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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Review: Is It Worth $450?

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Review: Is It Worth $450?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. Citi is an advertising partner.

Quick facts

More details

Rates & fees

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earning rate: Earn 14X per $1 of eligible purchases on your card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants, and 3X for other purchases on your card
  • Annual fee: $450
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Other benefits: Resort credit, on-property credit, annual weekend night reward, Hilton Honors Diamond status (enrollment required), Priority Pass™ Select membership (enrollment required), airline fee credit (enrollment required)

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: 660 - 850
  • Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earning rate: Earn 14X per $1 of eligible purchases on your card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants, and 3X for other purchases on your card
  • Annual fee: $450
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Other benefits: Resort credit, on-property credit, annual weekend night reward, Hilton Honors Diamond status (enrollment required), Priority Pass™ Select membership (enrollment required), airline fee credit (enrollment required)

More details

  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide
  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
  • One Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio with your new Card and each year of Card Membership
  • A second Weekend Night Reward at a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio after spending $60,000 in purchases on the Card in a calendar year
  • Unlimited Priority Pass™Lounge passes to ease the airport experience, enrollment required
  • $250 Airline incidental fee statement credit
  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit
  • $100 on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when booking the exclusive Aspire Card package
  • Access to 24/7 American Express concierge
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Terms apply

Rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: N/A
  • Regular Purchase APR: 17.99% to 26.99% variable
  • Intro BT APR: N/A
  • Regular BT APR: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • See rates and fees

Pros

  • Impressive earning rate
  • Stellar welcome offer
  • Numerous credits for Hilton guests
  • Excellent travel and purchase protections
  • Hilton Honors Diamond status (enrollment required)
  • Annual weekend night reward
  • Global airport lounge access
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Enormous annual fee
  • Welcome offer can be difficult to attain
  • Hilton Honors points have a low value
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Is the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express worth it?

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express can be worth it for high spenders who stay frequently with Hilton and appreciate the luxury perks and benefits that come with this card.

While the $450 annual fee may be off-putting to some, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express comes with plenty of travel-related perks to offset its steep annual fee. With the airfare credits (up to $250, enrollment required) and hotel credits (up to $350, enrollment required) alone, you already net $150 more than the annual fee — not to mention the free weekend night award you get automatically, and the second one you get if you spend over $60,000 per year on the card adds further value to the card. The card also offers a Priority Pass Select™ membership — a $299 value (enrollment required).

If $450 is still too high, consider the two other Hilton credit cards instead. As for travel lovers who don't have a particular loyalty towards the Hilton brand, a generic travel rewards card (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®) will be a better choice. Travel rewards cards provide you with the flexibility to use any hotel you want, enabling you to deal hunt and find savings in other ways.

Welcome offer

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express comes with an attractive welcome offer befitting of a luxury credit card:

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Because we value Hilton Honors points at about 0.5 cents per point, we estimate this welcome offer to be worth about $750 — an impressive perk of signing up for this card.

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How much is it worth? $750

Who is eligible to earn it? Applicants who currently have this card or who have had it in the past won’t be eligible for this offer. Amex will also consider the number of American Express cards you have opened and closed, as well as other factors, when deciding whether you will be eligible to receive the welcome offer. Your account must be active and in good standing at the time of fulfillment to receive this offer.

Earning rate

With the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, you’ll earn bonus Hilton points on both travel and everyday purchases:

Earn 14X per $1 of eligible purchases on your card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort, 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants, and 3X for other purchases on your card

The most lucrative earning rate is on dollars spent at Hilton hotels — plus, with the card’s complimentary Diamond status, you’ll earn a 100% points bonus on Hilton stays (enrollment required). This means that you can earn a total of 34 points per dollar when you use the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express on Hilton stays.

This is a great rate on hotel purchases and a high earning rate overall. However, as you can see from our chart below, Hilton's no-annual-fee card — the Hilton Honors American Express Card — has the edge over the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express on its earning, since it includes an additional bonus on U.S. supermarket purchases.

Average rewards earned per $1 spent

We estimate an earning rate for the average consumer based on U.S. Bureau of Labor data and multiply that by the value of each card’s points or miles.

How much are Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express points worth?

