How I Messed up the $20 Dining Credit on my AMEX Hilton Aspire

Good morning everyone, I hope your week is going well.  One of the current card benefits of the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Credit Card is the $20 monthly dining credit.  Unfortunately I ran into an issue using this card benefit in April on 2 restaurant purchases (In N Out Burger and Panera Bread).  As you can see, I never received the $20 dining credit for my April purchases, but I did receive the credit automatically in May, June, and July.  Based on my transactions, the $20 dining credit posts ~3 days after the restaurant charge posts to your account.  I contacted AMEX on May 1 and again on July 13 to check on the status of the dining credit and received conflicting answers.  Here is what I was told and what I learned…

Here is my AMEX Chat from May 1, 2021:

  • Grant: I am checking on the $20 dining credit on my Hilton Aspire CC ending in XXXXX. The dates are 4/26 for In N Out and 4/27 for Panera Bread.
  • AMEX: I see that you reached out to us today as you are not seeing your US restaurant transaction on your account.
  • Grant: Yes, correct.
  • AMEX: Oh, thank you for letting me know about this matter. Let me go ahead and check your account here with us.
  • Grant: I’m not sure why the credits didn’t post, did I do something wrong?
  • AMEX: Let me quickly check on this to see why credits aren’t posted. One moment please.
  • Grant: Thank you for looking info this for me.
  • AMEX: Upon reviewing the transactions, you actually don’t need to worry, as transactions are indeed eligible for the credit. It’s just that, we do post the statement credit to the account 8 to 12 weeks after the eligible purchase posts to the account. So, please allow our system that time frame, in order to recognize the charge for the credit to be applied.
  • Grant: Wow, 8-12 weeks. It was a lot faster last month.
  • AMEX: That was the standard turnaround time for the credit to post. But you are right, the credit can be posted a lot faster. But since we do have the standard turnaround time, we will need to wait for that before further investigating.
  • Grant: I understand. I will look for the credits to post in the next 8-12 weeks. Thank you for your help.
  • AMEX: I appreciate your understanding regarding this matter, Grant! Rest assured that transactions are eligible, so you can expect the credit within that timeline. Is there anything else though that I can help?
  • Grant: Nope, that is all for me today. Have a great day :)
  • AMEX: You too, Grant! Thank you for your card membership. Please click on the X in the top right of the chat window to end the chat. Stay safe!

AMEX stated that the transactions were eligible, but I was told to wait 8-12 weeks for the credit, even though most of the time the credit posts in 3 days.

Fast forward to July 13, 2021, here is my second AMEX Chat:

  • Grant: I am checking on the $20 dining credit on my Hilton Aspire CC ending in XXXXX.
  • AMEX: Can you please confirm the transaction date?
  • Grant: Yes, In N Out Burger on 4/26 and Panera Bread on 4/27.
  • AMEX: Got that. Thank you for that information. Please give me a minute to check on this further.
  • Grant: Thank you.
  • AMEX: Thank you for waiting. I can see that respective transactions didn’t earned statement credit, I am verifying details as to why it didn’t receive any and what further step is needed for us to.
  • Grant: Thank you, I think the issue is that I made 2 transactions to meet the $20 credit. All other purchases that were $20 or more posted automatically.
  • AMEX: Regarding that, though there are two separate transaction, those should be eligible if they reached $20. As we check here, both transactions has a total of only $19.10. Since terms of promo include that you should make at least $20 purchase or more, since it didn’t reach the required amount, transactions didn’t receive statement credit.
  • Grant: Oh, so I had to spend at least $20 to receive the credit? I thought it would credit any restaurant amount up to $20.
  • AMEX: Yes Grant. That is right. “You will earn one $20 statement credit each month after spending $20 or more in combined eligible purchases on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card at US restaurants (including takeout and third party delivery services) per month, during the Purchase Period, up to a total of $220 in statement credits.”
  • Grant: Got it, that makes sense. Long shot here, but is there any chance you could give me a goodwill credit for $19.10 to cover those 2 purchases? I guess I should have spent another 90 cents to meet the $20 threshold.
  • AMEX: Grant, I understand where you are coming from and the importance of this matter however I am afraid that we don’t have further access to cover them from our end.
  • Grant: Bummer, worth a shot. Thank you for explaining the issue and I have learned my lesson to spend at least $20.
  • AMEX: If only we can have it covered, we won’t be hesitating to do it for you. You are very much welcome, Grant. As always, you know where to find Amex whenever help is needed. Stay healthy, and have a great day! Bye for now.

According to the second AMEX rep, I only spent $19.10 on qualifying restaurant purchases and I needed to spend at least $20 to trigger the $20 dining credit.  I was under the impression that any amount of qualifying dining purchases up to $20 would qualify.  For example, if I spent $5 on a Subway sandwich, I would receive a $5 dining credit.  Likewise, the $100 Dell credit on my American Express Business Platinum Card would give me a credit of up to $100 toward Dell purchases.  For example, if I bought a keyboard on Dell for $50, I would receive a $50 Dell credit.

