CREDIT CARDSCREDIT CARDSHILTON HONORS ASPIRE REVIEW: RICH REWARDS, LUXURY PERKS FOR A PRICE

Hilton Honors Aspire Review: Rich Rewards, Luxury Perks for a Price

In exchange for a hefty annual fee, this card gets you lucrative ongoing rewards, a complimentary night each year, airline and resort credits, along with other travel goodies, making it ideal for Hilton loyalists.
Gregory Karp Author Avatar
Feb 28, 2024 12:03 p.m. PST
Edited by
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This page includes information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, currently unavailable on NerdWallet. The information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the card issuer.

5.0

NerdWallet rating
The bottom line:

A huge annual fee means it's not a fit for occasional travelers who aren't loyal to Hilton. But ardent fans of the chain will find that the card's rewards and perks easily outstrip the cost of carrying it.

Pros
  • High rewards rate
  • No foreign transaction fee
Cons
  • Has annual fee
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Image
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Rec. credit score

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Image

Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Rewards rate

    3x-14x

  • Bonus offer

    Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • Intro APR

    N/A

  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable APR

    Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable

    Cash Advance APR: 29.99%, Variable

  • Foreign transaction fee

    0%

More details from American Express
  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • 14X Earn 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points per $1 of eligible purchases on your Card made directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio
  • Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$150
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
INTRO APR
N/A
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$0
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
INTRO APR
N/A
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$95
REGULAR APR
20.99%-29.99% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
INTRO APR
N/A
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
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Detailed review: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the hotel chain’s luxury card, and while it's a pricey one to carry, it gives you more than enough opportunities to make back that money and more. It’s the hotel card to get for die-hard Hilton loyalists.

As the highest-tier option in the Hilton Honors family of credit cards, it offers valuable rewards and perks you won’t find with other cards. These are no rinky-dink, low-use benefits either. The card's airline and resort credits alone can make back the annual fee of $550 — and that's before you even consider the complimentary free night reward and Diamond status. (Terms apply.)

This card is overkill for the occasional Hampton Inn visitor. But if you’re committed to the Hilton Honors loyalty program, travel often and stay almost exclusively at Hilton hotel and resort properties, it’s a cinch to get your money’s worth from the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. If not — or if you can’t stomach the hefty annual fee — other Hilton cards or general travel rewards cards may be a better fit.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Basics

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.

Card type: Hotel.

Annual fee: $550 Terms apply.

Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Ongoing rewards:

  • 14 points per dollar spent directly with hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.

  • 7 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and car rentals purchased directly from select car rental companies.

  • 3 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.

  • Terms apply.

NerdWallet values Hilton points at 0.5 cent each. This is a baseline value, drawn from real-world data, not a maximized value. In other words, you should aim for award redemptions that offer 0.5 cent or more in value from your Hilton points.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 20.99%-29.99% Variable APR. Terms apply.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits:

  • $200 annual flight credit ($50 in statement credits each quarter).

  • $400 annual Hilton resort credit.

  • Free rewards night(s).

  • Hilton Honors Diamond status.

  • $100 on-property credit.

  • $189 CLEAR Plus membership credit.

  • Travel protections.

  • Terms apply.

Benefits and perks

A lot of points

Hilton points add up faster than points in many other loyalty programs. There’s a reason: They’re worth a good bit less per point, so you get more of them. But that’s neither good nor bad; it’s just a different scale. At NerdWallet's point valuation of 0.5 cent each, you’re still getting remarkable value — the equivalent of 3.5X on restaurants and 1.5X on non-bonus spending, which could make the card an everyday carry. And because Hilton is a huge chain with properties from affordable to luxury, its rewards are easy to use.

Valuable credits and perks

A luxury travel credit card with a high annual fee better come with valuable and useful benefits. And this one doesn’t disappoint:

  • $50 quarterly flight credit: Get up $50 each quarter on flight purchases made directly with an airline or through American Express.

  • $200 annual Hilton resort credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually for eligible purchases at participating Hilton Resorts.

  • Free rewards night(s): Get one free night reward with the card each year. Earn an additional night after you spend $30,000 on purchases in a calendar year and another after you spend $60,000 in a calendar year.

  • Elite status: Automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status, which includes perks, such as double bonus points on all base points you earn, room upgrades when available, premium Wi-Fi, late checkout and more.

  • $100 on-property credit: Book a two-night minimum stay with the card and get up to $100 in credits for qualifying charges at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts. It doesn't apply to the cost of the room.

  • Travel protections: Includes things like rental car insurance, coverage for lost luggage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and trip delay insurance.

  • Terms apply.

Welcome offer

Bonuses for new cardholders can change. But if you can meet the required spending, you’ll typically get enough points for at least one night at a luxury property, and several nights at a more affordable one. That provides some instant gratification for those with near-term wanderlust.

The current welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

How it compares with other Hilton credit cards

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the luxury card among Hilton credit cards, but it’s pricey. It’s worth sizing up its sister cards to determine which is the best Hilton card for you.

  • 7 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels or resorts.

  • 5 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

  • Automatic Silver status.

  • Terms apply.

  • 12 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels or resorts.

  • 6 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.

  • 4 points per $1 spent on U.S. online retail purchases.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

  • Automatic Gold status.

  • Up to $200 back each year on eligible Hilton purchases.

  • Free night reward after spending $15,000 on card purchases in a calendar year.

  • Terms apply.

  • 14 points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at Hilton hotels and resorts.

  • 7 points on qualifying flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and U.S. restaurants.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.

  • Automatic Diamond status.

  • Get one free night reward with your card every year after renewal. Also, get an additional free night reward after spending $30,000 on card purchases in a calendar year and another after spending $60,000 in a calendar year.

  • $400 Hilton resort statement credit.

  • $200 flight credit.

  • $100 Hilton on-property credit when you book a 2-night minimum stay at HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard with participating hotels.

  • Terms apply.

Drawbacks and considerations

Lack of reward flexibility

To get the most from this card, you have to be committed to the Hilton Honors loyalty program. If you would rather stay at a variety of hotels, including those not owned by Hilton, a general travel card is a better fit.

For those looking for comparable premium travel perks, good choices include the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

High annual fee

In a vacuum, the annual fee of $550 is high. But among upper-tier travel credit cards, it’s competitive.

Still, some people can’t stomach that high of a fee — or are uncertain whether they can cash in on enough of the benefits and perks to make it worthwhile. For those people, a card with a lower annual fee might be better.

A cheaper Hilton card is one choice. So is a general travel card. Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with an annual fee of $95.

Or look at the simpler Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card with an annual fee comparable to that on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Limited acceptance abroad

American Express cards aren’t accepted as widely outside the U.S. as Visas or Mastercards, so bring a backup credit card when you’re abroad.

For more options, you can also visit NerdWallet's list of the best credit cards to have.

Alternate Pick: More flexible rewards
3X points on travel, dining

Don't want to be locked into a complex Hilton card? This premium card earns bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. Those points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed for travel booked through Chase, or you can transfer them to more than a dozen airline and hotel programs. There's an array of perks, plus an annual $300 travel credit that effectively cuts the $550 annual fee by more than half.

How to decide if it's right for you

This card’s jumbo annual fee makes it a bad fit for casual travelers who stay at Hilton properties occasionally. But for avid fans of Hilton’s hotels and resorts, this card is highly valuable. Its ample rewards — along with potential savings from travel credits, anniversary nights and elite status — can easily compensate you for shelling out the annual fee every year.

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

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

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