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How To Maximize the Hilton Aspire Card Resort Credit on Stays

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Carissa Rawson

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Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...
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The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is one of our favorites here at Upgraded Points, and for good reason. Although it comes with a hefty annual fee, it also sports several other perks that mean it outclasses every other travel card out there.

One of its many benefits is the annual resort credit, a $400 credit usable at any of Hilton’s resorts. Savvy travelers can make great use of the Hilton credit for stays of multiple nights — with next to nothing out of pocket.

Let’s break down what the credit is, how to use it, and the best places for you to maximize your Hilton Aspire card’s annual resort credit.

Hilton Aspire Card Benefits

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Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.

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Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.
Earn 175,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 7/31/2024.
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The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


Paying hundreds of dollars for an annual fee on a co-branded hotel card might seem ridiculous, but you should know that the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is much more than your run-of-the-mill hotel credit card.

The Hilton Aspire card is not only a phenomenal card for Hilton Honors loyalists, but even those who visit Hilton hotels just a few times a year can still get excellent value out of all the benefits that are packed into this card.

So let’s have a look at what makes the card so valuable to travelers.

Pros
  • 14x points per $1 on Hilton purchases
  • 7x points per $1 on select travel and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
    • High annual fee of $550
  • Earn 175,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 7/31/2024.
  • 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, and at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for other purchases on your card.
  • Enjoy up to $400 in Hilton Resort Credits (up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually) on your card each anniversary year when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status.
  • $550 annual fee.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Before we launch into the resort credit, it’s a good idea to break down all the benefits the actual card offers. Why? Because these benefits are going to affect your stay. As a cardholder, you are entitled to Diamond status, Hilton’s top-tier elite status, as long as you hold the card. This means you’re going to get things like free breakfast (dispersed as a food and beverage credit) and executive lounge access wherever you go.

Here are all the perks that the Hilton Aspire card offers:

  • Up to $400 in annual statement credits for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton resorts — distributed up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually
  • Up to $200 back annually on eligible flight purchases at any airline or through AmexTravel.com — distributed up to $50 in statement credits each quarter
  • Up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year after you enroll and pay for an annual CLEAR Plus membership
  • Complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive elite status
  • Cell phone protection
  • 14x points on Hilton purchases, 7x points on select travel and at U.S. restaurants, and 3x points on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • $100 credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties
  • 1 Free Night Reward every cardmember anniversary
  • Additional Free Night Rewards after spending $30,000 and $60,000 on purchases in a calendar year

The card currently features a welcome bonus offer: Earn 175,000 points after spending $6,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months.

Note that not all of these benefits have to do with Hilton hotels. For example, there’s an annual airline credit and complimentary elite status with National Car Rental. Perks like these can go a long way in making travel more affordable and pleasant.

Bottom Line: The Hilton Aspire card has industry-leading benefits that make it well-worth holding, despite its high annual fee. 

What Is the Hilton Aspire Card Resort Credit?

Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort Spa Pool
Seychelles is a dream destination and the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa is the perfect place to stay with your resort credit. Image Credit: Hilton

The resort credit, which renews each cardmember anniversary, provides a statement credit for $400, distributed semi-annually in increments of up to $200, in eligible charges at more than 300 Hilton Resorts. Hotels that are not on this list do not qualify for the statement credit. 

While a lot of people focus on using the credit for incidentals such as food or beverage charges, the credit can actually be much more useful.

When the card initially launched, the resort credit could be used for any room charges, including advanced and prepaid room rates. After the first year, however, Hilton altered the terms of the credit so that this was no longer the case.

Although this is unfortunate, you are still able to use the resort statement credit for room rates — as long as they aren’t prepaid. This includes special rates that the hotel offers, such as discounts for extended stays, AAA membership discounts, and more. This is important because oftentimes, you’ll find better deals using those sales rather than Hilton’s “best available rate.”

A good rule of thumb is if the rate you’re booking does not charge you for the entirety of the stay upfront, then it should qualify for the Hilton Resort credit.

How Does the Hilton Aspire Card Resort Credit Work?

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort Club Aveo View
Use your Hilton Aspire card property credit at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort and Club. Image Credit: Nick Ellis

The resort credit is very simple to use — you just need to pay with your card at an eligible hotel and the credit will be automatically applied as a statement credit. Note that you’ll be allotted up to $200 in statement credits for each half of the year, so you aren’t able to use the entire $400 statement credit in a single stay, for example.

In addition to the perks you receive as a Hilton Aspire cardholder, you’ll also earn 14x Hilton Honors points on all Hilton purchases.

Since the credit is offered after the fact, you’ll still earn points on your charges, for a total of 2,800 points each time you maximize your $200 allotment. Although we only value Hilton Honors points at a half-cent each, that’s still $14 in free bonus points.

