7 Reasons to Get the Amex Hilton Aspire Card

Apr 13, 2018

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The brand new premium credit card that Hilton recently launched with American Express (alongside two other Hilton cards) is already among the best hotel credit cards currently on the market. Although the card carries a $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), its perks make it easy to more than offset this significant cost. From airline fee credits to lounge access and high earning rates, here are just seven reasons why the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express could be worth adding to your wallet.

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 Ascend 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 the hotel.)

Diamond status comes with bonus points, executive floor lounge access and  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).

2. Two Annual Weekend Reward Nights

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.

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

3. $250 Airline Fee Credit

The Hilton Aspire comes with an annual $250 airline fee credit that can be used to offset a wide variety of airline fees such as checked bag fees, change fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases and even some airline gift cards. 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.

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 limited to just 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. 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.

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

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, as well as free food and drinks at a number of airport restaurants and bars like the recently added Bobby Van’s Steakhouse at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

6. Up to $100 Hilton On-Property Credit

Each time you book at least a two-night paid stay at a Hilton property through HiltonHonorsAspireCard.com (or over the phone while quoting booking code ZZAAP1), 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 Hilton properties.

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

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 point for Hilton Honors points, that’s an 8.4% return on spending — much more rewarding than any other co-branded hotel card. But it doesn’t end there. Since the card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status and one of the benefits of that status is a 50% point bonus for Hilton stays (or 15 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 like 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 US restaurants; and 3x points (a 1.8% return) on all other spend with the card.

Bottom Line

There are a ton of reasons to love the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and it’s pretty easy to maximize its benefits to more than offset its annual fee — even if you don’t routinely stay at Hiltons. 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 co-branded credit cards. The card is currently offering a 150,000 point bonus which, based on TPG’s most recent monthly valuations, is worth $900 after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.

For more information on the Hilton Aspire, check out the following posts:

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.

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