AmEx-Hilton to Launch Premium Aspire Card With Sky-High Rewards

The Aspire will carry an annual fee of $450, but will come with perks including travel credits, lounge passes and Hilton Honors Diamond status.

Melissa LambarenaNovember 1, 2017
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American Express and Hilton are launching two new Hilton Honors credit cards early next year, including a premium card that will offer a whopping 14 Hilton Honors bonus points per dollar spent at eligible Hilton properties worldwide.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
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The new Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card will carry an annual fee of $450 but will come with a raft of perks, including multiple travel credits, automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status and unlimited access to Priority Pass airport lounges. It will debut on Jan. 18, 2018, along with The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, which is aimed at small-business owners.

Two existing AmEx/Hilton cards will also see updates at that time: the Hilton Honors American Express Card; and the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express, which will be rebranded as the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card. (UPDATE July 18, 2019: The Ascend card has reverted to the Surpass name and is now known as the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.) Both cards will eliminate foreign transaction fees.

Card features

All four cards are linked to the Hilton Honors loyalty program, which offers the chance to earn more rewards. Here’s a closer look:

Credit card features

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Annual fee

$0

$95

$95

$450

Foreign transaction fees

None

None

None

None

Complimentary Hilton Honors tiers

Hilton Honors Silver status; earn Gold status after spending $20,000 in a calendar year

Hilton Honors Gold status; earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year

Hilton Honors Gold status; earn Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year

Hilton Honors Diamond status

Weekend Night Rewards at hotels or resorts in the Hilton portfolio

None

One Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar year

One Weekend Night Reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar year; a second Weekend Night Reward for spending $60,000 in a calendar year

One Weekend Night Reward every year; a second Weekend Night Reward for spending $60,000 in a calendar year

Airport lounge access

None

10 free Priority Pass lounge passes per anniversary year

10 free Priority Pass lounge passes per anniversary year

Unlimited Priority Pass lounge passes

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Designed for frequent travelers, this new card will have an annual fee of $450 to go with its high rewards rates. It also offers Hilton Honors Diamond status. Cardholders can expect:

  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide. NerdWallet values Hilton Honors points at an average of 0.4 cents apiece.

  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, for purchases at U.S. restaurants and for car rentals booked directly from select companies.

  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on other purchases.

  • Up to $250 a year in credit for airline incidentals.

  • Up to $250 a year in credit at Hilton resorts.

  • Terms apply.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

This new card carries an annual fee of $95 and provides access to the American Express OPEN platform for small-business owners, which offers discounts, bonus rewards and other membership benefits. Cardholders will also get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status. Cardholders will earn:

  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio worldwide.

  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on U.S. gas stations, U.S. shipping purchases and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service producers.

  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com and car rentals booked directly from select companies.

  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points on all other eligible purchases.

  • Terms apply.

Other changes

As of November 2017, applications for the Hilton Honors American Express Card and Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express are still open. Applicants approved for these cards will receive an automatic upgrade to the new benefits in January 2018. Both cards currently charge a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% per transaction, but those fees will be eliminated with the upgrades. Their rewards structures will remain the same.

The Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express has a $75 annual fee, but once it becomes the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, the fee will increase to $95. As of November 2017, the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express waives the annual Priority Pass membership fee, but cardholders still have to pay $27 for every Priority Pass lounge visit. The new card will offer 10 free Priority Pass airport lounge passes per anniversary year. Cardholders will also have the chance to earn one free weekend night when they use the card for $15,000 in purchases in a calendar year.

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