Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Benefits & Review 2021
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the ritziest of the three co-brand Hilton Honors hotel credit cards. Some of the benefits you can use immediately include one weekend night award, Diamond loyalty status, and Hilton statement credits. Here’s a closer look at this premium travel credit card.
Luxury travelers and people who regularly stay at Hilton Honors hotels and resorts will benefit the most from this card.
The card has a $450 annual fee but features several Hilton and air travel benefits that can be more valuable. The card perks can easily be worth more than the annual fee when you make several trips per year.
You must be comfortable earning Hilton Honors rewards points on purchases if you intend for this card to be your primary spending card.
|Benefits at a Glance|
|– Annual Fee: $450|
– Current Bonus: 150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
– 14x Points on Hilton purchases
– 7x points on qualifying flights and car rentals
– 7x points at U.S. restaurants
– 3x points on all non-bonus purchases
– One Weekend Night Reward each year
– Up to $250 Hilton Resort Statement Credit
– Up to $100 Hilton On-Property Credit
– Hilton Honors Diamond Status
– Priority Pass Select Airport Lounge Access
– Up to $250 Airline Fee Credit
– No Foreign Transaction Fee
– Various Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits
– APR: 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR
– Great Credit Score Required (700+)
Featured Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Benefits
These Hilton benefits are the best reason to consider this card. You will need to stay at high-end properties to redeem some of these perks.
150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points
The current welcome offer is 150,000 bonus Hilton Honors points by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
This bonus offer can be worth approximately 5 nights by staying at entry-level properties.
You can qualify for this signup bonus even if you have another co-brand consumer Hilton Honors credit card.
The Vacationer Tip
You cannot earn a repeat bonus for the Aspire if you’re a previous cardholder. This “once in a lifetime” policy is common for all American Express credit cards.
Annual Weekend Night Certificate
New cardholders receive a weekend night certificate at account opening and each card anniversary. This free night reward is redeemable at most properties in the Hilton Honors portfolio on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night.
Most cards only award this benefit at the card anniversary.
Making at least $60,000 in annual card purchases lets you earn a second weekend night certificate each year.
$250 Hilton Resort Statement Credit
You can receive up to $250 in annual statement credits at Hilton Resorts and all-inclusive properties if you enjoy luxury stays.
This statement credit won’t reimburse hotel purchases at the standard hotel brands. However, these stays can still earn 14x Hilton Honors points.
$100 Hilton On-Property Credit
You can also enjoy up to $100 in on-property statement credits per year on qualifying stays. Book a minimum 2-night stay at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts or Conrad Hotels & Resorts to receive the credit.
Hilton Honors Diamond Status
This card provides instant Hilton Honors Diamond loyalty status. This is the highest loyalty tier and the only co-brand Hilton Honors credit card to offer this status level. Read more about the Hilton Honors Loyalty Program.
Some of the membership benefits include:
- Earn 100% bonus points on stays
- Space-available room upgrades
- Executive lounge access
- Daily food and beverage credit
- Fifth night is free on 4+ night stays
- Premium WiFi
- 48-hour room guarantee
Without the Hilton Honors Aspire Card, you must complete 30 nights to reach this status level.
Earn Up to 14x Hilton Honors Points
Each card purchase earns Hilton Honors points.
The bonus categories include:
- 14x points on Hilton hotels and resorts purchases
- 7x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com and select car rental agencies
- 7x points at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery
- 3x points on non-bonus purchases
These bonus categories can make this card an excellent option for earning points when you travel.
Hilton Honors Aspire Air Travel Benefits
This card offers a few air travel benefits that other premium travel credit cards offer. These perks can help frequent flyers only pay the hefty annual fee for one card.
$250 Airline Fee Credit
You can get up to $250 in statement credits for incidental expenses such as:
- Checked baggage fees
- In-flight food and beverage
- Flight change fees
This credit doesn’t reimburse the purchase of plane tickets. You will need to designate one airline of choice to receive the fee credit on qualifying purchases.
Priority Pass Select Lounge Access
The primary cardholder and up to 2 guests can enter the 1,200+ Priority Pass airport lounges free of charge.
Baggage Insurance Plan
Each covered traveler can get up to $3,000 in insurance for checked baggage and carry-ons per trip:
- Checked baggage: Up to $2,000
- High-risk items (i.e., electronics and jewelry): Up to $1,000
New York State residents can qualify for up to $2,000 in coverage for each bag or suitcase. The aggregate coverage limit is $10,000 for all covered persons per covered trip.
