- Rewards rate: 14X points at participating Hilton hotels or resorts; 7X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants; 3X points on other purchases
- Welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on the Card within the first three months of Card Membership.
- Annual fee: $450
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 20.99 percent to 29.99 percent (variable)
Current welcome offer
Among all the Hilton Honors credit cards, the Aspire Card offers the highest welcome offer for your spending. New applicants who have not previously held this card can earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership, starting from the date your card is approved.
Hilton Honors points are worth up to 0.6 cents each. If you were to maximize your value on redemption, your welcome bonus points could be worth as much as $900 in rewards.
If your ultimate goal is to get free nights, the total value from your hotel credit cards is dependent on how you use your points. Room awards start at 5,000 points per night and go to a maximum of 95,000 points per night. With the welcome offer points alone, you could get up to 10 nights with hotel rooms costing 15,000 points per night, three nights in hotel rooms costing 50,000 points per night or one night at a high-end luxury hotel for 95,000 points per night with some extra to spare, depending on the season and room availability.
Travelers who stay primarily at Hilton Hotels worldwide have the most to gain in rewards from the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card. With the highest bonuses for its spending categories among the three Hilton co-branded cards, frequent flyers and road warriors alike can quickly earn Hilton Honors points, which can turn into free hotel rooms around the world.
How you earn
As with most points-earning credit cards, your earnings are based on how much you spend but certain categories earn rewards at a higher rate than others. The biggest rewards from the Hilton Honors Amex Aspire come when you use your card at participating Hilton hotels to earn 14X points. From hotel dining to spa treatments and other experiences, anything you purchase at participating hotel locations with your card that can be charged to your room will qualify for the bonus points. Combined with the 100 percent points bonus you can earn with Hilton Honors Diamond status; qualifying cardholders can earn a total of 34X points on Hilton property purchases.
This card can also help you earn points when you are making future travel plans. Cardholders earn 7X points on purchases in three travel-related categories: airfare, rental cars and U.S. restaurants. However, to get the bonus on airfare, you must use your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card to purchase tickets directly from the airline or by using amextravel.com. For the rental car bonus, cardholders must book their car directly through one of 12 companies:
Purchases for both airline tickets and rental cars made through online travel agencies, wholesale clubs or as part of a vacation package will not count for the 7X points category. This is a standard caveat on cards like this, so it won’t necessarily lower the card’s value relative to other options.
To earn bonus points for dining, you must use your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card at U.S. restaurants. Bonus points also apply to food delivery and takeout, but you will not earn points at American restaurants in foreign locations, such as an Applebee’s in Canada. Neither will bonus points apply to meals purchased inside nightclubs, convenience stores, grocery stores, nor inside other establishments like a casino or hotel.
However, if you are eating at a restaurant located inside a Hilton hotel and choose to charge the meal to your room, the balance would count as a Hilton hotel purchase, qualifying you for the higher 14X points rate (34X points if you qualify for Diamond status). All other qualifying purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card will earn you 3X points.
How to redeem
There are six ways to use points in the Hilton Honors reward program. They range from free and discounted hotel nights to making purchases on Amazon.com. Which one you should use depends on how much you value your points and how much money you could save by using them one way or the other.
It should be noted, though, that the best way to use Hilton Honors points is toward free or discounted rooms at one of Hilton’s over 6,500 properties worldwide. Rooms can be booked either entirely with points or with a combination of points and cash. However, Hilton redemptions require a lot more points than redemptions with many other rewards programs. This reflects the relatively low value of Hilton points.
Free hotel room nights range in value from 5,000 at low-end properties geared towards casual travelers and families (like Hampton Inn by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn) to 95,000 points for a standard room in high-end luxury properties and resorts around the world. While points will cover part of your stay, you may still be responsible for paying for any extras while staying at the hotel, including resort fees.
If you don’t have enough points to get a free night, you can discount your hotel room night using a combination of points and cash. Your discount is a percentage based on the cost of the room and how many points you want to use. For example, if a room at a Hilton property costs $270 or 70,000 points per night, using 35,000 points could discount the room to $135, or 50 percent of the cash price. Using 17,500 points would give you a 25 percent discount on the room, making your cost before taxes and other fees $204 per night.
Cardholders can also use points for Hilton Honors Experiences, a service that offers access to unique and exclusive events outside of the normal amenities. Some recent experiences include multi-course culinary experiences across Asia, European spirit tastings and more. While these experiences are purchased exclusively with points (usually 25,000 to 50,000 points), room reservations and other transportation must be booked separately.
Some of the worst ways to use points are through partner offers like exchanging points for Lyft rides, using points to book rental cars, shopping with points on Amazon.com or transferring points to airline partners. Using points this way can drop their value as low as 0.2 cents each, which is far lower than their potential when used for hotel rooms.