The American Express Hilton Aspire card is a premium credit card that belongs in your wallet. It has a hefty annual fee, but the card comes with a plethora of benefits. I have had the card for several years and I happily pay the annual fee for it every year. After reading this, I’m sure you will too.
Sign Up Bonus
The current sign up bonus, as of November 27, is 150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. I know that seems like a lot of points, and it is a decent amount. However, some of the high end Hilton properties are 80,000 points per night. On the flip side, I’ve seen some places as low as 20,000 points.
Spending Category Bonus
Hilton Honors points are among the easiest points to earn. The Hilton Aspire card earns 14 points per dollar at Hilton properties, 7 points per dollar for flights, rental cars, and restaurants, and 3 points per dollar for everything else.
AmEx Hilton Aspire Benefits
There are a ton of benefits that this card comes with right off the bat. It might seem overwhelming, but it isn’t that confusing if you break it down.
Hilton Honors Diamond Status
This is the highest elite level in the Hilton Honors program. You get free breakfast (at properties outside the United States) or a food & beverage credit at properties within the United States, room updates, 100% bonus points on based points earned at Hiltons, and premium wifi.
There may be other benefits offered by specific Hilton properties, but those are the main benefits of having Diamond status.
Weekend Free Night Award
Every year, including the first year you have the card, you earn a free night that can be used on any weekend night at nearly any Hilton property worldwide. This can be used at a Waldorf Astoria where room rates are hundreds of dollars! This benefit alone may already outweigh the annual fee!
It is possible to earn a second free night after spending $60,000 within a calendar year. In my opinion, it isn’t worth the opportunity cost. You would likely have a better return putting that amount of spend on a different card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
$250 Resort Credit
Each year you have the card, you can get a statement credit for up to $250 (including the room rate) at a Hilton resort, such as the Hilton La Quinta Resort.
Waldorf Astoria/Conrad Credit
When you stay two or more nights at a Waldorf Astoria or Conrad hotel, you also get a $100 statement credit. This can be stacked with the previously mentioned resort credit!
$250 Airline Credit
Each calendar year, you get a $250 airline credit. Annoyingly, American Express makes it not as easy to use as Chase does with the Sapphire Reserve. With the Hilton Aspire card, you have to specify the airline to use it on before you can make use of it. It is also only good for incidental charges such as baggage fees, inflight food or drinks, or seat assignments.
Since this benefit is per calendar year, you can make use of it twice within the first year of having the card!
Priority Pass Select Membership
Access select airport lounges for you and two guests. Unfortunately, this does not include participating restaurants that the Priority Pass membership that the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
No surcharges when paying for charges in foreign countries. The surcharge is typically around 3%, so this can save you quite a bit of money.
AmEx Hilton Aspire Annual Fee
The annual fee on the Hilton Aspire card is $450. Obviously it may not be possible to make use of all of the benefits, but I’m confident that making use of just a handful of the benefits will make up for the annual fee.
Here is just one example that makes up for the high annual fee. If you stay at a resort for one night (which could be well more than $200) and spend $250. That’s already $450 in value. I’m not even including the value of having Diamond status for that stay.
When you add the airline credit for both calendar years and the value of the points from the sign up bonus, it adds up to over $1,000 for the first year of having the card.
Don’t cancel it after the first year! The free night, resort credit, and airline credit are enough that I think the Aspire card is well worth the annual fee. I’m all ears if you see it differently, and I will absolutely take your opinion into consideration, but I hope you already agree with me.