Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Review [2021]

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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Review [2021]

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"Turn everyday spending into inspired travel."

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.

Learn More (at Amex's secure site)

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 dining
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Diamond status
  • $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
  • $250 airline fee credit
  • 1 Free Weekend Night Award each cardmember anniversary
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • $100 credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties
  • $20 back per month at U.S. restaurants (through December 31, 2021; enroll through Amex Offers)

Cons

  • High annual fee

Card Snapshot

  • Welcome Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
    • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Aspire card from American Express after you use your new card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, 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 and at U.S. restaurants.
    • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your card.
    • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your card each anniversary year when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
    • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status.
    • $450 annual fee.
  • Card Categories:
  • Customer Service Number
    800-445-8667

The Ideal Cardholder

Zemi Beach House LXR Hotels Resorts
Rack up the points on each Hilton stay with the Hilton Aspire card. Image Credit: Hilton

The ideal cardholder for the Hilton Aspire card is someone who travels frequently, loves staying at Hilton hotels, and knows they will get more value out of the benefits of the card relative to the annual fee.

Complimentary Hilton Diamond Status

Perhaps the best benefit of the Hilton Aspire card is that it offers all cardholders top-tier Diamond status in the Hilton Honors program. Usually, you need to spend 60 nights a year in a Hilton Hotel in order to achieve Diamond status, but Hilton Aspire cardholders get it right away.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect with Hilton Honors Diamond status:

  • 100% point bonus on stays
  • Room upgrades — including suites
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Executive Lounge access
  • Welcome amenities

Anniversary Free Night Certificate

Each year on your account anniversary, Hilton Aspire cardholders receive 1 free weekend night certificate that can be used at almost any Hilton hotel within its portfolio. Do keep in mind that the certificate can only be used on the weekend, and excludes specific hotels.

This benefit alone can drastically help offset the annual fee, as many of the most expensive hotels in the Hilton portfolio can cost hundreds of dollars per night.

$250 Annual Hilton Resort Credit

Each cardmember year, you’ll receive $250 in statement credits for incidentals at participating Hilton resorts. This $250 can be used on items like dining, activities, and spa treatments.

$250 Annual Airline Fee Credit

As with other airline fee credits offered from American Express cards, each year you’ll receive $250 in statement credits for incidentals from an airline of your choice. However, the credit only applies to incidental fees like change or cancellation fees, checked bag fees, internet fees, etc.

Priority Pass Select Membership

Hilton Aspire cardholders receive a Priority Pass Select membership that allows you and 2 traveling companions to visit over 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide.

$100 Credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Properties

When you book a 2-night stay or longer at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad properties, your room rate (not include prepaid and non-refundable rates) and on-site purchases qualify for a $100 statement credit each membership year.

Monthly Dining Statement Credit

Cardholders can earn up to $20 back per month at U.S. restaurants (dine-in or takeout) through December 31, 2021 — a benefit worth up to $220! Enroll in this statement credit through Amex Offers.

Great Card If

  • You’re a frequent traveler.
  • Hilton is your hotel of choice, you stay there often, and spend heavily.
  • You value luxury travel benefits such as lounge access and top hotel loyalty status.

Don't Get If

  • You’re not a frequent traveler.
  • You don’t stay frequently or spend a lot at Hilton Hotels.
  • You’re looking for flexible rewards redemption options.
  • You’re not interested in paying a $450 annual fee, regardless of any value received.

Hilton Aspire - Card Fees

  • Annual Fee
    • $450
  • Foreign Transaction Fees
    None
  • Interest Rates
    • 15.74% to 24.74% Variable
  • Late fees
    • Penalty APR: 29.24%
    • Up to $40
  • Cash Advance APR
    • 25.24% Variable
  • Additional Info

How To Earn More Hilton Points

Hilton Stays

By far the best way to earn more Hilton Honors points with your Hilton Aspire card is to use it on your Hilton stays to earn a whopping 14x points per $1 spent. This represents a 5.6% return on your spend with Hilton hotels, based on our 0.4 cents per point valuation for Hilton Honors points.

Hot Tip: Thanks to the complimentary Diamond status, you’ll also receive a 100% bonus on points earned during stays, amounting to 20x points per $1 spent. Combined with the earnings from your Hilton Aspire card, you’ll be earning a staggering 34x points per $1 on all Hilton stays — or a 13.6% return on your spend!

Airfare/Select Travel and Dining

With your Hilton Aspire card, you’re going to earn 7x Hilton Honors points per $1 on airfare purchases made directly with airlines, travel purchases made through Amex Travel, and at U.S. restaurants.

This gives you a 2.8% return on your spending in each of these categories. While there are more rewarding cards out there for each of these categories, if you’re really trying to rack up the Hilton Honors points then these categories offer a great way to do so.

Everyday Purchases

On any purchases falling outside of the previously mentioned categories, you’ll still earn 3x points per $1. Again, there are other cards on the market that would be more rewarding for your non-bonused spend, but these points will really add up for those trying to optimize for Hilton Honors points.

Hot Tip: Cardholders can earn an extra 10,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases (up to 10x) through June 30, 2021.

Amex Offers

Each American Express card gives cardholders the opportunity to receive dozens of Amex Offers each month that offer discounts, deals, or point-earning opportunities with a variety of merchants.

