7 reasons to get the Amex Hilton Aspire card
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with current information, including recent card upates in response to the coronavirus.
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 its $450 annual fee (see rates and 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. The card also added a number of limited-time, nontravel perks to provide cardholders additional value while grounded at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Related reading: Why Hilton’s top credit card has me switching my hotel loyalty
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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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.
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 reading: What is Hilton Honors elite status worth?
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.
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.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, unexpired free weekend night certificates — plus those issued through Dec. 31, 2020 — can now be used on any night of the week, and those issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020 will be valid for 24 months from the date of issuance (rather than the usual 12 months).
Related reading: Maximizing Amex Hilton free night certificates
$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 reading: How to maximize the Amex Hilton Aspire card
$250 Hilton resort statement credit
Each cardmember year — 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.
Hilton understands that you might not be traveling right now, so from June through August 2020, purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will also qualify for the credit.
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 (see rates and fees).
Related reading: 5 ways to use the Amex Hilton Aspire $250 resort credit
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 more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, where you can enjoy complimentary food, drinks, Wi-Fi and more.
Related reading: The best credit cards for Priority Pass lounge access
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.
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.
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.
In light of the pandemic, the card is also offering 12 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets through July. That equates to a solid 7.2% return. On top of all of that, bonus points earned through purchases posted between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will count toward elite-tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status.
Related reading: How to choose the best Hilton credit card for you
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 such as 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 card.
Featured photo courtesy of Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
This card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn a one-time $100 statement credit after using your new Card to purchase an Expert Flyer Premium annual subscription ($99.99 plus applicable taxes, followed by automatic renewal) within your first year.
- Enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
- Earn 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
- Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
- Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
- Each year of Card Membership, get up to $250 in statement credits on your Card Account for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton Resorts.
- Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
- $450 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees