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The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is an excellent addition to the Hilton credit card lineup. It's a fantastic choice for high-spenders who find themselves staying at Hilton hotels multiple times throughout the year. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with enough perks and benefits to balance out its high annual fee.
- Benefits & Features
- How Does the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
Review: Our Thoughts on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a must-have for frequent travelers and high spenders who stay at Hilton hotels. This card comes with all the bells and whistles we'd expect from a $450 annual fee credit card. That means Priority Pass airport lounge access and annual airline statement credit. However, on top of all that, this card adds the potential to earn free weekend nights throughout the year, and an extra $250 statement credit that can be used towards Hilton purchases. These benefits are what make the steep annual fee worthwhile.
|Good For…||Bad For…|
|Frequent Hilton customers.||Consumers looking for a travel card that offers flexibility.|
|High spenders.||Those who don't care about airline incidentals or travel credits.|
Though the $450 annual fee may be off-putting to some, consider all the upfront benefits you get. If you add up the airfare incidental credits, hotel credits, and the one free weekend night you'll actually be coming out with a net positive $293. If you spend over $60,000 per year on the card, you get a second free night which puts you even more into the green. If $450 is still too much , we recommend you look at the other two Hilton credit cards and see how they compare.
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card isn't as good for those who want more freedom from their credit card rewards. For example, travel-lovers who don't feel a particular loyalty towards the Hilton brand, a generic travel rewards card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, will be a better choice. Travel cards provide you with the flexibility to use any hotel you want, which enables you to deal hunt and find savings in other ways. It also opens up more choices, which to is priceless to some consumers.
Bottom Line: There's a lot to love about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Any frequent Hilton customer who wants to save money should consider applying.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Benefits & Features
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers a host of benefits that can help you save money on your travels. The majority of benefits are concentrated around Hilton, though this card can also help you save on flights. First and foremost, you'll earn Hilton Honors Bonus points with every purchase. You get 14 points per dollar spent at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio. That's on top of the 10 points per dollar spent you ordinarily get for booking stays. The card also awards 7 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants. All other purchases earn you 3 points per dollar spent. Given that we value Hilton points at $0.006 each, this card's rewards rate is between 1.8% and 8.4%.
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the only credit card to come with complimentary Hilton Diamond status—the highest loyalty tier. Normally you'd need to book 30 stays or earn 120,000 points with the hotel to earn this membership. As mentioned above, you normally receive 10 points per dollar spent when staying at Hilton properties. However, with Diamond status, members receive 15 points per dollar spent. When you combine that with the credit card bonus, you get a grand total of 29 points per dollar spent.
You can also earn two free weekend nights. You get one per year for just being a cardmember. You get the second night if you charge at least $60,000 on the card within a calendar year. These rewards come in the form of redeemable codes that can be used on standard accommodations, with no more than double occupancy. You can combine the two codes and use them on a single stay. Given that the average daily rate for Hilton hotels was $143 in 2016, we value this benefit at $286.
There are three ways to earn statement credit through the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. First, you get $250 Hilton resort statement credit each year. The credit renews each cardmember year and can be used by both the primary cardholder and any authorized users. Additionally, you can get $100 in on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels—two of Hilton's luxury brands. The $100 credit only applies to things you buy at the properties, like massages or dining.
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card also awards $250 in airline incidentals each year. This credit is automatically applied to your bill whenever you make qualifying purchases. Airline incidentals include baggage fees, in-flight meals, and Wi-Fi. Airfare ticket purchases are not considered incidentals.
How Does the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?
Whenever we evaluate any credit card, we consider how it compares against other options on the market. We examined how the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card measures up against other leading hotel and travel cards.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve®
For most people the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the better option, due to having greater flexibility. If you're a diehard Hilton fan, and frequently stay at Hilton properties then the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the better choice—especially if you spend over $60,000 per year on your card. However, if you want the freedom to book different hotels, or even Airbnb, while still getting fantastic rewards then the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is more rewarding. The Chase card provides 3 points per dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases (3 points on travel after you earn the $300 travel credit). The points are generally worth $0.015. However, they can also be transferred to several airlines and hotel partners, where their value is boosted. Read more about Chase Ultimate Rewards in our guide.
Beyond that, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® also provides an extremely generous annual travel credit. You get $300 applied towards any travel charges on your card—airfare, Uber, Airbnb, hotels, and more. Not only is the annual credit on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card lower, but it also can only be applied towards airline incidentals.
If the Chase Sapphire Reserve® sounds interesting to you, we highly recommend checking out our full review to learn more.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card vs Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card (formerly known as the Surpass Card) is better for consumers who don't care about airline incidentals and spend less than $60,000 on their credit card per year. If you factor in the $250 Hilton credit, then the effective annual fee on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is $200—which is still $105 higher than the fee on the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card. However, you can make up for that difference with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card if you spend over $60k and qualify for that second free weekend night.
The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card comes with decent, though slightly worse features, than the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Instead of Diamond status, you'll get Gold membership— though you'll get Diamond if you charge at least $40,000 to the card within one calendar year. Instead of unlimited Priority Pass visits, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card provides just 10 passes each year. If these are not dealbreakers for you, then get the cheaper Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card instead of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card vs Hilton Honors American Express Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Card is perfect for those who spend less than $30,000 annually. This no-annual-fee credit card is beneficial for Hilton customers who don't want to pay high annual fees. This card allows you to earn extra Hilton Honors Bonus points, though at a significantly slower rate than the other Hilton cards. If that's all you're after, then we recommend you apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Card instead of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.