The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is an estimable choice for Hilton customers who want a hotel credit card loaded with luxuries. But to make the card’s $450 annual fee worth it, make sure you take some crucial steps shortly after receiving it to ensure you can utilize its benefits as much as possible. Here are the first moves to make when you get your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
Select your airline of choice
One of the most significant perks of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the $250 airline fee credit. With it, you’ll receive a statement credit when you use your card to pay for incidentals such as in-flight beverages, bag fees, seat fees and change fees. The catch: To use this credit, you'll first need to select your airline of choice through the American Express website (and you can only choose one airline per year). Terms apply.
Hint: Make note of any airlines that you already have status with and consider selecting a different carrier for your airline credit. You may already get included perks like free checked bags if you have airline status. To maximize this perk, be strategic in selecting your airline.
Bookmark the Hilton Aspire booking page
With this card, you can take advantage of an extra $100 credit on two-night minimum stays at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts or Conrad Hotels and Resorts when you book directly through the Hilton Aspire booking page.
You must use the Hilton Aspire booking page to receive the credit. You'll get a hotel credit equal to $1 for each dollar of qualifying charges made, up to $100. You will receive credit on your bill at checkout. This is the page that you’ll want to bookmark.
» Learn more: Hilton Honors: The complete guide
Add an authorized user
Maybe you're looking for a way to hit the minimum spend for this card more easily, or you want to more quickly rack up hotel points. Consider adding an authorized user. While you won't get bonus points simply by adding an authorized user, having another person spending on the card can help you earn your welcome bonus and other spending rewards faster. There is no fee to add an authorized user to this credit card.
Just keep in mind the risks of adding authorized users. While they can make charges to your card, payments are the ultimate responsibility of the primary cardholder (so make sure your authorized user is able to pay off all the purchases they make so you’re not on the hook).
Activate your Priority Pass Select membership
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with a valuable perk — a Priority Pass Select lounge membership. If you fly frequently, membership can make your time spent at the airport calmer — and perhaps even save you money. No more squirming in the awkward terminal seats with immovable armrests or paying for overpriced airport food. Now you can instead sit back in a plush chair with a complimentary drink and some snacks in the airport lounge — with no paging messages blaring overhead to disturb your peace.
To use this card perk, you'll need to activate your Priority Pass first. Log in to your American Express account and head to your benefits section. Click under the Enroll Now button under Priority Pass Select. This will activate your membership, and you'll soon be sent a card in the mail. Once you receive your card, you'll be able to hang out at select airport lounges.
The Priority Pass Select membership gives you and two guests access to participating lounges. Admission for additional guests is $32 per person.
This is a considerable card benefit, so don't miss out by forgetting to activate your membership. Terms apply.
Plan your complimentary weekend night
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card also gives cardmembers an annual weekend reward night. You'll earn your first complimentary night when you open your account, and earn a weekend reward night annually. When you get your card, start thinking about where you want to go to utilize this complimentary reward night. You can earn a second weekend night when you spend $60,000 per calendar year. These reward nights can be redeemed at most Hilton properties — excluding these locations. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Hilton credit cards: Which one should you get?
Plan how to redeem your $250 Hilton credit
Once you receive your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, you'll receive a $250 Hilton resort credit. And this isn’t a one-off bonus: The $250 credit is offered yearly, after card renewal.
Here's a list of the participating Hilton resorts that’ll accept your credit.
Unlike the more-limited airline credit, this credit is generally easier to use — as long as you stay at a Hilton resort. It covers most room rates (as long as it is not a nonrefundable or an advance purchase rate), and can also be used toward spa treatments, recreational activities, dining and other on-property services that you charge to your room then pay for with your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
Sign up for ShopRunner
For the frequent online shopper, ShopRunner could be a great resource — especially for those who need their orders ASAP. It provides two-day shipping and free returns at over 100 stores. As a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card customer, you'll get a complimentary ShopRunner membership. You'll need to enroll to get this perk.
One slightly annoying note about ShopRunner: Many stores require a minimum purchase. For example, American Eagle will only ship to ShopRunner customers with a $50 minimum purchase. But American Eagle offers free standard shipping on $50 minimum purchases anyway. ShopRunner’s two-day offer is slightly better if you need your item quickly. But temper your expectations around how much it’ll really save you.
The bottom line
Is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card worth it? If you're already loyal to the Hilton brand and you travel frequently, this may be a good card for you to consider. While it does have a high $450 annual fee, this card is loaded with perks like spending bonuses, property credits, an airport lounge membership and airline fee credits. Terms apply. If you’re already staying at Hilton properties, you might as well get rewarded for it.
All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card