Is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire’s New Free Hotel Night Benefit Worth It?

The maximum value of this free night benefit depends on your hotel choice and spending.
Josh Garber
By Josh Garber 
Published
Edited by Meg Lee

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The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a premium card that comes with a number of benefits, including Hilton Honors™ Diamond Status, a $400 Hilton resort credit, a $200 airline credit and more. Terms apply.

Hilton and American Express recently updated the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card benefits so that cardholders can earn free Hilton award nights. Below we’ll dive into whether it’s worth taking advantage of this new benefit.

How to earn free hotel nights with the card

American Express and Hilton recently updated the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card so that you can earn free award nights the following ways:

  • In the first year of your card membership and every year at renewal.

  • New: After making $30,000 in purchases on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in a calendar year.

  • New: After making $60,000 in purchases on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in a calendar year.

Terms apply.

While you’ll continue to earn at least one free award night each year with your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, is it worth spending up to $60,000 for extra free nights?

Spending $30,000 to earn a free reward night

If you’re able to maximize the value of the free award night, it may very well be worth spending $30,000 on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to earn an extra free reward night. Terms apply.

According to NerdWallet analysis, Hilton Honors points are worth 0.5 cent each. With the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, you’ll earn the following:

  • 14 points for every $1 spent at a Hilton property.

  • 7 points for every $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines, travel booked on amextravel.com, on select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants.

  • 3 points for every $1 spent on everything else.

Terms apply.

This means that, at a minimum, you’ll earn 90,000 Hilton Honors points by spending $30,000 on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

Those 90,000 points would be worth approximately $450, given NerdWallet valuations. This comes out to be a 1.5% return on that $30,000 spend. That said, you have the potential to earn even more points if your $30,000 in spend includes money spent on a Hilton stay or on the 7x categories listed above.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

The opportunity cost

Note that the $450 value you’ll earn from the $30,000 in spend is less than you’d earn from some other credit cards — for example, Capital One miles are worth approximately 1.4 cents each, and the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card earns a minimum of 2 points for every $1 spent. That means that the same $30,000 spent on a Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card would net you 60,000 points — an $840 value.

This comes out to a minimum return of 2.8% if you spend that $30,000 on the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

When it could still make sense

Even though the points you earn from the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card may be worth less than the amount you’d earn with other cards, this doesn’t take into account the value of the free Hilton award night you’d get after spending $30,000 on your card in a calendar year. If you’re able to maximize the value of your free award night with Hilton, the math can change completely. Terms apply.

For example, you could use your free award night to book a standard room at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi — when we checked, the cheapest stay cost $2,735 after taxes and fees.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Hilton award stays waive resort fees.

If you take the $2,735 for the free award night and add the $450 in value you’d otherwise earn from spending $30,000 on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, this comes out to $3,185 worth of earnings on the card, or an impressive return of 10.6% for every $1 spent on the card. (Keeping in mind that you probably wouldn't fly to the Maldives for a one-night hotel stay.)

The math is very different if you use your free award night for a less expensive hotel. For example, if you used the free award night at the Hampton Inn Dalton in Georgia, the cash price of the same night would only be around $123, including taxes and fees.

If you take the $123 for the free award night and add the $450 in value you’d otherwise earn from spending $30,000 on the card, this comes out to $573 worth of earnings, or a return of 1.9% for every $1 spent. This is less value than if you had the same spend on the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

The bottom line is that it’s only worth spending $30,000 on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card if you can maximize the value of the free award night by booking a stay at an otherwise expensive property.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Some of our favorite high-value properties to use Hilton free night award certificates include the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, and the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.

Spending $60,000 to earn two free reward nights

You’ll want to do similar math to determine whether it’s worth spending $60,000 on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to earn two free award nights (since you earn one free award night after $30,000 in spend and a second free award night after you hit $60,000 in spend).

If you spend $60,000 on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, you’ll earn a minimum of 3 points per $1 spent, or 180,000 points worth $900 per NerdWallet's valuation — a return of 1.5% for every $1 spent on the card. Terms apply.

If you’re able to maximize your free award nights at high-value Hilton properties, it could again make sense to spend $60,000 on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

When should you skip it?

Below are some scenarios where spending $30,000 (or $60,000) on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to earn free award nights may not make sense:

  • You may not use the award night, since they generally expire within one year.

  • You may not use the award night at a high-cost property.

  • You are instead putting that spend toward a credit card that offers a high sign-up bonus.

  • You'd rather get a credit card that includes airline or hotel status.

Since there’s no one-size-fits-all solutions, you’ll want to think about how you’ll use your Hilton free award nights compared to how you’d earn points used on another credit card before deciding to commit to the $30,000 or $60,000 spend requirements on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

The bottom line

Hilton and American Express updated the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card so that you can now earn an additional free award night after spending $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, or earn two additional free award nights after spending $60,000 on the card in a calendar year. It’s only worth taking advantage of this benefit if you plan to redeem the Hilton free night awards at a high-value Hilton hotel.

Given that, you should carefully think about how you’ll use the free award night certificates before committing to spending the $30,000 or $60,000 needed to get the free Hilton award nights on your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Terms apply.

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.


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