Hilton points are valued below many other rewards programs, at just 0.5 cents per point. But if you can accumulate enough of them — and this card certainly gives you a good start — they can become extremely valuable.

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Redeeming rewards

While Hilton offers consumers a number of ways to redeem your Hilton Honors points, you'd be best off redeeming them for free hotel nights. Hilton has more than 6,800 properties around the world and no blackout dates that restrict when you can book award stays.

However, Hilton uses dynamic pricing, which means the amount of points required for a stay could change depending on when you book and at which property. For a standard room, award nights start at 5,000 points per night and can go all the way up to 120,000 points per night for specialty properties.

As you can see from the sample itineraries below, award nights in more desirable destinations will generally cost you more than 20,000 points, so you'll generally need to collect a large number of points for a redemption:

Hotel
Cash price
Points required
Points value
Conrad New York Midtown$45289,000 points0.51 cents
Embassy Suites by Hilton New York Manhattan Times Square$8724,000 points0.36 cents
Hilton Garden Inn New York/Central Park South Midtown West$13424,000 points0.56 cents
Homewood Suites by Hilton New York/Midtown Manhattan Times Square-South, NY$18340,000 points0.46 cents
Average value0.47 cents

Savvy traveler tip: Hilton's fifth night free benefit lets you stretch your points further, by giving you a free award night on a stay of four or more award nights.

Other Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express benefits

To earn Hilton Diamond status, you’d normally need to book 42 nights or 21 stays, or earn 84,000 bonus points. With the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, however, you’ll automatically earn Diamond status — the highest loyalty tier of the Hilton Honors program — once you’ve enrolled. As you continue to stay at Hilton properties, owning elite status is the gift that keeps on giving.

Diamond members receive a 100% bonus to the points they earn on Hilton Hotel stays, which can quickly propel you to even more free nights than what's already offered by the card. Not to mention, you’ll enjoy the following benefits with Hilton Honors Diamond status:

  • Room upgrades upon availability.
  • Executive lounge access.
  • After you’ve been a Diamond member for three years and stayed 250 lifetime nights or earned 500,000 base points, your Diamond Elite status can be extended for an additional year.
  • Premium Wi-Fi.
  • 48-hour room guarantee.
  • If you hit 40 nights in one calendar year, you can give Gold status to any member. If you hit 70 nights, you can then give Diamond Elite status to any member.

With the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, you can earn two free weekend nights. You’re awarded one weekend night annually just for being a cardmember, and you’ll 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 at double occupancy. You can combine the two codes and use them on a single stay. These awards can be used on any night of the week — not just weekends) — and can be extremely valuable for consumers who travel often and can benefit from a free hotel stay.

You’ll receive up to a $250 Hilton resort statement credit each year, good for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton resorts. This credit renews each cardmember year.

If you're a fan of Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels, you're in luck — cardholders will receive up to a $100 credit to use on-property when you book a minimum two-night stay at participating properties within these luxury Hilton brands. This credit applies to purchases made on the property like massages or dining, but doesn’t count towards taxes and fees or room charges.

Cardholders will be awarded up to $250 in airline incidental credits each year (enrollment required). You can select one airline per year, then the credit will automatically be applied to your bill whenever you make qualifying purchases. Airline incidentals include baggage fees, flight-change fees, in-flight meals and Wi-Fi, among others; however, airfare ticket purchases are not considered incidentals.

Among the suite of benefits, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express provides, you’ll also receive a complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select. This will grant unlimited lounge access to you and up to two guests (enrollment required). With over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, this can be a valuable perk if you travel often.

This card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which is essential for a travel card. While they’re only a small percentage of every purchase, foreign transaction fees can quickly add up when you're on a vacation abroad.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express offers a couple of valuable travel protections:

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Secondary car rental coverage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. Exclusions and restrictions apply.
  • Baggage Insurance Plan: Up to $2,000 for checked baggage and up to a maximum of $3,000 combined for checked and carry-on luggage.
  • Return protection: When you make your purchase fully on your Amex card, you can get up to $300 per item, up to a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year per account within 90 days of purchase.
  • Extended warranty: One additional year will be added onto the original manufacturer's warranty of five years or less.
  • Purchase protection: You'll be covered for up to 90 days and can receive up to $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per calendar year.

