipping charge?

FL Mom

Nick, I highly recommend The Cliffrose, a Hilton hotel, which is right by Zion. It is a very short walk from the park. We really enjoyed the property and the food.


A couple of ideas on Hilton Card strategies:

1) In the Fall, there has typically been a Surpass sign up bonus offer that includes a free night certificate – might be worth keeping this in the back of your mind for that type of opportunity.

2) I am wondering if there are any data points on converting Surpass cards to Aspire after you hit 15K of spend as Surpass card. Is that 15K of spend from the “Surpass” counted towards the 30K of spend on the Aspire card towards another free night certificate? If so, you could yield 3 free night certs for 30K of spending (15K as a Surpass and 15K as an Aspire)

3) I don’t see the Hilton Business as a make or break card for the 5X hilton points mainly because of the loss of the free night cert capability after June 30 and because the Surpass has 4X online spend category that seems to be fairly broad. Yes, it’s 1X less points, but that spend is also going towards a free night certificate.

Thanks for yet another great and informative podcast.


5Re point #2: That’s what I just did/am doing right now.

I knew I had some big expenses that were coming up throughout 2023 and early 2024, so upgraded my dormant no-fee Hilton to the Surpass, hit the $15k spend in 2023 and again in early 2024 (through dumb luck my renewal date hit just before the annual fee went up to $150, so paid the $95 annual fee at renewal but still collected two $50 hilton quarterly reimbursements before upgrading!). Expenses were bigger than anticipated so far in 2024, so I upgraded to Aspire and the $15k+ already spent in 2024 carried over toward the Aspire $30k spend requirement (because the card number and account number is the same even if the product itself is different, per Amex’s custom), though it took a few weeks for the pre-conversion spend to actually post on the Aspire progress meter so I was a little concerned that I wasn’t going to get the Aspire $30k certificate so easily.

Long story short, for about $75 prorated 2023-24 annual fee on the Surpass, plus about $275 prorated annual fee on Aspire, plus $45k+ spend, I have/will soon have: 4 free night certificates (Surpass 2023 spend, Surpass 2024 spend, Aspire 2024 spend, Aspire annual), plus about 225,000 points earned, plus $450 credits (so far) against stays/flights.

Will be considering my plan for renewal, but I can fairly easily get $1000 redemption value at NYC hotels at peak times, so can justify the $550 on the annual FNC alone, and can easily extract a few hundred dollars of the stay/flight credits too.


Can’t wait to listen. I’ve never been pop-uped, but I tried to get the Surpass (have Aspire and recently closed Biz) and have been shut down any way I’ve tried. NLL seems to work so waiting on that…


Same here, over the past month haven’t found anyway past it for any Hilton cards when I’ve picked up others over the years with no issue


Keep me posted if you crack the code