The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a premium hotel credit card, offers an array of top-tier benefits that appeal to regular Hilton customers.
With this card, cardmembers get complimentary Hilton Diamond status and earn 14 points per dollar at participating Hilton hotels, as well as enjoy a $250 airline credit and $250 Hilton Resort credit.
The Hilton Aspire card also provides a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership and a free weekend-night certificate at nearly any Hilton property annually, making it a standout among hotel credit cards.
Despite its substantial $450 annual fee, the card’s benefits, combined with a large welcome offer and points-earning potential, easily outweigh the cost, particularly for those who frequently stay at Hilton properties.
This article will cover everything you need to know about this card to determine if you should add this card or a different card to your wallet. Let’s dive right in.
- Earn 150,000 Hilton Points After $4,000 in Eligible Purchases in the First 3 Months.
- Hilton Honors Diamond Elite Status
- 14x Points at Hilton Hotels and Resorts
- One Free Night Award at Any Hotel
- $250 Hilton Resort Statement Credit
- $250 Airline Fee Credit
- Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access With Two Guests
- $450 Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fees (rates & fees)
Earning Hilton Honors Points
The Hilton Aspire Amex earns Hilton Honors points at the following rates:
- 14 points per dollar at Hilton Hotels and Resorts;
- 7 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or AmexTravel.com;
- 7 points per dollar on car rentals booked directly with select car rental companies;
- 7 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery; and
- 3 points per dollar on all other purchses.
Hilton Aspire Card Benefits
The Hilton Aspire Card has a lot of great benefits to justify its annual fee including top-tier elite status, $500 in credits, a free weekend hotel night, airport lounge access, and several travel and purchase protections.
Hilton Diamond Elite Status
You can receive complimentary Hilton Diamond elite status by just holding the Hilton Aspire credit card.
Hilton Diamond status offers nice perks such as:
- Room upgrades (when available);
- Late check-out (subject to availability);
- Executive lounge access;
- Free breakfast at hotels without executive lounges typically in the form of a food and beverage credit; and
- 100% points bonus.
Annual Free Night Reward
Aspire cardholders receive a free night at any Hilton hotel in the world. You can even use the certificate at the very expensive exotic destinations in the Maldives and French Polynesia.
For those big spenders, you can also earn a second free night reward if you spend $60,000 on your Aspire card within a calendar year.
$250 Hilton Resort Statement Credit
Aspire cardholders receive a $250 resort credit each year for stays at Hilton Resorts.
There are over 250 Hilton resorts worldwide, with over 110 resorts in North America.
This credit applies to room rates (except advance purchase/non-refundable rates) and incidental charges when billed to your room.
$250 Airline Fee Credit
The Aspire card comes with a $250 airline fee credit each calendar year.
However, the credit is limited to one specific airline of your choice and only valid on things such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, airport lounge passes, change fees, and priority boarding.
We cover everything you need to know about this credit, including some loopholes, in our American Express Airline Fee Credit Guide.
Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
Secondary Rental Car Insurance*
Secondary rental car insurance covers any damage to or theft of a rental car not covered by your primary insurance when you pay for the rental using this card.
Other credit cards offer primary rental car insurance, which pays before your insurance and saves you the hassle of filing multiple insurance claims.
You still need to maintain liability car insurance to cover damage to another person or property.
Trip Delay Insurance*
This card offers trip delay insurance when you purchase your flight with this card.
This reimburses you for reasonable expenses things like hotels, food, transportation, and other necessary items.
Flights are increasingly delayed or canceled, and it is too risky to not use a card that offers free trip delay insurance.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance*
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance reimburses you for non-refundable expenses if your trip is interrupted or canceled for a covered reason such as illness, severe weather, or an accidental injury when you pay for your travel expenses with this card.
Baggage Insurance Plan*
Baggage insurance covers the cost to repair or replace your luggage and the contents inside if your bag is lost or damaged during a covered trip.
You must purchase the trip with this card, and it will also cover immediate family members traveling with you.
American Express offers return protection which allows you to return an item purchased in total with an eligible card when the retailer refuses to accept the item under its return policy.
Some items are excluded, such as jewelry, plants, perishable items, software, books, formal wear, tickets, and seasonal items.
This coverage is up to $300 per item with a maximum of $1,000 per cardmember year.
Purchase protection could save you a lot of money if you bought an eligible item that is damaged or stolen within 90-days.
For example, if you accidentally dropped your new phone or laptop and broke the screen, you could file a claim to get it replaced if the item was purchased within the last 90 days.
Credit card extended warranty protection adds up to an additional year of coverage for eligible purchases on manufacturer’s warranties up to 5 years.
For example, if you bought a TV with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years, this card would extend the warranty for free to the fourth year.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
This card has no foreign transaction fees on purchases outside the U.S., which is helpful if you travel internationally to help you avoid paying a 3% fee on those international purchases.