When traveling more than 100 miles from home, you can rely on Amex's Premium Global Assist Hotline for medical, legal, financial or other assistance and organization 24/7. This can be useful if you experience an emergency while traveling.

You can experience luxury cardmember events and get access to ticket presales with the exclusive access offered by American Express Experiences. These can include Broadway shows, sporting events, concerts and more.

Depending on how you take advantage of these perks, you could save lots of money from these protections alone.

Drawbacks

  • Enormous annual fee: The most obvious drawback to the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is its $450 annual fee. While the card offers plenty of credits and points-earning opportunities to help offset the fee, it's still a large sum that cardholders will have to confront each year.
  • Welcome offer can be difficult to attain: If you don't typically spend enough on your card to meet the spending threshold, you may find it challenging to earn the card's lucrative welcome offer. This can be a major drawback, as the welcome offer is a strong selling point for the card.
  • Hilton Honors points have a low value: Compared with the up to 2 cents per point that Chase Sapphire Reserve® points are worth, the 0.5 cents per point awarded by the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express can't compete. While hotel rewards points tend to come at a lower value than airline miles, Hilton points are still particularly low.

Alternatives to the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Whenever we evaluate any credit card, we consider how it compares against other options on the market. Here’s how the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express measures up against other leading hotel and travel cards.

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Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Editor's Rating?
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
$550
$95
More card details
Not available on ValuePenguin
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Not available on ValuePenguin
Apply Now
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Verdict: A luxury general travel rewards card that offers more flexibility.

If you're a diehard Hilton fan and frequently stay at Hilton properties, then the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is the better choice — especially if you spend over $60,000 per year on your card. For most people, though, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® would be a more suitable option, due to its greater flexibility.

If you want the freedom to book different hotels or even Airbnb while still receiving fantastic rewards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is your better bet. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards® through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Ultimate Rewards points are generally worth 1.5 cents, but you can transfer them to several airlines and hotel partners where their value is boosted. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t be able to transfer your points to Hilton Honors.

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.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express vs. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

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Verdict: Solid Hilton benefits for a much lower annual fee.

The Hilton Honors American Express 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. Instead, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card comes with slightly less value than the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, though it still offers generous point earnings. For example, instead of Diamond status, you'll get Hilton Honors Gold status — though you can qualify for Diamond if you charge at least $40,000 to the card within one calendar year (enrollment required).

On the other hand, if you’re leery of paying a $450 annual fee, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers a high earning rate for a $95 annual fee. You’ll Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express vs. Hilton Honors American Express Card

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Verdict: Some Hilton perks with no annual fee.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card is a good fit for those who spend less than $30,000 annually. This $0-annual-fee credit card is beneficial for Hilton customers who don't want to pay high annual fees. This card allows you to earn bonus Hilton Honors points, though at a significantly slower rate than the other Hilton cards: Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio, 5X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations AND 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.

If points are all you're after, then the Hilton Honors American Express Card would be a better option than the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express.

For rates and fees of Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here

Should you get the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express?

If you're looking for a luxury credit card, frequently stay with Hilton and are willing to pay a large annual fee, consider getting the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express. In addition to its large welcome offer, this card is jam-packed with benefits, such as automatic elite status and tons of statement credits. By understanding everything this card has to offer, you can take advantage of its premium offerings and maximize its value to its fullest potential. This is a top-tier hotel credit card that will benefit Hilton Honors loyalists.

However, if you're looking for more flexibility or aren't willing to pay such a high annual fee, there are other great travel rewards credit cards out there to consider as well.

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express?

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express offers a number of valuable benefits, including travel credits, annual weekend night rewards and extensive airport lounge access. It's worth noting, however, that the card does come with a $450 annual fee as well.

Where can I use my Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express?

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is issued by American Express. You should be able to use it anywhere American Express cards are accepted.

Can you upgrade to Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express?

Yes, you can upgrade to the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express. You can request an upgrade from your existing account by calling 800-528-4800 — the American Express customer service number — to see if you're eligible.

Can I have two Amex Hilton cards?

Yes, it is possible to have two separate American Express Hilton cards at the same time. However, you may have to wait 90 days between opening each card.

The information related to Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).