Underrated Reasons Why You Need a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Anya Kartashova
By Anya Kartashova 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a premium hotel credit card for devoted Hilton guests. The card’s perks will enhance your next stay, and the bonus rewards will help you earn award nights faster. Its many perks more than make up for the high annual fee of $450. Terms apply.

The well-known reasons

Let’s go over the more familiar perks of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card first.

  • Welcome bonus offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

On average, NerdWallet values Hilton points at 0.6 cent each, but your return will vary. Once you take this valuation into account, the welcome bonus offer is worth about $900 in award nights.

  • Complimentary Diamond status: You’ll receive complimentary Diamond status, which is the highest elite status tier in the Hilton Honors program. The status gets you room upgrades (when available), complimentary breakfast, Executive Lounge access and 100% bonus points on paid stays, among other perks.

  • $250 Hilton Resort credit: Each year you’re a cardmember, you can receive up to $250 in credits at participating Hilton Resorts by charging on-site dining, spa visits and other qualifying spending to your room, then paying for your room with the Hilton Aspire card.

Terms apply.

Note: For a limited time, restaurant dine-in and takeout purchases made during the months of July and August count toward the $250 credit.

Underrated reasons

Annual complimentary night award

Each year you renew your credit card and pay the annual fee, you’ll receive a complimentary night reward to be used for a one-night stay (on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night) at most Hilton portfolio properties. Some all-inclusive and distinctive properties are excluded, but it’s a short list. You can potentially use your reward for an otherwise expensive room during an event to justify paying that annual fee. If you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year, you’ll earn another complimentary night. Terms apply.

Rewarding earning structure

As a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card member, you’ll earn bonus points by using your card on purchases in the following spending categories:

  • 14 Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at Hilton hotels.

  • 12 Hilton Honors points on U.S. supermarket purchases (through July 31).

  • 7 Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on airfare booked directly with airlines or the AmEx Travel portal, and on car rental purchases reserved with select car rental companies.

  • 7 Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants.

  • 3 Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Terms apply.

By using your card to pay for purchases in the above categories, you’ll keep accumulating points for award nights at properties within the Hilton portfolio.

Book a fifth night on award stays for free

One of the underrated perks of holding elite status with Hilton Honors is the ability to book five award nights for the price of four. The benefit is available to all elite members with Gold status and above, and by holding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, you’re automatically above — at Diamond level. The perk allows you to maximize your points’ value and extend your vacation. Since you’ll accumulate points faster with the 100% bonus on paid stays and by making the most of spending bonuses, you’ll be able to use this benefit more frequently. Terms apply.

Priority Pass Select membership

Sometimes at the airport you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of a terminal while you wait for a flight. Luckily, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card members pay nothing for the privilege. Enroll your credit card in the Priority Pass Select membership and receive complimentary access for you and up to two guests to more than 1,300 airport lounges that are included in the Priority Pass network. The best part is that these visits are unlimited, so you can go to lounges as many times as you want. Terms apply.

$250 airline fee credit

As a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card holder, you qualify for a $250 airline fee credit that can be used for incidental charges made with your preferred carrier. You must select the airline each January and use the enrolled card to pay for bag fees, seat selection or in-flight meals, for example. The benefit is applied in the form of a statement credit back to your account. Keep in mind that airline tickets, gift cards and cabin upgrades don’t count toward the credit. Terms apply.

The bottom line

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is meant for an avid traveler who will use both hotel and airline perks. Diamond status provides you with tangible benefits, such as room upgrades and continental breakfast, and the Hilton resort credit and a yearly complimentary night are a nice touch. The card’s hefty annual fee might seem intimidating at first, but the value speaks for itself if you'll utilize the available benefits.

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 2023, including those best for:

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