Simply add the offers you plan to use to your card each month, and then you can begin to earn additional Hilton Honors points or statement credits for purchases you likely would have made anyways.

Refer-a-Friend Bonus

Hilton Aspire cardholders can refer their friends and family to become cardholders of the Hilton Aspire card as well, and will be rewarded for doing so.

When you refer people to the Hilton Aspire card you can earn 20,000 Hilton Honors points per referral, and up to 80,000 Hilton Honors points per year.

To send out a referral, visit the Refer-a-Friend website and log in using your Amex username and password (or your credit card information).

Lyft Rides

When you link your Hilton Honors and Lyft accounts you will earn 3x points per $1 spent on Lyft rides (economy, luxury, and extra seats), and 2x points per $1 spent on shared Lyft rides.

Hilton Dining Program

When you link a credit card to the Hilton dining program you can earn between 2x and 8x points per $1 spent at eligible restaurants, depending on your level in the program. These points are in addition to the points you’ll earn for paying with your Hilton Aspire card.

Adding Additional Hilton Cards

Adding other Hilton cards to your wallet can be a great way to earn extra Hilton Honors points, not just from the welcome bonus, but new cards give you the opportunity to earn points for other bonus categories.

Take the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card for example, which offers 6x Hilton Honors points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.

Adding Additional Amex Membership Rewards Cards

Hilton is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner, so points earned from Membership Rewards cards can be transferred over to Hilton whenever you wish.

However, we value Membership Rewards points significantly higher than Hilton Honors points. So unless you need to transfer a relatively small number of points to make a certain booking possible, we would not recommend using your Membership Rewards points this way.

How To Use Hilton Points for Max Value

Grand Wailea Hawaii
Use your Hilton Honors points to stay in gorgeous hotels like the Grand Wailea in Hawaii. Image Credit: Hilton

Hilton Stays

Naturally, the best way to get great value out of your Hilton Honors points is redeeming them for free nights in Hilton hotels. However, Hilton no longer publishes an award chart, so the only way to know the award price is to search for your dates or to use the Points Explorer Tool.

Award nights can cost between 5,000 to 95,000 points per night, and the cost you’ll pay will largely depend on the quality of the property, where it is located, and the time of year.

Hot Tip: All Hilton elite members get their fifth night free on award stays, so this is an excellent way to get even more value out of your points, and effectively reduces the overall booking cost by 20%.

Hilton Experiences

Another redemption option is using your Hilton Honors points towards an experience package like tickets to a show or a dining experience. While these experiences can be unique and make for a fun evening, they generally don’t offer great value for your points.

Lyft Rides

Through the Lyft and Hilton partnership previously mentioned, you can also redeem your Hilton Honors points for Lyft gift cards — but you really shouldn’t. Redeeming your points this way offers a value of just 0.2 cents per point, which is half of what we value them at.

Amazon Purchases

If you have your Hilton account linked with your Amazon account, you’ll be able to use your Hilton Honors points to offset purchases you make through Amazon. But just like with Lyft, your points will only be worth 0.2 cents apiece when you redeem them this way.

Bottom Line: Given these options, we strongly recommend that you redeem your Hilton Honors points for hotel stays, as those will offer you the best value for your points

Alternative Cards to The Hilton Aspire

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

CardHotel RewardsSample Benefits/Fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card


Learn More
(at Amex's secure site)
  • 6 Marriott Rewards Points/$1 spent at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • Up to $300 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • Gold Elite status, Priority Pass Select Membership, complimentary anniversary night, premium internet access
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

As far as premium hotel cards go, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card is really the only other option. This card is perfectly suited for those who prefer Marriott hotels to Hilton hotels and want to take advantage of benefits like automatic Gold Elite status, an annual free night certificate, and a $300 annual Marriott credit.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

If there is 1 card that is all about the benefits, it is the Amex Platinum card. The Amex Platinum card offers Gold status with both Marriott and Hilton hotels, along with other benefits like Uber credits, and airline fee credit, a Saks credit, and access to 6 different airport lounge programs.


Frequently asked questions

Is the Hilton Aspire card worth it?

If you’re someone who regularly stays in Hilton hotels, and knows for certain that you’ll get outsized value out of the annual benefits, then yes the card is definitely worth it.

Which Hilton card is best?

Technically speaking, the Hilton Aspire card is by far the best. It offers the best point earning on Hilton stays, the best elite status, and the best benefits.

However, it might not necessarily be the best Hilton card for you if you don’t want all of those benefits or prefer to pay a smaller (or no) annual fee.

How can I get a Hilton free night certificate?

Holding certain Hilton co-branded credit cards, like the Hilton Aspire card, will offer you a free night certificate that can be used at most Hilton hotels each year on your account anniversary.

How many Hilton Honors points do you need for a free night?

Hilton does not publish an award chart, so award prices can vary, but generally, you will need between 5,000 to 95,000 points for a free night depending on the quality and location of the hotel.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Jarrod first became fascinated with the world of points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. On his first major award trip, he spent 3 months traveling through Europe, financed nearly entirely with points; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. Now, he is on a mission to help others realize their travel goals and upgrade their travel experiences. Jarrod has been writing about credit cards and travel loyalty programs for 4 years, and his work has been featured by Travel and Leisure, Matador Network, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.

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