We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
If you’re a frequent traveler and like Hilton hotels, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card is a terrific pick! It’s got a hefty 125,000 Hilton point welcome bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements which can get you lots of free Hilton stays.
But it’s the excellent travel perks that make the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card a winner. For a relatively low annual fee of $95, you’ll get benefits that can make your travel more comfortable and affordable. By making the most of these perks, you can get a value that far exceeds the annual fee!
Here are our top 3 favorite perks from the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, and how you can use them to get hundreds of dollars in value!
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
Apply Here: Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
The AMEX Hilton Ascend card comes with a generous 125,000 Hilton point bonus after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Free nights at Hilton hotels cost between 10,000 and 95,000 Hilton points per night, so you could use the bonus to splurge on a luxury stay, or stretch it for more free nights at mid-scale hotels.
You’ll also get:
- 12 Hilton points for each $1 spent at a Hilton hotel or resort
- 6 Hilton points for each $1 of eligible purchases at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
- 3 Hilton points for all other eligible purchases on your card
- Complimentary Hilton Gold status
- 1 weekend night after spending $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year
- Access to statement credits when taking advantage of an AMEX Offer
- Earn Hilton Diamond status if you spend $40,000 in a calendar year (valid through the end of the next calendar year after it’s earned)
- 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership
- NO foreign transaction fees
- Terms and limitations apply
Top 3 Best AMEX Hilton Ascend Perks
The AMEX Hilton Ascend has a $95 annual fee that is NOT waived in the first year. But the card’s perks can easily compensate for the annual fee.
Other cards with similar benefits often come with annual fees much higher than this. So the AMEX Hilton Ascend is an excellent value if you can make the most of these benefits.
1. Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Elite Status
Earning Gold status the “hard” way requires 20 stays or 40 nights or earning 75,000 Hilton base points in a calendar year (equivalent to $7,500 in annual spending at most Hilton locations). But simply opening the AMEX Hilton Ascend will allow you to earn the following perks for free:
- 80% bonus points: Gold status allows you to earn an 80% bonus on all the Hilton base points you earn (an additional 8 Hilton points per $1)
- 5th night free on award stays: You’ll get a free 5th night when you book an award stay of 5 consecutive nights or more using all points
- Room upgrades: Gold members are eligible for upgrades to preferred rooms at most Hilton brands when space is available. Brands include Hilton, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, DoubleTree, and Waldorf Astoria. Cardholders and a guest also have access to Executive Lounges at select properties when you receive a room upgrade to the Executive floor or to a room type that confers Executive Lounge benefits
- Complimentary breakfast: Cardholders and one additional guest can enjoy free breakfast at most Hilton brands
- Two complimentary bottles of water per stay: A nice perk for those who can’t resist that ~$8 bottle of in-room water 😉
Pro Tip: Although Gold status technically offers free breakfast for you and one additional guest, you can often get it complimentary for everyone in the room (especially if you’re traveling with children). It depends on the location.
And if you’re a big spender, you can earn Hilton Diamond status after spending $40,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year. Hilton Diamond status comes with even more premium benefits, like executive lounge access, better upgrades, and more bonus points.
But for the average spender who plans less than 20 stays or 40 nights at Hilton hotels, getting a card that automatically gets you Gold status is a no-brainer.
2. Weekend Night Reward
With the AMEX Hilton Ascend, you can earn a weekend night reward when you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.
This makes the card ideal for big spenders, especially if you’ll make the most of bonus spending categories on everyday purchases at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations.
And because you can redeem the award at almost any Hilton hotel, you can get hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of value if you use the award at top-tier hotels like The Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort in Maui.
Even if you don’t redeem your weekend night at a luxury resort, it’s very easy to get much more than $95 worth of value from this perk!
3. Airport Lounge Visits
Priority Pass Select is an independent network of airport lounges with over 1,200 locations around the world (although most of them are located outside the US).
If you typically fly out of a small regional airport, you are likely no stranger to long layovers at an international hub. Not only does this perk give you a more comfortable place to relax, you’ll also enjoy free Wi-Fi and complimentary drinks and snacks.
Personally, airport eating is a travel expense that I constantly overlook. I travel out of Boston ~5 times per year and each time my wife and I spend at least $30 on overpriced food ($150 per year). Because Boston has Priority Pass lounges on site, paying the $95 fee for this perk alone represents a $55 net savings for me every year.
There are other cards that offer lounge access, but most of them include a high annual fee. One caveat is that, unlike these other premium cards, the AMEX Hilton Ascend does NOT come with unlimited visits. Cardholders get 10 total visits (including guests).
This means you can visit 10 times by yourself or 5 times with a guest. After that you have to pay $27 per person, per visit. For folks who travel a LOT, this might be a bummer, but for the semi-frequent traveler 10 free passes is just right.
The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card comes loaded with a valuable welcome bonus, enhanced earning categories, and a TON of extra perks that can really make your travel experience more comfortable and civilized. For many, these benefits make the card worth much more than the $95 annual fee
You can earn 125,000 Hilton points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s enough for a luxury night at a top-tier Hilton resort, or many more nights at less fancy locations. It’s easy to get at least $625 worth of stays (if not more) with the bonus!
But the real strength of this card is in the perks:
- Complimentary Gold Elite Status (free breakfast at most Hilton hotels, bonus points, upgrades when available)
- A weekend night reward when you spend more than $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year
- 10 free Priority Pass Select airport lounge visits per year (save big on expensive airport food and drinks!)
The AMEX Hilton Honors Ascend is fantastic card for folks who stay at Hilton hotels semi-frequently or enjoy airport lounge access when they travel. And for big spenders, it’s easy to squeeze hundreds of dollars worth of value from the weekend night reward alone.
Did I miss your favorite perk? Let me know in the comments!