7 reasons to get the Amex Hilton Aspire card

Nov 26, 2019

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Two years ago, Amex and Hilton launched The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. We consider the Hilton Aspire to be one of the best hotel credit cards currently on the market, despite the $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), because its perks easily offset this significant cost and then some.

The card is currently offering a 150,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, which, based on TPG’s most recent monthly valuations, is worth $900.

From airline fee credits to lounge access and high earning rates, here are seven reasons why the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is worth adding to your wallet.

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1. Top-tier elite status

Quite possibly the greatest perk that comes with the card is complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status for the primary cardholder. Unlike the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, you’ll receive this status as long as your card account is open, without having to reach any minimum spend.

The Waldorf Astoria Chengdu — part of the Hilton chain. (Photo courtesy of Hilton.)

Diamond status comes with 100% bonus points, executive-floor lounge access, free breakfast and room upgrades, among other benefits. It’s typically earned after 30 stays or 60 nights or by earning 120,000 base points in a calendar year (which equates to $12,000 in spending).

Related: What is Hilton Honors elite status worth?

2. Up to two weekend reward nights each year

With the Aspire Card, you’ll receive one weekend night at almost any Hilton property worldwide after opening your account, and then again each year on your cardmember anniversary. You’ll also receive a second weekend night when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.

The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.)

As long as the property is eligible and there’s a room available, there are no exclusions to this benefit, so even infrequent travelers should be able to take advantage of this perk and save hundreds of dollars a year.

Related: Maximizing Amex Hilton free night certificates

3. $250 airline-fee credit

The Hilton Aspire comes with an annual up to $250 airline incidental fee credit that can be used to offset a wide variety of airline fees such as checked bag fees, change fees, and inflight food and beverage purchases. Just like the airline fee credits that come with The Platinum Card® from American Express, you need to choose one airline each year to use exclusively for your fee credit, though that shouldn’t stop you from maximizing this benefit on an annual basis.

Related: How to maximize the Amex Hilton Aspire card

4. $250 Hilton resort statement credit

Each cardmember year — which is defined by the date you opened the account — you and your authorized users will receive up to a total of $250 in statement credits to spend at eligible Hilton resorts. The best part about this benefit is that it’s not just limited to incidental charges such as meals and spa treatments, but can also be used toward room rates and taxes, effectively getting you another night or two at one of the eligible resorts.

Photo of the Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa courtesy of the hotel.
The Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa. (Photo courtesy of Hilton.)

Putting aside all of the card’s other benefits, the $250 airline-fee credit and $250 resort credit alone already offset the card’s $450 annual fee.

Related: 5 ways to use the Amex Hilton Aspire $250 resort credit

5. Priority Pass membership

A complimentary Priority Pass Select membership is included as a travel benefit for primary Hilton Aspire cardholders. This benefit provides you and two guests with unlimited access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, where you can enjoy complimentary food, drinks, Wi-Fi and more.

Related: The best credit cards for Priority Pass lounge access

6. Up to $100 Hilton on-property credit

Each time you book at least a two-night paid stay at a participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts or Conrad Hotels & Resorts property through HiltonHonorsAspireCard.com by verifying your card number, or by mentioning code ZZAAP1 when booking by phone, you’ll receive up to a $100 credit for incidentals during your stay.

The Conrad Cartagena. (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy.)

Unlike the resort credit, this really is just for incidentals and can’t be used to cover the cost of the room or property fees, though it can still be an extremely valuable perk if you spend two or more nights at eligible properties.

7. Impressive earning rates

The Aspire card earns you a whopping 14 points per dollar on paid stays within the brand. Based on TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents per Hilton Honors point, that’s an 8.4% return on spending — much more rewarding than any other cobranded hotel card. And, since the card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status, and one of the benefits of that status is a 100% point bonus for Hilton stays (or 20 points per dollar at most Hilton properties), you’ll actually be earning a total of 34 points per dollar on most Hilton stays as a cardholder, meaning a 20.4% return.

While not as competitive for other travel purchases as premium cards such the Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll also earn 7 points per dollar spent (a 4.2% return) on flights booked directly with airlines or at amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies (Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, E-Z, Fox, Hertz, National, Payless, Sixt and Thrifty) and at U.S. restaurants; and 3x points (a 1.8% return) on all other spend with the card.

Related: How to choose the best Hilton credit card for you

Bottom line

There are a ton of reasons to love the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire, and it’s pretty easy to maximize its benefits to more than offset its annual fee — even if you don’t routinely stay at Hilton hotels. With perks like top-tier elite status and 34 points per dollar earned on stays with the brand, the card sets a new precedent for hotel cobranded credit cards.

To learn more, check out our full review of the Amex Hilton Aspire.

Featured photo courtesy of Hilton.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.