Long story short, the way AMEX handles the $20 dining credit is more like an AMEX offer for $20 statement credit after spending at least $20 at any restaurant.  Now that I know how AMEX handles this credit, I will adjust my spending to only use the AMEX Hilton Aspire for a restaurant purchase that costs more than $20 (or do a split check and put exactly $20 on that credit card).  Learn from my mistake and don’t mess up any of your dining credits!

If you have any questions about how the $20 dining credit works, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

20 thoughts on “How I Messed up the $20 Dining Credit on my AMEX Hilton Aspire

  1. Mark

    Wow, that seems pretty lame. I’ve used my credits for small purchase amounts under $20 and had them post in a few days. I really don’t see them removing the credits at the end of the billing cycle if they didn’t add up to $20. What they told you sounds like a made up excuse because they couldn’t figure out why their IT is broken.

      1. Mark

        Just looked back through my statements and I stand corrected…the credit only appeared after the lesser charges added up to over $20.00.

  2. Steve Case

    Actually, the credit posts usually the same day. My problem last month was that I forgot the credit only applies to US restaurants. The agent gently informed me that Switzerland is not part of the United States.

    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Steve, I’m surprised the credits post the same day for you, that’s really fast. It’s nice that the Amex agent reminded you that Switzerland is not part of the USA :)

  3. JohnnieD

    Had the same issue with my bonvoy card/$10 mo restaurant credit. I buy drive through coffee and had a total of $9.97 spent. Sorry, it’s $10 OR more….Credit denied!

    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Johnnie, dang, 3 cents short and “no AMEX dining credit for you!” Could you buy $10 gift card for that coffee place and then use the gift card to buy the coffee? That should work.

  4. 02nz

    Sorry, no sympathy here as the terms of the Amex Offer are crystal clear: “Enroll in this offer to earn a $20 statement credit each month you spend $20 or more on eligible U.S. restaurant purchases with your Card.”

    1. Grant Post author

      I know, I know, it’s my fault for not remembering the terms. I think I forgot the exact details over the months. I’ve learned my lesson.

  5. Carl WV

    It does say $20+ in the main offer description and “you will earn one $20 statement credit each month after spending $20 or more in combined eligible purchases” in the terms. The error was the first rep probably adding wrong and then giving the pat 8 to 12 week answer.

    Did you get the regular email that you had completed the offer? I always get one within minutes?

    I’ve always played it safe doing the transaction(s) a little earlier on the month. Then if one doesn’t seem to register within a week I can do another.

    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Carl, for April, I did not get that email, which makes sense. But for other months when I spent $20 or more, I did get that AMEX email right away. I do try to make the purchase early in the month to give it time for the charge to post and statement credit to post in the same month.

  6. maxwell1009a

    Also, be careful about when you charge expecting to receive the AmEx dining credit. I spent more than the minimum necessary to trigger the dining credit last month but…my restaurant visit was on June 30 (still in June!) so I expected, per the offer terms (“…earn a $20 statement credit each month you spend $20 or more on eligible U.S. restaurant purchases…”) but, when the credit didn’t appear until July 3, the AmEx chat representative told me I had already used my July dining credit! He (Lou) went on to advise me that AmEx goes by the date they POST the charge, NOT the date the customer MAKES the charge!

    1. Grant Post author

      I’ve had this same exact issue regarding the $10 dining credit on my AMEX Gold Card. The Grubhub purchase posted the following month and counted toward the next month. I contacted AMEX and they gave me a $10 courtesy credit.

  7. Mary

    So I recall this benefit is supposed to expire in December but it looks like it’s gone…. Have you looked into this?

  8. David

    DP: I purchased Luna Grill on 8/6 thru the app, and as others have previously stated I usually get an email that triggers the Amex offer. I called today as I wasn’t seeing the Dining Credit offer in the added section of my Aspire card. I was worried it may be a glitch or something. Amex rep said, after calling other dept, that Luna Grill was not on the list of eligible restaurants, which is weird as my experience with the Dining Credit has been spot on. I also follow-up by asking about the offer not showing up in added list and she again confirmed thru other dept that it was still showing on my account. She even went as far as to say that she noted it on my account for future reference. I’m just thinking Amex had an IT change or something. Anywho, I’ll have to try the Dining Credit again for August.

    1. Grant Post author

      Hi David, that is strange, but luckily you still have 2 weeks in order to get the AMEX dining credit. Hopefully you get the email after you make the purchase. As a data point, I went to my local Mexican restaurant and spent $21.88 on 8/8 and the $20 statement credit posted on 8/10.


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