Access to Amex Offers
This card has access to Amex Offers, which are deals that are linked to your card, allowing you to save money or earn extra points on shopping, dining, and travel.
For example, there could be an offer such as spending $200+ at Marriott Hotels and Resorts and receiving $50 cash back as a statement credit.
You can find all of your Amex Offers by signing into your American Express account. You will need to “Add to Card” each offer to be eligible for the special offer.
Complimentary ShopRunner Membership
This card offers a complimentary membership to ShopRunner, giving you free two-day shipping and free returns at 100+ online retailers.
Eligible stores include Bloomingdales, Under Armour, American Eagle, Saks Off 5th, Cole Hann, Fanatics, Vera Bradley, Jockey, Kate Spade, NFL Shop, NBA Store, MLB Shop, and Coach.
Redeeming Hilton Honors Points
For the Hilton Honors program, redeeming your points for free hotel nights is the best value.
Unfortunately, Hilton does not publish an award chart so the cost to use your points varies based on several factors such as the demand for the hotel and the cash price for your chosen dates.
The price for a “standard room” is between 5,000 points for budget properties and 150,000 points for ultra-luxurious properties like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives.
Hilton also lets you book a “premium room”, which allows you to book suites, villas, and better rooms, but the price for these are much higher than standard rooms.
All Hilton Honors elite members (including Silver, Gold, and Diamond members) receive a fifth night free on award stays, which is a way to help save points on longer award stays.
Pros and Cons
Here’s a quick overview of this card’s advantages and disadvantages:
- Hilton Diamond Status just for holding the card
- Annual Free Night Reward with the ability to earn an additional Free Night.
- Airline and Resort credits help offset the annual fee.
- Hilton points are less flexible than American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- $250 credit for Hilton Resorts does not apply at all Hilton Hotels.
Alternatives to the Hilton Aspire Amex
Now that you know about this credit card’s various benefits and pros and cons, it’s time to see its alternatives.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Benefits with Smaller Annual Fee
- Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 12X Points at Hilton Hotels and Resorts
- 6X Points at U.S. Restaurants, U.S. Supermarkets, and U.S. Gas Stations
- Hilton Honors Gold Status
- 10 Complimentary Priority Pass Lounge Visits
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- $95 Annual Fee (rates & fees)
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) boasts great earning potential at Hilton properties and comes with complimentary Gold elite status, which features perks like space-available upgrades, better earnings, and free hot breakfast on Hilton stays.
For an affordable $95 fee, this rewards card earns:
- 12 points per dollar at Hilton Hotels and resorts;
- 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations; and
- 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
You also receive a free weekend night reward after spending $15,000 per year and 10 complimentary lounge visits to Priority Pass lounges.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Hilton Elite Status + Better Airport Lounge Access
The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) is a great premium travel rewards card for travelers who want airport lounge access, including Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), Escape Lounges, Priority Pass lounges.
The American Express Platinum has a $695 annual fee, but you receive many annual statement credits when you enroll your card to offset the fee, including:
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card.
- $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
- $200 Uber Cash Credit: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Benefit renews annually.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) and receive a statement credit that covers the full cost each month.
- $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.
You also earn 5x Membership Rewards points when booking flights directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year) and 5x Membership Rewards points when booking prepaid hotels with American Express Travel.
On top of that, you automatically earn Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite and Hilton Honors Gold statuses, which offer points bonuses, room upgrades, late check-out, and other premier benefits.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
If You Prefer Marriott Over Hilton
- 6X Points at Marriott Hotels & Resorts
- Up to a $300 Statement Credit for Eligible Purchases at Restaurants Worldwide Each Year ($25 Per Month)
- Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status
- 25 Elite Night Credits Each Year
- Free Anniversary Night Award (Up to 85,000 Points)
- Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
- $650 Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fees (Rates and Fees)
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (review) is a premium hotel card that gets you Platinum Elite status, a free annual hotel night up to 85,000 points, 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and Priority Pass airport lounge access.
The Bonvoy Brillant comes with several great statement credits to help offset the annual fee, including:
- Up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
- Priority Pass airport lounge access
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
- Cell phone insurance
- 25 Marriott Elite night credits to help you reach higher status
Is the Hilton Honors Amex Aspire Card Worth It?
The is a solid choice if you stay at Hilton Hotels at least five times per year to take advantage of the Hilton Diamond Status.
The Hilton Aspire Amex is a highly rewarding credit card, especially for loyal Hilton customers who can take full advantage of its many benefits.
With an array of perks, such as an annual free night at nearly any Hilton hotel worldwide, automatic top-tier Diamond elite status, Hilton resort credits, airline incidental fee credits, and airport lounge access, the value received can greatly exceed the card’s $450 annual fee.
However, if you don’t frequently stay at Hilton hotels or prefer to avoid a high annual fee, there are other Hilton cards with lower or no annual fees that might be a better fit for your needs such as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review).
The Aspire card is particularly beneficial for those who can leverage its generous rewards and benefits to offset the cost, making it worth the investment.