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7 reasons to get the Amex Hilton Aspire card

June 08, 2020
8 min read
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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 information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

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.

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).

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Related reading: What is Hilton Honors elite status worth?

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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

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

$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. Enrollment required for select benefits.

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.

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 (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. Enrollment required for select benefits.

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.

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.

Related reading: 4 Reasons why the Hilton Aspire Card is the best premium card for families

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

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 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.

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, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023