Of course, those are in addition to the bonus points you’ll earn as a Diamond member. As a top-tier elite, you’ll earn 20 points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels, which means you’ll earn a further 4,000 bonus points if you were to keep your spending at $200 exactly for each half of the year.

All in, you’ll receive 6,800 bonus points that we value at $34. That’s pretty good for $200 in reimbursed charges. Of course, you can double this since the $400 annual credit is distributed in 2, $200 portions throughout the year.

Hot Tip: Standard room rewards start at 5,000 points, which means you’ll have earned enough for a free night once you’ve redeemed even the first portion of your annual credit. 

Finally, we’ve already mentioned this, but it bears repeating: the Hilton Aspire card resort credit is valid only at the hotels listed on Hilton’s website. It doesn’t matter if the hotel you’ve stayed at has the word “resort” in its name, if it has a plethora of pools, or if it’s located in some exotic, far-flung destination. If it is not on the list, your credit will not be applied.

Bottom Line: The Hilton Resort credit is automatically applied when you pay your room charges with your Hilton Aspire card

What Can You Use the Hilton Aspire Resort Credit for?

Hilton Bali Resort
The Hilton Bali offers beautiful beaches and is eligible for the resort credit. Image Credit: Hilton

We’ve already mentioned a few different uses of the Hilton Aspire card resort credit, but aside from room rates and restaurant charges, the credit is quite flexible.

There are 3 main requirements for using this credit:

  1. The charge must be made at an eligible resort
  2. The cost must be charged to your room
  3. You must pay for your room using your Hilton Aspire card

This opens up some interesting options for use if you’re not planning on using the resort credit for your hotel stay — if, for example, you’re using points so that your room rate is covered, you can still take advantage of the credit for various activities.

In places like Hawaii, if you charge the cost of any excursions to your room, they’ll be covered by the credit. This can be great for cultural activities such as luaus or city tours. Meanwhile, in Rome, you can splurge on a Michelin-starred meal at La Pergola that’s eligible for reimbursement.

Spa charges also qualify, as do room service and the cash cost of an upgrade — so go ahead and treat yourself to that corner room — it’s covered.

Bottom Line: As long as it can be charged to your room and paid for with your card at an eligible hotel, your Hilton Resort credit applies.

How To Choose Eligible Room Rates

We’ve already mentioned that prepaid and advance rates are not eligible for the credit, but a number of others are. When choosing your room rate, there are a number of factors you’ll want to consider. In some cases, the “best available rate” can be the best option, but Hilton offers frequent sales that’ll still be eligible for the credit, so make sure that you’re booking the best rate for you.

For example, you could choose to build up your stash of Hilton points by paying for a double points rate if it’s a reasonable upcharge. By doing this, you’d end up with 8,000 bonus points as a Diamond elite, in addition to the 2,800 you’d get from your Hilton Aspire card. If you’re able to come up with a stay like this each half of the year, you could double these figures, for a grand total of 21,600 if you use your semi-annual $200 credit twice in a year.

We value those points at $108, but you can absolutely redeem them for more than that — Hilton reward nights start at just 5,000 points per night. So by choosing a double points rate, you’ll earn enough points to stay for 4 nights at some of the chain’s most inexpensive properties.

Bottom Line: There are plenty of things to consider when choosing the room rate for your resort, so make sure you’re choosing the best rate for you, even if it’s not the cheapest.

How To Maximize the Hilton Aspire Card Resort Credit

Zemi Beach House LXR Hotels Resorts
You can enjoy the white sand beaches at the Zemi Beach House with your credit. Image Credit: Hilton

There are a couple of main ways through which you can maximize this property credit. First, you can consider finding properties that are inexpensive — and there are actually plenty on Hilton’s list! Second, you can splurge for a high-end stay using a combination of Hilton Honors points and a Free Night Reward (or just points, depending on your account balance), and then use your property credit to treat yourself to poolside drinks or a nice dinner courtesy of American Express and Hilton.

Now let’s take a look at some ways you can maximize your Hilton Aspire resort credit.

1. DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort in Thailand

DoubleTree Phuket
Enjoy poolside rooms at the DoubleTree Phuket. Image Credit: Hilton

Phuket is one of Thailand’s most well-known tourist destinations, and for good reason. Its fabulous beaches and scuba diving combine with Thailand’s low costs to provide a high-end experience at affordable prices.

For example, the DoubleTree Phuket features rooms that can be booked from just $73 per night. You could book a 3-night stay at this property — twice per year — and your property credit on the Hilton Aspire card will cover most of the room rate (you’ll have to pay ~$20 additional on each 3-night stay).

