Analysis Of The New Uber And Hilton Credit Cards

The points and miles game is a constantly evolving landscape. Right when you think you’ve got a strategy in place, new credit cards launch and loyalty programs change. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a couple new credit card announcements that are making waves with travelers. First, Barclays announced a co-branded credit card with ride-share king Uber. Next, American Express announced plans for a completely new lineup of Hilton credit cards scheduled for 2018. Today I’ll give my analysis of the new Uber and Hilton credit cards to help you decide whether they’re right for you.

Analysis: Barclays Uber Credit Card

The big thing to remember with this card is that’s it’s a cash back card. Despite it’s Uber branding, it doesn’t have any unique rewards specific to Uber riding. The rewards structure is broken down like this:

  • 4% Cash Back Dining (Including UberEATS)
  • 3% Cash Back Hotel & Airfare
  • 2% Cash Back Online Purchases (Including Uber Rides)
  • 1% Cash Back Everything Else

Additionally, the card comes with a $100 sign-up bonus after spending $500 in the first 90 days and has no annual fee. The Uber credit card also eliminates foreign transaction fees and comes with a $50 credit for online subscription services if you spend over $5,000 per year. Complete details can be found here.

Self-driving Ubers Arizona
Self-driving Uber cars

Bottom Line Barclays Uber Card

Overall, this isn’t a terrible card. If you’re big into cash-back cards, and not a huge points and miles fan, then I could see a spot for this. This card paired with another no-annual fee card that earns 2% on everyday purchases could be a really good combo for cash-back fans. Personally, I prefer to maximize points and miles, so I’m going to skip it. That being said, I wouldn’t judge anyone that threw it on the table to pay for dinner. It sure beats the debit card crowd.

Analysis: Hilton Aspire Card

The new Hilton Aspire credit card is part of a completely overhauled lineup of Hilton credit cards from American Express. Amex will offer a total of four cards, but the only really interesting one is the premium Aspire card. Details on the other three can be found here, but there’s not much to see unless you’re just looking for a sign up bonus.

The Hilton Aspire card comes with a $450 annual fee. While that is steep, the rewards structure is really interesting. Here’s a quick rundown of the main benefits:

  • Hilton Diamond Status (The Highest Tier)
  • One Free Weekend Night Per Year
  • Annual $250 Resort Credit
  • Annual $250 Airline Incidental Fee Credit
  • Priority Pass Membership
  • 14x Hilton Honors Points at Hilton Properties

With premium, high annual fee credit cards, the key is to always get your money back. With the new Hilton Aspire card, it seems that’s a very real possibility. I’m not going to place a value on the Diamond status since I think hotel status is slightly overrated. Furthermore, most points and miles enthusiasts already have a Priority Pass membership, so that feature is not that interesting. The 14x Hilton Honors points is a decent return, but Hilton points are only valued around .4 cents each, so your return is roughly in-line with what you’d get using a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. I’d rather accumulate Ultimate Rewards points than Hilton Honors.

This leaves us three core benefits of the card that I would find useful:

  • One Free Weekend Night Per Year
  • Annual $250 Resort Credit
  • Annual $250 Airline Incidental Fee Credit
Vilu Restaurant Conrad Maldives
Conrad Maldives – A Hilton Property

Free Weekend Night

One free weekend night per year has the potential to worth well over $200 depending on the property. Keep in mind there are a few exclusion which can be found here. Several of these are all-inclusive properties which makes sense. Overall, most Hilton locations are included. To be conservative, I’ll place a value of this benefit at $200.

$250 Resort Credit

There’s not a ton of details available about this benefit yet. Presumably, the $250 is refunded for any spend at a Hilton Resort. If you typically stay at a Hilton Resort or equivalent each year, then you’ll easily find value with the benefit. I live in Arizona which is full of resort properties. At least once a year we’ll do a “Staycation” at a local resort. For me, this benefit is easy to use, but it’s not neccasarily a 100% given we would use it each year. I’ll go ahead and assign it a value of $200.

$250 Airline Incidental Fee Credit

This feature works in the same fashion as the Amex Platinum card. You’ll assign one specific airline for your credits. The benefit is intended to cover incidental purchases outside of your standard ticket purchase. This includes items like seat selection, extra bags, and on-board food/drink. However, several sources indicate that airline gift cards can be purchased as a way to use your credit towards airfare. For full details, see this article. Overall, I’ll assign this feature a vallue of $200.

Bottom Line: Hilton Aspire

That brings the total benefit package of the Hilton Aspire card to $600 in my eyes. Of course that eclipses the annual fee of $450. If you assign value to any of the other benefits, then it could be much higher. Personally, I’m up in the air as to whether I’ll grab this card or not. It probably depends on what the sign up bonus is. One thing is for sure, it’s not a compelling card to place any spending on.

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