The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire credit card is arguably one of the best hotel credit cards on the market. This card does carry a higher annual fee than most other cards. However, if you regularly stay at Hilton hotels, this card has a lot of benefits that can easily offset the cost.
Hotel cobranded credit cards are a great way to compliment other travel credit cards already in your wallet. Simply put, they can provide some excellent perks that other cards just can’t.
Welcome Bonus & Annual Fee
Currently, the American Express Aspire card is offering 150,000 Hilton Honors points to new cardmembers who spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening their account. These bonus can used on your next vacation towards free nights at Hilton properties worldwide. Keep in mind this welcome offer is only good for those who have never had this card before.
The Hilton Aspire card is considered a premium card and does come with a higher annual fee of $450 per year. The card also comes with statement credits, a free night certificate, status and other benefits that can easily offset the cost. If you love staying at Hilton properties, the AMEX Hilton Aspire card could be perfect for you.
Benefits & Perks
This AMEX Hilton Aspire card comes with a lot of excellent perks just for having the card. Everyone’s situation and travel preferences are different but this is where you can easily decide if this card is right for your. If you’re able to get more value from these benefits than the cost of the annual fee, then you should strongly considering applying for this card. While this isn’t an exhaustive, here are some of the best perks this card has to offer.
Hilton Honors Diamond Status – This is my favorite perk. The AMEX Aspire card gives you complimentary Diamond status just for having the card. No other cobranded hotel card just gives you their highest level of elite status. Diamond status gives you free breakfast for two, upgrades, lounge access and so much more!
Hilton Resort Credits – This card will give you up to $250 in statement credits, each cardmember year, for incidental charges made at participating Hilton resorts. These credits will be applied to things like dining and spa purchases. These can also be used for room purchases as long as they are not nonrefundable or advanced-purchased rates.
Free Reward Nights – You’ll get a free weekend award night when your account is opened and another after each year after your cardmember anniversary. Plus, if you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year, you can earn an additional free weekend night reward. These award nights have be used at almost any Hilton property worldwide.
Priority Pass Membership – The Aspire card also gives you a free unlimited Priority Pass membership. This membership give you and 2 guests access to select airport lounges worldwide.
Airline Fee Credit – This card gives you up to $250 in statement credits for incidental airline fees. The tough part about these credits is that you have to designate one airline each year and only fees associated with that airline will be credited. If you consistently fly one airline, the savings can quickly add up. The credits can be used towards things like lounge access, checked bag fees and change fees.
Hilton dynamically prices their award redemptions, so the number of points it can take for your itinerary can be quite high. Fortunately, the American Express Aspire card has a couple of great bonus spend categories that can really add up.
Hilton Purchases – You’ll earn 14x Hilton Honors points for every dollar spent at Hilton hotels. However, because you have Diamond status with the card, you also earn a 100% points bonus. That can be up to an additional 20 points per dollar spent depending on where you stay. Earning up to 34x Honors points on Hilton stays is an incredible value.
Other Bonus Purchases – You will also earn 7x Hilton Honors points on airfare purchases made directly through AMEX Travel, dining purchases made at U.S. restaurants and car rental purchases made directly with select car rental companies.
All Other Purchases – Every other purchase you make with the AMEX Aspire card will hear 3x Hilton Honors points.
Hilton Award Nights – The tough part about the Hilton Honors program is that there is no fixed award chart. Redemption rates can vary from one day to the next so it can be tough to know how many points you’ll need for your next vacation. I would recommend using Hilton’s points explorer tool which will give you an idea of what it might cost. Keep in mind Hilton does not charge resort fees if you book your stay with points.
Points & Cash – Hilton also allows you to book rooms using a combination of points and cash. This can be decent value if you’re a little short on points when you need to book your room.
Other Redemptions – The Hilton Honors program also lets you redeem your points for gift cards and other items but I wouldn’t recommend doing that. You’ll get a better value from your points by using them at a Hilton property.
Other Hotel Credit Cards
Keep in mind the AMEX Hilton Aspire card is a premium card that carries premium benefits. Other premium travel cards that are have similar premium benefits would be the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Platinum Card by American Express. However, if you’re interested in other hotel specific cards, here are a few other options to consider. Even though they don’t have the same premium benefits as the Aspire card, they are definitely worth considering.
Hilton – The AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card is a similar card but doesn’t have a lot of the benefits of the Aspire card. New cardmembers will earn 130,000 Honors points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months of opening their account. There is a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) with this card.
Hyatt – The World of Hyatt credit card is another good option and one that I have in my wallet. New cardmembers can earn up to 60,000 Hyatt points. You can earn 30k bonus points after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, you can earn up to 30k more bonus points by earning 2 bonus points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent. The annual fee for this card is $95.
Marriott – For those of you who enjoy staying at Marriott properties, there’s the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. They are currently offering new cardmembers 5 free nights (worth up to 50k points per night) after you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of opening an account. The annual fee is $95.
IHG – The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card is great for staying at IHG properties. New cardmembers will receive 140,000 bonus IHG points after spending $3,000 within 3 months of their account being opened. The annual fee for this card is $99.
I think the American Express Hilton Aspire card is an excellent option for those who stay at Hilton properties. This card comes with valuable benefits that can easily offset the cost of the annual fee. Frequent travelers should have no problem getting a lot of value from this card. Between the welcome bonus and the incredible benefits, I wouldn’t hesitate to add this card to my wallet.