American Express

How I Met the Spending Requirement on the Hilton Honors Aspire Card (without MS)

I picked up an Amex Hilton Aspire Card back on January 7  and finally met the spending requirement on March 9. This has got to be the longest it’s ever taken me to complete a spending requirement. It was only $4,000 in three months, but I was determined not to utilize manufactured spending to complete it. I had no good reason to do it that way, except that I’m ultra paranoid and always playing it safe. I earned over 200,000 points as a result, plus an “anniversary night” (we’ll get into that in a later post). So how did I pull it off without unnecessary spending? Below is a breakdown:

Groceries: $550

Over two months, I spent about $340 on groceries – both for home and work. I don’t actually cook, so most of that was spent on prepaid meals, snacks, and iced coffee (the bottled Starbucks cold brew variety from Raleys – try it!). In addition, I ordered $210 worth of ravioli and sauce from Raffetto’s via Gold Belly (my referral link). If you’re ever in New York, stop by their place in Greenwich Village. They have the best pasta you’ll ever have. Even shipped across the country, it arrives fresh and delicious. I got a coupon from Gold Belly for $50 off, which I plan on putting to use very soon.

Dining out: $480

Most of the time when I’m dining out it’s for lunch at work or on the way home. The Hilton Aspire card earns 7x points per $1 spent on dining. That, along with trying to meet spending requirements made charging those expenses to the Hilton Aspire card a no-brainer. Across two months, I charged about $480 worth of dining expenses to the Hilton Aspire Card.

Gas: $280

I commute 90 miles roundtrip to work every day. Luckily, I drive a hybrid car. My monthly gas bill comes out to about $140. I made sure to charge my weekly gas station fill-ups to the Hilton Aspire Card to meet the$4,000 spending requirement. It wasn’t a huge amount, obviously, but across two months it helped.

Clothes: $153

I’m not a big shopper, but I was in need of a warm winter coat for a botched trip to New York. I initially ordered that famous “Amazon coat” for $139. Then I found out Zara had gorgeous, fleece-lined parkas for about half the price. So I mailed back the Amazon Coat in favor of an even warmer, better looking $89 coat from Zara. The remaining $64 was spent on thermal shirts and leggings from Uniqlo. They had a huge sale. Each item was $7-9 bucks so I stocked up and have successfully battled the freezing cold temperatures in the office ever since.

Household bills: $680

Don’t you love paying utility bills? When it helps me take down hundreds of dollars in spending requirements, I’m all for it. Across two months, I paid about $680 in utility bills. That included things like water, gas + electricity, trash, phone, cable, and internet. Normally, the last three get charged to my Chase Ink Plus card for 5x Ultimate Rewards. But I was trying to get these spending requirements done and this was a significant amount of spend.

Test registration fee: $190

The $190 registration fee for a test I’m taking in June was much more palatable when it got me closer to my $4,000 spending goal. Money well spent, regardless.

Entertainment: $780

In mid-February, our trip to New York was unceremoniously cancelled thanks to American Airlines. I’m still too mad to talk about it, but you can check my Twitter feed to find out what happened. When that trip didn’t work out, we rented a van and headed to Southern California instead. We decided to visit Universal Studios and the best option was the Costco Universal Studios 3-visit pass.

Unsure if we wanted to spend one day or more at the park, we went with the 3-visit pass for flexibility. Unlike the season pass, the Costco 3-visit ticket doesn’t have any blackout dates, so it was a great option for us. In total, I spent $779.94 on six tickets. We had a great time, I drank my weight in Butterbeer, screamed my head off at the Walking Dead attraction and LOVED the  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.

T-mobile: $900

I got a little impatient at the end and decided to prepay my T-mobile bill in order to complete the remaining spending requirement. I’m on a family plan that costs about $109 per month for six lines. This will cover the bill for at least the next eight months.

How many points I earned

Overall, I earned 204,000 points after meeting the Hilton Aspire card’s spending requirement. This includes the 150,000 point sign-up bonus, two 20,000 point bonuses, and almost 14,000 from the 3 – 7 points per $1 spent. I’ll get into the surprise bonuses and the free anniversary night, which was prematurely issued, in a separate post at noon.

That’s all folks. I didn’t mean for this to turn into a financial diary type post, but I hope it helps those who are trying to wrap up the spending requirement on the Hilton Apire card. Be sure to leave your own tips in the comment section!

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  1. Hi, Ariana. How did you paid utilities with CC? Did you have to pay a fee to be able to use this option? I live in Philadelphia, and the only way not to pay fees is using a debit card…

  2. @goodMXguy – I can pay utilities using a credit card without a fee where I live. It seems to vary by community. I don’t live with the city limits and pay for my fire protection on the same bill with my electricity, gas and water, which is handy. I normally use the US Bank Cash+ card which offers home utilities as one of its 5% cash back categories each quarter so even if your utility company charges a 2-3% fee you’d still come out ahead.

  3. Jim Lovejoy

    It definitely varies. My natural gas company will take anything, no fee. My municipal electric, water, garbage will only take Visa and Mastercard, but again no fee.

  4. I’m just shy of reaching the minimum spend, got about $500 to go, on the chase biz ink without any MS. One of the things that helps me do that is paying the utility bills on my rental properties. My utilities charge a flat fee $2.95 to pay by CC. It’s a no brainer for me.

  5. It seems like you could get the equivalent in bonus points if you just started preparing your own food instead, “I don’t actually cook, so most of that was spent on prepaid meals, snacks, and iced coffee”

  6. Pimping International

    I don’t see the need for paranoia as long as you are MSing at a place that does not report L3. I MS 99+% of my Amex MSRs and never had a problem. We have even seen confirmed DPs of people MSing with Amex at L3 places that still get SUB.

    If you’re that paranoid about organic looking spend just vary the load amount at a non-L3 store or use Merchandiser or Urban Sitter.

  7. Hi Ariana,
    How did you get 2 $20,000 bonuses?

    • Apparently, they announced a promotion before I even got the card where you could get a 20k bonus for meeting a certain amount of spend. I must have met that requirement twice, resulting in two bonuses.

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