Redeeming a Hilton Free Night Reward for the Roku Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts

I recently made a redemption at the Roku Kyoto, LXR Hotel & Resort using a Hilton Free Night Reward.  A standard room redemption using Hilton Honors points would have been 110,000 points per night or the cash rate for this booking would have been JPY 118,680, approximately $800 at the time of writing. 

I received the Annual Free Night Reward, which could be redeemed at any Hilton hotel, since I have the American Express Hilton Aspire card.  This card has a high annual fee of $550, but it comes with a bunch of benefits, such as an Annual Free Night Reward, a $400 Hilton Resort Credit which can be used in $200 increments semi-annually (only at resorts classified by Hilton per this website, a $200 Flight Credit which can be used in $50 increments each quarter, a $189 annual Clear credit, and Hilton’s top-tier Diamond Status which grants upgrades to preferred rooms and a food & beverage credit at US hotels or complimentary breakfast internationally.  It comes with other benefits as well, but these are the main ones I’d like to highlight.  

As you can see, in my opinion, the benefits outweigh the credit card annual fee. The Free Night Reward alone can easily be redeemed for a property that costs more than the $550 annual fee.  Another plus for the Roku Kyoto is that it’s classified as a Resort by Hilton, so we’ll be able to use $200 of the $400 annual Hilton Resort Credit. We can use it for dining or maybe a spa treatment.  When we charge these items to the room, and make sure my American Express Hilton Aspire card is used when we settle the hotel bill, we should see the credit automatically applied on the credit card statement.  Also, having Diamond Status will entitle us to a possible upgrade to a preferred room and complimentary breakfast which is a valuable perk especially at luxury hotels where breakfast can usually be pretty expensive.  This stay alone can justify the cost of the American Express Hilton Aspire card since we will be getting more than $1,000 worth of value for the $550 annual fee. 

Hilton Honors members earn 10 points per dollar and having Diamond status earns a 100% bonus, so 20 points per dollar spent at Hilton properties.  Additionally, using the American Express Aspire card to pay the hotel bill will earn 14 points per dollar at Hilton properties.  So, if we spent $200 to take advantage of the resort credit from the Aspire card, we would also earn 6,800 ($200 x 34 points) Hilton Honors points.  Hilton Honors points are valued at approximately $0.005 each so those 6,800 points earned would be worth about $34.

As long as you’re able to use the benefits of annual fee credit cards, it makes sense to have them. This is one of the main things I’ve learned in this hobby, when before my thought process was to automatically shun credit cards with annual fees, I now embrace them if they are able to benefit and enhance our travel plans. 

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