Other Hilton Honors Aspire Benefits
Several other travel and purchase benefits add extra value.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
Most domestic and international car rentals qualify for complimentary car rental collision and theft coverage. This coverage benefit is secondary and you will need to file a claim with your regular auto insurance provider first.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
It’s possible to receive reimbursement for non-refundable travel purchases when qualifying circumstances cancel or delay a trip.
The coverage limit is $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per year.
Trip Delay Coverage
You can receive up to $500 in reimbursement of essential purchases for qualifying travel delays.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
The transaction fee is 0% for international purchases. Compared to competing cards that charge 1-3% for international purchases, this benefit can save you big when traveling abroad.
Premium Global Assist Hotline
You can call the Premium Global Assist Hotline when traveling at least 100 miles away from home. The service can put you in touch with medical and legal professionals.
This hotline can also assist with medical, legal, financial, travel, and emergency coordination 24/7. American Express doesn’t charge a fee but the third-party service providers can.
Qualifying purchases that are accidentally lost, stolen, or damaged within 90 days of the original purchase date can qualify for purchase protection.
The maximum coverage amounts are $10,000 per purchase and $50,000 per calendar year.
Qualifying purchases from the past 90 days can qualify for return protection benefits of up to $300 per item. The maximum benefit value is $1,000 per calendar year.
Extended Warranty Protections
Manufacturer’s warranties initially 5 years or less may qualify for an additional coverage year.
Cardholders get complimentary ShopRunner membership. Program benefits include free 2-day shipping at participating merchants and free returns.
Redeeming Hilton Honors Points
There are a few ways to redeem your Hilton Honors points in addition to free hotel nights.
Hilton award nights are the most valuable way to redeem Hilton Honors points. Each point can be worth approximately 0.8 cents for most reservations.
Hilton uses a variable pricing chart and doesn’t publish a category-based award chart like most hotel loyalty programs. Award nights can be as low as 5,000 points or as much as 150,000 points.
It’s difficult to precisely estimate the number of points you will need to book a stay.
However, award nights will cost more at luxury properties and during peak travel seasons.
The Vacationer Tip
If you don’t have enough points to book an award stay by yourself, you can also pool your points with other Hilton Honors members. Or, you can pay with points and cash.
Redeeming your points for travel experiences like intimate dining experiences or adventure travel can be exciting. However, the redemption value is lower than hotel nights.
You can transfer hotel points to participating airlines but the transfer ratio is a dismal 10:1 (10,000 Hilton Honors points equals 1,000 airline miles).
Lyft Rides and Rental Cars
You can redeem your points for Lyft rideshares and rental cars. Also, connecting your Hilton Honors and Lyft accounts lets you earn Hilton points on Lyft purchases.
It’s also possible to redeem Hilton points for Amazon.com purchases and other online retailers.
Here are the featured Hilton Honors Aspire Card fees:
- Annual Fee: $450 ($0 for secondary cards)
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Purchase APR: 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR
- Amex Plan It: Up to 1.33%
Hilton Honors Aspire Compared to Similar Cards
These other cards can be a valuable companion card or a better fit for earning travel rewards.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant:
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card shares many of the same traits as the Hilton Honors Aspire Card but can offer more benefits.
You might also prefer this card if you don’t stay at luxury hotels as the Marriott card statement credits apply to entry-level and mid-level Marriott Bonvoy properties too.
Some of the best card features include:
- Up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit
- Up to $100 on-property statement credit at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis
- 1 free night award each card anniversary (up to 50,000 points)
- 15 Elite Night Credits
- Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge access
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
The annual fee is $450 for the primary card and $0 for secondary cards.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card:
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is the mid-tier Hilton Honors credit card. It offers fewer benefits than the Aspire Card but only charges a $95 annual fee.
Primary card benefits include:
- Hilton Honors Gold status
- 1 Weekend Night Reward per year after $15,000 in annual purchases
- Up to 10 free Priority Pass Select visits per year
- Earn up to 12x Hilton Honors points on purchases
Not getting an automatic Weekend Night Reward for each card anniversary is a glaring downside for this card.
Hilton Honors American Express Card:
Infrequent Hilton Honors guests will benefit the most from the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors Card.
This card provides basic benefits, including:
- Hilton Honors Silver status
- Earn up to 7x points on purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
You won’t have the opportunity to earn free night rewards. However, this card is an effortless and free way to prevent expiring Hilton Honors points and earning some bonuses on Hilton stays.
Platinum Card from American Express:
The Platinum Card from American Express can be a better option if you want frequent flyer benefits first and hotel perks second. It’s also a great option if you want the opportunity to redeem your points for non-Hilton rewards.
Several valuable benefits include:
- Up to $200 airline fee credit
- Up to $200 hotel fee credit
- $15 per month Uber Cash for rides and eats ($35 in December)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit (Up to $100)
- CLEAR application fee credit (Up to $179)
- $100 experience credit at The Hotel Collection (2-night minimum stay)
- Hilton Honors Gold status
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
- Earn up to 5x Membership Rewards on points
Award flights can be the most valuable way to redeem your Membership Rewards. You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to airlines or hotels, including Hilton Honors.
The annual fee is $695 for the primary card and a flat $175 for up to 3 additional cards.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is another premium credit card to consider. It balances airline and hotel rewards while the American Express Platinum caters to frequent flyers.
You won’t be able to transfer credit card points directly to Hilton Honors, but it’s possible to get a 50% redemption bonus on most award travel bookings.
Travel benefits include:
- Up to $300 annual travel statement credit
- 50% redemption bonus for award travel bookings
- 1:1 airline and hotel point transfers
- Priority Pass Select lounge membership
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection on-property benefits
- Earn 3x Ultimate Rewards on travel and dining purchases
Each point is worth 50% more (1.5 cents each) when booking award flights, hotel nights, and car rentals on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. This redemption value can be double the value when booking directly through Hilton.
This card doesn’t offer upgraded hotel loyalty status.
The annual fee is $550 for the primary card and $75 for each additional user.
World of Hyatt Credit Card:
The World of Hyatt Credit Card doesn’t pack as many perks as the Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
Despite its fewer features, this card has a lower annual fee ($95) and lets you maximize one of the best hotel loyalty programs.
Card benefits include:
- 1 free night award each card anniversary (Category 1-4 properties)
- World of Hyatt Discoverist status
- 5 qualifying night credits
- Earn up to 4x World of Hyatt points on purchases
- No foreign transaction fee
The $95 annual fee can be another reason to consider this card, even if you only use it for the free night award.
The primary card annual fee is $450. Each secondary card costs $0.
The foreign transaction fee is 0% on all international purchases.
Most of the Aspire Card benefits are for Hilton Honors but include several air travel and purchase protection benefits too.
Some of the Hilton Honors benefits include an annual $250 Hilton Resort statement credit, Hilton Honors Diamond status, and 1 Weekend Night Award per year.
Cardholders receive up to $250 in statement credits for Hilton Resort purchases each year. This credit doesn’t apply to standard hotels in the Hilton Honors portfolio.
The $100 on-property credit reimburses qualifying expenses on minimum 2-night stays at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts or Conrad Hotels & Resorts.
You must book eligible stays at hiltonhonorsaspirecard.com to receive the credit.
The Hilton Honors Weekend Night Reward is valid for 1 free night on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Most Hilton Honors properties participate and you can redeem the certificate on the Hilton website.
Each certificate expires one year after the issue date.
The $250 airline fee credit reimburses incidental expenses for one airline of the cardholder’s choice. Qualifying expenses include checked baggage fees, in-flight purchases, and change fees.
Hilton purchases earn 14x Hilton Honors points.
Flights booked directly from the airline or on AmexTravel.com earn 7x points. Reservations on third-party booking sites earn 3x points.
Directly booking rental cars from most agencies earn 7x points.
Purchases at U.S. restaurants including takeout and delivery earn 7x points.
Award nights at Hilton Honors hotels and resorts are the most valuable redemption option, in most instances.
The current welcome offer is 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases during the first 3 months.
A minimum credit score of 700 is recommended to have the best approval odds. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card requires good or excellent credit to qualify.
Hilton points expire 15 months after account inactivity. The Hilton Honors loyalty program is suspending point expirations through December 31, 2022.
Hilton Honors points are worth approximately 0.8 cents each for most rewards nights.
The redemption value is lower for non-Hilton redemptions such as experiences, online shopping, Lyft rides, and airline point transfers.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has many hotel and air travel benefits that can help frequent travelers.
Hilton guests that routinely stay at Hilton Resorts and luxury brands like Waldorf Astoria and Conrad are the best fit for the card as the annual Hilton statement credits only apply to high-end properties.
Travelers who infrequently dabble in luxury travel might be able to find enough value in the Weekend Night Certificate, Diamond loyalty status, and air travel benefits.
Otherwise, another travel credit card with flexible redemption options or another Hilton Honors credit card will be a better choice.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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