2. DoubleTree by Hilton Sharm El Sheikh – Sharks Bay Resort in Egypt

DoubleTree Sharm El Sheikh
Enjoy 7 different pools at the DoubleTree Sharm El Sheikh. Image Credit: Hilton

Long a mainstay on our must-visit list, the DoubleTree by Hilton Sharm El Sheikh – Sharks Bay Resort features a private beach, 7 different pools, and 10 restaurants. Sharm El Sheikh has been a very popular tourist destination, and this property boasts luxurious accommodations and tons of amenities at an incredible price.

With rates from just $56 per night, you could book 3 nights without using any cash out of pocket in addition to your credit, or 4 nights with an additional 24 bucks.

Considering you’ll be enjoying a private beach on the Red Sea — home to fabulous diving and snorkeling — this is an absolute steal.

What a perfect way to end a bucket-list trip to Egypt!

3. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld in Florida

DoubleTree SeaWorld
This family-friendly resort is the perfect base to explore Orlando’s attractions. Image Credit: Hilton

If you’d prefer to stay closer to home, the DoubleTree SeaWorld is an affordable resort at which you can use your credit. Orlando is known for having a vast range of hotels — from cheap hotels to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando (which, by the way, is also included in Hilton’s resort list).

With rates starting from just $85 per night, you can score a 2-night stay here entirely with your Hilton Aspire card credit! If you want to stay longer, you could book a 3-night stay and pay just $55 out of pocket.

If you’re heading to Universal Orlando or Walt Disney World, you’ll still need to arrange transportation, but you’ll be saving on hotel costs so you can still afford to enter the parks and feed your children.

4. Tropicana Las Vegas – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Nevada

Tropicana Las Vegas
Stay on the Strip at the Tropicana Las Vegas. Image Credit: Hilton

If you want to go for a truly free experience in Sin City, consider staying at the Tropicana Las Vegas. Located directly on the strip, the hotel features free parking and a horrific $37 per night resort fee that will be reimbursed as part of your statement credit.

With room rates starting at just $57, you can swing up to 2 nights here for under $200, including the resort fee.

Everything costs a lot in Las Vegas these days, so scoring a weekend trip without having to pay for your accommodations seems like a pretty great idea to us.

5. A High-End Property Strategy

Grand Wailea Maui Waldorf Astoria Resort Relfecting Pool
Image Credit: Chris Hassan

If you prefer a high-end stay, there’s a way for you to maximize your Hilton Aspire card resort credit.

Typically, you can find high-end Hilton properties anywhere from 80,000 to 120,000 Hilton Honors points per night. Because the Hilton Aspire card usually offers a high welcome offer, you’ll have more than enough for an award night at one of the chain’s luxe properties. But, it gets better. The Hilton Aspire card also offers 1 Free Reward Night each year, meaning you can combine your points and a Free Night Reward to piece together a 2-night stay at a luxury property for free.

Once you’re on the property, you can use your $200 of your $400 annual credit toward incidentals on property, like poolside margaritas, an opulent dinner, or even the valet parking charges. You might not leave without paying some cash out of pocket, but when you consider many of Hilton’s most luxurious properties easily charge $500 or more per night, you’re coming out way ahead in this scenario.

Remember, too, that resort fees are waived if you use Hilton Honors points to pay for a stay. But wait, there’s even more — thanks to automatic Diamond status with the Hilton Aspire card, you’ll receive a daily food and beverage credit that can be used to cover the cost of breakfast throughout your stay.

That’s what we call a win-win-win!

Final Thoughts

Plenty of people don’t put enough stock into the Hilton Aspire card resort credit. It’s valid for tons of really cool activities, like dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants, but perhaps its most valuable feature is the ability to use it for hotel room rates.

Take advantage of prime locales around the world and spend several nights away without shelling out any cash. No matter how you spend it, the Hilton Aspire card resort credit is an excellent benefit that adds significant value to an already incredible card.

The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use my Hilton Aspire card's resort credit?

The Hilton Aspire card resort credit is easy to use. Simply charge any incidentals to your eligible room and pay with your Hilton Aspire card. You’ll be reimbursed automatically.

How many nights do you need for a free night at Hilton?

Hilton doesn’t have an established award chart, but free nights at its hotels start at just 5,000 points. You can easily earn that amount with just a 1-night stay and the Hilton Aspire card!

Is the Hilton Aspire card worth it?

With a bevy of benefits, the Hilton Aspire card is one of the absolute best travel cards, hands-down. It more than pays for its annual fees with resort credits, statement credits, elite status, and more.

How do you get a free night at Hilton?

There are a variety of ways you can get a free night at Hilton. If you have points, redeeming just 5,000 points can score you a free night. As a Hilton Aspire cardholder, you can also opt to use your annual $400 resort credit on room rates to get a free night. Cardholders also receive 1 Free Night Award each year.

What is a Hilton resort credit?

The Hilton Resort credit is an annual $400 credit given to Hilton Aspire cardholders, distributed in the form of 2, $200 semi-annual credits.

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About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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