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Hilton’s first ultra-premium rewards card, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the star of Hilton’s co-brand lineup of credit cards from American Express.
In addition to the highest points earning rate ever offered by Hilton, the Hilton Aspire scores top-tier Hilton Diamond elite status, Priority Pass Lounge access, up to $500 in airline and resort credits, an anniversary weekend free night certificate each year, and a second weekend free night certificate after you spend $60K on the card in a calendar year.
The Hilton Aspire carries a $450 annual fee, right on par with premium co-brand cards from the likes of Delta and United, but provides ample benefits to justify the high yearly premium.
- Hilton Aspire Welcome Bonus
- Points Earning Potential and Category Bonuses
- Hilton Aspire Feature Benefits
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond Status
- Free Anniversary Weekend Night Reward Each Year
- Second Weekend Night Reward After Spending $60,000
- Priority Pass™ Select Lounge Membership
- $250 Airline Incidental Fee Statement Credit
- $250 Hilton Resort Statement Credit
- $100 Credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Properties
- Access to 24/7 American Express Concierge
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Application Restrictions
- Final Thoughts
The Hilton Aspire is one of four new or refreshed Hilton co-brand credit cards, including:
- Hilton Honors American Express Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Hilton Aspire Welcome Bonus
New Hilton Aspire cardmembers earn 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Enough for one night at the top end of Hilton's award redemption options with plenty of points left for a rainy day (standard redemptions are capped at 95,000 points per night), 2/3 nights at a mid-range property which cost 40,000-60,000 points per night, or a whole bunch of nights in one of Hilton's budget redemptions, which go for between 5,000 and 10,000 points per night.
Points Earning Potential and Category Bonuses
The Hilton Aspire offers the highest points per dollar spent of any co-brand Hilton card in history, earning 14x Honors points on Hilton purchases worldwide, an additional 2 points per dollar over the 12X points offered on the Hilton Ascend and Hilton Business Card.
You'll need to spend a lot at Hilton properties for the extra two points to make a tangible difference. But when you factor in the 100% Diamond elite bonus on base points, and the potential to stack Hilton’s regular points promos, the Hilton Aspire can help you accumulate a large balance of points in a short space of time.
Outside of purchases from Hilton, you’ll earn 7X points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at restaurants within the U.S. Purchases in all other categories earn 3X Hilton Points.
Hilton Aspire Feature Benefits
The Hilton Aspire is the first publicly accessible travel rewards card offering top-tier elite status, just for holding the card. Prior to the release of Hilton’s new card lineup, the only way to achieve top-tier hotel elite status, outside of stays, was via spending thresholds on select co-brand cards.
Moving beyond elite status, cardholders can earn multiple free nights, access Priority Pass lounges, and receive up to $500 in travel credits. It’s a massive list of perks, more than justifying the card's $450 annual fee.
Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond Status
The number-one feature benefit of the Hilton Aspire is complimentary Hilton Diamond Status. Typically, you need to rack up 30 stays, 60 nights, or 120,000 base points in a calendar year to achieve Hilton Diamond status. Diamond benefits include:
- Diamond status extension
- Complimentary breakfast
- Room upgrades
- 5th night free
- 48-hour room guarantee
- 50% point bonus
- Late check-out
- Complimentary access to fitness centers and health clubs
- Complimentary premium internet
- Two complimentary bottles of water
Combined with the $250 Hilton resort credit, these two benefits alone could eclipse the $450 annual fee in value if you stay at Hilton properties just six nights per year.
Free Anniversary Weekend Night Reward Each Year
Cardholders receive a weekend free night certificate upon acquiring the card, and each year on your account anniversary. The free night is potentially worth 95,000 Hilton Honors points if redeemed at Hilton’s highest redemption level (what would have been category 10 before Hilton did away with its award chart). There is an excluded list of hotels which you can find on Hilton’s website, but it’s a small list when you consider how many hotels and resorts fall under the Hilton umbrella.
Second Weekend Night Reward After Spending $60,000
For Hilton Aspire cardholders with the resources to put significant spend on the card, you’ll receive a second weekend free night certificate after spending $60K on the card each year. Both free night certificates adhere to the same rules and restrictions, so use the link above for a list of property exclusions.
Priority Pass™ Select Lounge Membership
While its mid-tier counterpart, the Hilton Ascend, receives 10 free Priority Pass Lounge passes each year, the Hilton Aspire scores a full Priority Pass Select membership, providing lounge access around the world no matter which airline or class you fly. Priority Pass Lounges don’t always meet the lofty expectations of award travelers, but they do offer a welcome respite from busy airport environments, somewhere to have a quiet drink and recharge your batteries.
$250 Airline Incidental Fee Statement Credit
The airline incidentals credit works in a similar fashion to the airline credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express, but crediting $250 rather than $200. Cardholders need to pre-select one airline to apply the credit to, which you can only change once per year in January. As far as Amex is concerned, incidentals exclude airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, and duty-free purchases, although historically some of these purchases have credited on Amex cards in the past. The Hilton Aspire $250 airline credit is based on calendar year, not cardmember year, so you could potentially receive this perk twice in the first year of holding the card.
$250 Hilton Resort Statement Credit
Hilton’s $250 resort credit is based on cardmember year, renewing each year on your account anniversary. The credit includes almost any charge at a Hilton resort, including purchases at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property if charged to your room. Just swipe your Hilton Aspire on departure to cover the costs, and the credit will be applied automatically to your account. Full a full list of participating resorts, visit hilton.com/resorts.
$100 Credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Properties
Without firsthand knowledge of the $100 credit on Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties, it’s hard to get a handle on its actual value. The T&C’s stipulate you must purchase an exclusive Aspire Card package, but as we’ve yet to see the rates applied to the package or the credit in practice, we'll update the post when we have more concrete information.
Access to 24/7 American Express Concierge
An often overlooked benefit, the Amex Concierge can help secure a table at a busy restaurant, organize flowers or gifts for a loved one, procure hard to find tickets for concert or theatre production, among a host of more unusual requests. There is no charge to use the Amex Concierge service, and any purchases organized by the concierge will be charged to the Amex card attached to your account, in this case, the Hilton Aspire.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The Hilton Aspire is intended for folks who spend plenty of time traveling. Paying no foreign transaction fees ensures that all the points you collect on overseas purchases aren’t wiped out by the 2-3% charge for using your card while abroad. For every $1,000 spent overseas, you’re also saving between $20/$30 compared to a card that charges a foreign transaction fee.
American Express limits welcome bonuses to once per lifetime per product. As the Hilton Aspire is a brand new credit card, this won’t affect folks applying for this card anytime soon. Amex also has some more complicated application limits for holders of many Amex credit and charge cards, which we detail in a separate post.
The Hilton Aspire is an excellent release for American Express and a top card for Hilton fans featuring an impressive list of benefits which we're sure will be a hit with points and miles fans. For regular Hilton guests that won’t clock up the stays/nights required for top-tier status, the card essentially lets you buy Diamond Elite status for $450. And that's before taking any other benefits into account.
When you add in the $250 airline credit, $250 resort credit, Priority Pass Lounge membership, up to two free nights each year, and the highest ever points earning rate at Hilton hotels and resorts, the $450 annual fee on the Hilton Aspire looks an attractive proposition.
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