Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card review

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Snapshot

3.8

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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Rewards rate

3X–14X

Annual fee

$450

Intro bonus

150,000 Points

Regular APR

15.74% - 24.74% Variable

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

Card Overview

If you travel consistently and are partial to the Hilton brand, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card may be perfect for you. While the annual fee is steep, this hotel credit card’s rewards structure will more than make up for what you spend on the annual fee.

If you only occasionally stay at a Hilton hotel, this card is more than you need (and will be hard to justify the annual fee). However, if you’re a regular traveler who consistently stays at Hilton properties and is invested in the Hilton Honors loyalty program, you should certainly consider this Hilton credit card. Let’s take a look at this card to see if it’s right for you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • Solid welcome bonus
  • Many travel perks and credits
  • Outstanding rewards rate for Hilton purchases
  • Hilton Diamond Status

Cons

  • High annual fee
  • Primary value comes only through Hilton Honors program

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards Rate: 14X Hilton Honors points on eligible Hilton purchases, 7X on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, 7X at U.S. restaurants, 3X on all other purchases.
  • Welcome Offer: 150,000 bonus Hilton Honors points after you spend $4,000 in your first three months.
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Purchase Intro APR: None
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 15.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable

Current welcome offer

New cardmembers get 150,000 bonus Hilton Honors points if they spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months. With each point valued at around 0.6 cents apiece, the approximate value of the intro offer is $900, which is quite high.

These points can be used for reward nights at the more than 5,900 Hilton properties scattered throughout the world.

However, to put this offer in context, the nightly rate at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is $1,351, or could be booked from 120,000 points per night. As you can see, when it comes to booking stays, the dollar amount of the points is different from the value placed on them by Hilton.

Rewards rate

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire offers an extensive amount of rewards.

Earning rewards

Cardmembers get 14X Hilton Honors points for every eligible dollar spent directly with a Hilton hotel or resort. They get 7X points for every eligible dollar spent on amextravel.com, flights booked directly with airlines and direct booking of car rentals with specific companies.

Dining out at U.S. restaurants earns cardmembers 7X points on each eligible dollar, and all other eligible purchases get 3X points.

To top it all off, cardmembers earn complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond Status, which increases the bonus earning rate on Hilton stays from 10 points per dollar spent to 20 points per dollar spent, which means you could earn a whopping 34 points per dollar on most Hilton stays as a cardmember.

Redeeming rewards

Hilton Honors bonus points can be redeemed in a variety of ways:

  • Reward nights at Hilton properties. Hilton doesn’t maintain an award chart, meaning the cost in points fluctuates by property, time of year, the cash price of the room and more. Typically, the “floor” for a reward night at Hilton properties ranges from 5,000 to 95,000 points per night, depending on property. Enjoy one weekend night reward with your new Hilton Honors American Express Aspire and every year after renewal.
  • Convert to airline miles. Because this offers a less-than-favorable conversion rate, this option only makes sense if you need a certain amount of miles for a specific flight.
  • Get a rental car. Book rental cars with many car rental companies worldwide.

How much are the rewards worth?

As noted above, the approximate value of Hilton Honors points is 0.6 cents apiece. However, there isn’t necessarily a 1:1 match between the value of points and the nightly cost of a room. It depends on the property, time of year, etc.

Other cardholder perks

There are a number of key benefits that come with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire. Note that the card is offering a slightly altered set of benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, so pay attention to current terms when you sign up.

Hilton Aspire Weekend Nights

Cardmembers receive one free weekend night reward immediately, plus one every year after card renewal. You also get an additional weekend night reward if you spend $60,000 in a calendar year. Hilton recently altered the free weekend night certificates to make them eligible to be used any night of the week.

Statement credits

You’ll get a $250 Hilton Aspire Resort credit for eligible purchases at Hilton Resorts. Cardmembers also receive a $250 airline fee credit for incidental airline charges, as well as a $100 Hilton on-property credit when you book at least a two-night stay at select properties.

Travel benefits

Members receive Priority Pass Select, which gives them unlimited access to over 1,200 airport lounges. There are no foreign transaction fees, and car rental insurance is provided when the entire rental is reserved and paid for with the card. Baggage insurance covers lost, damaged or stolen baggage, and complimentary concierge services make it easy to make special arrangements and reservations.

Protection

If you need legal, medical, financial or other forms of help while traveling, you have access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline. The card also offers return protection on eligible purchases if a merchant won’t take an item back. If fraudulent activity occurs on your card, you are not held responsible.

Rates and Fees

The annual fee for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card is $450. The regular APR is 15.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable. Late payments are subject to an APR of 29.24 percent variable, and there are penalty fees of up to $40 on late and returned payments.

Cash advances come with a fee of either $10 or 5 percent of the advance amount, whichever is higher. There are no foreign transaction fees or intro purchase or balance transfer APRs.

How the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire compares to other Hilton Honors cards

There are several other Hilton credit cards that offer similar rewards and benefits.

The Hilton Honors American Express Card has no annual fee and offers: 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the card in the first 6 months. You earn 7X points on Hilton purchases, 5X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3X points on all other eligible purchases.

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card* offers: 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend a total of $10,000 in purchases on the card in the first 6 months. You earn 12X points on Hilton purchases, 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3X points on all other eligible purchases. There is a $95 annual fee.

American Express Image

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

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3.8

Annual fee

$450

Sign up bonus

150,000 Points

Rewards rate

3X–14X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
American Express Image

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Annual fee

$95

Sign up bonus

130,000 points

Rewards rate

3X–12X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
American Express Image

Hilton Honors American Express Card

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4.1
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Apply now

on American Express's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Sign up bonus

Up to 130,000 points

Rewards rate

3X–7X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

Best cards to pair with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire

Given that this card provides Hilton Honors points as rewards, it makes the most sense to use the card when booking stays at Hilton properties (14X points) or on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com (7X points). For other purchases, it probably makes more sense to use a cash back card.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire worth it?

The card is great for regular travelers who value staying at Hilton properties, don’t mind paying the $450 annual fee and will definitely spend $4,000 in the first three months of membership. It’s not particularly good for infrequent travelers or those who don’t especially care to stay at Hilton properties.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card and Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.