Is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card credit card worth it? Here’s how to decide

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Credit cards that offer top tier status are few and far between, but the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card does just that. Simply by holding and maintaining the card you’ll get Hilton Honors Diamond status, good for bonus points, upgrades and more at thousands of Hilton Hotels worldwide.

But that peak status comes at a price, with the card levying a hefty annual fee of $450. We’ll dive into whether the perks that come with the Hilton Aspire credit card make sense for your needs and outweigh the fee, and whether you should check out this premium hotel credit card.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Intro Bonus

Earn 175,000 points if you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months from account opening (offer ends 4/17/2024).

Annual fee $450
Regular APR 20.99%–29.99% variable

For whom is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card worth It?

This card can offer quite some value, but because it comes with a significantly high annual fee, it’s always worth making sure you can take full advantage of its perks. People who fit within the following sections tend to find this card worth it. To learn more about the Hilton Honors program, check out our program guide.

Hilton loyalists who value elite status and perks

For travelers dedicated to staying at properties within the Hilton portfolio—which range from the comfort of Home2 Suites to the luxury of Waldorf Astoria—this card can be immensely valuable. 

It provides automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status, entitling you to upgrades whenever available, executive lounge access, premium WiFi for free, and continental breakfast at some Hilton brands. When redeeming your points for hotel stays, you’ll also enjoy your fifth night free, which can help you stretch your points further, as well as pay no resort fees when on reward stays. This is the card to get if you value having top tier elite status with Hilton.

That said, depending on which status benefits specifically you’re most interested in, know that some of these are available at earlier tiers than Diamond. For example, the fifth night free on award stays is a Silver-level benefit, and the continental breakfast at certain properties comes with Gold (and Gold status is provided by the $150-annual-fee Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

One of the Hilton Aspire’s most valuable benefits is a Free Night Reward, good for a free night at most participating properties as long as there’s one standard accommodation, double occupancy room available. This can potentially help you save hundreds of dollars on a free night stay while enjoying the perks of elite status. You’ll also earn a second Free Night Reward after spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year and a third after spending $60,000.

To view rates and fees of the  Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page

Travelers who stay at Hilton resorts

Generally, high-end hotels and resorts are where you will enjoy the nicest perks of being a top-tier elite status holder. Anyone regularly staying in this kind of hotel will most likely thoroughly enjoy the perks of Diamond status, but on top of that, this card comes with a $400 Hilton Resort credit—in two $200 semi-annual servings—to be used at participating Hilton Resorts when you make eligible purchases with your card. 

If you’re already planning to stay at these resorts, this amounts to up to $400 back in your pocket.

And, if you stay at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad resorts, the card also comes with up to $100 in property credits for eligible purchases at participating properties provided you book a two-night minimum stay through hiltonhonorsaspirecard.com.

Cardholders who can leverage the card’s statement credits

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with several credits and, the more of them you can take advantage of, the less this credit card’s steep annual fee will sting—and the easier it will be to justify getting and keeping this card. 

You will receive $200 in flight credits (doled out in quarterly increments of $50) on flight purchases made directly with an airline or through AmexTravel.com. If you travel regularly enough throughout the year and don’t mind using these credits in small bites, you can save up to $200 a year. 

As mentioned above, there’s an additional $100 on-property credit for eligible purchases at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts when you book a minimum two-night stay.

For avid flyers, the card also offers $189 in credits toward your CLEAR Plus membership so you can breeze past security at most large airports. 

Travelers who rent cars and would like status

For travelers who are on the road regularly, this card will get them automatic Emerald Club Executive status with National Car Rental. This empowers you to choose any car from the Executive Area full size or above and only pay for a midsize rental, receive guaranteed free upgrades, get priority service and just drop your car keys and go if you’re in a hurry to catch your flight.

For whom is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card not worth it?

There are a lot of reasons not to apply for niche credit cards that come with expensive annual fees. We have listed below some travelers for whom holding this premium Hilton card might not make good financial or lifestyle sense. 

Those averse to paying high annual fees

For travelers who are put off by the idea of having to pay an annual fee, let alone one on the very steep side, it will not matter how many benefits the issuer throws at them—they will still not find it palatable. Ever though the card comes with a Free Night Reward that could potentially partially or entirely offset the cost of your annual fee, some cardholders won’t see any practical value in having this card with its $450 yearly cost.

Free agents

Travelers who consider themselves free agents when choosing what hotels to stay at will find the idea of a Hilton-specific card—that only offers benefits when staying within the chain—hard to swallow, particularly with its high annual fee. Plus, since the $400 Hilton Resort credit is dolled out as up to $200 in the first half of the year and up to $200 in the second half, this card is really tailored to someone who knows they’ll stay at Hilton properties multiple times a year.

If you just want a credit card that helps you earn points that you can redeem toward stays with whatever hotel best suits your ever-changing needs, you’re probably better off with a flexible rewards earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Intro bonus

60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual fee $550
Regular APR 22.49%–29.49% variable

Travelers who do not stay at high-end Hilton hotels

If you do not make it a habit of staying at high-end hotels, or your job has you staying at budget hotels more often than not, the benefits you’d get from this card may not be as rewarding as you’d like. Diamond status is Hilton’s top tier, but most of the benefits really only work best at full service hotels. 

Additionally, you will not be able to take advantage of either the on-property $100 credit since it’s only valid at two of the most exclusive brands within the portfolio or the $400 Hilton Resort credit as it only works at resorts so they would go wasted on travelers who don’t frequent those types of hotels.

How to Maximize Rewards with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The best way to maximize rewards with this card is to use it for all of your purchases, but particularly for those in the bonus categories, since it will help you earn:

  • 14X points per dollar on Hilton stays
  • 7X on select travel purchases, including flights booked directly with the airlines or AmexTravel.com, as well as car rentals booked directly with rental car companies.
  • 7X on dining at U.S. restaurants including takeout and delivery.
  • 3X points per dollar on other purchases.

Additionally, the card comes with a welcome bonus of 175,000 points if you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months from account opening (offer ends 4/17/2024).

Bottom line

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card might be worthwhile for those avid Hilton loyalists who want to get more out of their stays via top-tier elite status—and all the perks that comes with—as well as its highest prized benefit, the annual free night award. When used well, this perk can help you offset hundreds of dollars worth of a hotel night.

If you aren’t sure the Hilton Aspire is right for you, but you’re still a Hilton loyalist, check out our list of best cards for Hilton stays. And, if you desire more flexibility, a different hotel card or a general travel card could empower you to travel in a way that fits your lifestyle better.

Frequently asked questions

How do I redeem my Free Night Reward?

The only way to redeem your annual Free Night Rewards is to call 1-800-446-6677 and provide the code provided by Hilton Honors. These rewards are good for standard accommodation, double occupancy rooms only and are subject to availability at participating hotels. Hilton maintains a list of properties that do not participate in the program, where you cannot redeem your free night. 

Do Free Night Rewards expire?

The Aspire’s annual Free Night Rewards expire one year after they are issued and they must be used on or before the expiration date, otherwise they will be forfeited and cannot be reinstated. 

Can I transfer my Hilton Honors points to other hotels?

Hilton Honors points cannot be transferred to other hotel’s loyalty programs, but you can use them to book free nights at any participating hotel within the Hilton portfolio, which includes more than a dozen brands ranging from budget to luxury and everything in between.


Fortune Recommends™ has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fortune Recommends™ and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying. 

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefits guide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company. 

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