One of the biggest no-brainers for frequent travelers — Hilton Aspire benefits and perks

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I absolutely love The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. It’s such a good deal that I actually don’t think the card is sustainable with all its benefits.

The Hilton Aspire comes with a welcome offer of 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. And because it’s easy to receive a value of  ~0.5 cents per Hilton point, you should have no problem racking up at least $750 in free hotel stays, making it one of the best hotel credit cards.

But let’s talk about the ongoing benefits, the stuff that doesn’t disappear after your first year. This card does have a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees), so is it worth paying for year after year? Yes, I’ll show you why it’s an amazing rewards credit card.

Hilton Aspire benefits and perks

Hilton Melbourne Little Queen st. (Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Diamond elite status

The Aspire is the only hotel card that gives you top-notch Hilton elite status right out of the gate. You’ll receive automatic Diamond elite status just for having the card. It comes with benefits like:

  • 100% bonus points on paid stays
  • Upgrades to a suite when available (that can be worth a lot of money)
  • Executive hotel lounge access (usually has lots of free food and drinks)
  • 48-hour room guarantee
  • Complimentary breakfast at all Hilton hotels
  • 5th award night free when you book with points

If Hilton is your hotel chain of choice, you’ll get plenty of value from this benefit, even though you won’t always be upgraded to a suite.

Annual weekend night awards

When you open the Hilton Aspire, you’ll get an annual weekend night award, valid at nearly any Hilton hotel in the world (excluding these listed here). And you’ll get another weekend night every year after you renew your card. Hilton’s best resorts can cost $800+ per night. So if you use this weekend night in a five-star hotel, you could instantly make up for the annual fee.

Additionally, you’ll get another weekend night if you spend $60,000+ in eligible purchases on the card in a calendar year. This is one of the best travel credit card perks out there.

Priority Pass Select membership

With a Priority Pass Select membership, you’ll have access to 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. That’s one of my favorite card benefits, and super-expensive if you were to buy it. With the Amex Hilton Aspire you can also bring two guests into the lounge with you for free. That’s actually better than any lounge membership you can buy. The most expensive Priority Pass plan costs $429 per year, and still charges $32 per guest.

This membership alone is worth the card’s annual fee if you travel often (particularly internationally).

$250 annual Hilton resort credit

You’ll receive up to $250 in Hilton resort credits when you open your card and each year you renew your card. This means if you stay at any of Hilton’s participating resorts, you can use this resort credit toward eligible purchases, including room rate, resort restaurants, spas, etc.

$250 annual airline fee credit

The Amex Hilton Aspire comes with up to $250 annual airline-fee credit (you’ll have to choose the airline you want) to cover incidental air travel fees. You’ll receive this credit each calendar year. That means for your first year as a cardmember, you’ll might be able to use it twice before you pay the annual fee a second time. You can change your selected airline each new calendar year.

Incidental fees are things like baggage fees, food, drinks, etc. It’s not the easiest to use, but if it will reimburse you for money you’d spend anyway, it’s a heck of a deal. Here’s the fine print on what won’t earn the credit: Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.

Up to $100 in property credits per eligible stays

This credit is usable at only two Hilton hotel brands:

  • Conrad
  • Waldorf Astoria

When you book one of these hotels for 2+ days through this link, you’re eligible for up to a $100 credit. You can also call 855-292-5757 and reference the code “ZZAAP1.” And this benefit is reusable, once per stay on an unlimited amount of stays.

You’ll receive a hotel credit equal to $1 for each $1 of qualifying charges made at the hotel, up to $100. The property credit is applied as a hotel credit on your bill at checkout. Qualifying charges do not include:

  • Property fees
  • Taxes
  • Gratuities
  • Room cost

This should operate like the annual resort credit, but you should ask the front desk at your particular hotel for more details on what will qualify for the reimbursement. It may vary by hotel. Also, please note that some readers have noticed that the rates associated with the promo code are not the lowest when compared to other rates, like the Hilton member rate, AAA rate, etc. So if you’re not careful, you may end up paying more than this $100 credit is worth.

No foreign transaction fees

Some credit cards charge up to 3% in fees just for using your card outside the U.S. But, the Amex Hilton Aspire won’t charge silly foreign transaction fees (see rates & fees), so it’s a good card to take abroad.

Amex Offers

Amex Offers are special discounts that are targeted to American Express cards. Discounts are for purchases like restaurants, hotels, airfare, event tickets, etc. To learn more about Amex Offers, check out this guide.

Baggage insurance plan

The Aspire provides baggage insurance when you pay for the entire fare with your card or a combination of your card and Amex Membership Rewards points. You won’t be covered for award flights (if you use airline miles for your flight). This is secondary coverage, which means it will only kick in for anything that’s not covered by any primary insurance you have. For checked baggage, you must fill out a written report of your losses.

The maximum reimbursement you’ll receive is:

  • $3,000 for carry-on baggage
  • $2,000 for checked baggage
  • $1,000 for high-risk items like jewelry, sporting equipment, furs, computers, etc.

Car rental coverage

If you’re renting a car for 30 days or less, you’ll receive secondary rental car insurance. In other words, it will cover things that your primary insurance won’t cover. You’ll receive collision damage insurance, but you won’t be covered for damage to other vehicles, property, or people. Also, you’re not covered if you rent things like off-road vehicles, limos, antique cars, etc.

Extended warranty

If you make a purchase with your Amex Hilton Aspire, you can receive an extended warranty on some items with manufacturer warranties of five years or less. Amex will match the length of the original warranty if it’s less than two years. And you’ll get an additional two years of coverage if the original manufacturer’s warranty is between two and five years.

Just understand that certain purchases aren’t covered, such as:

  • Items with physical damage
  • Damage as a result of natural disaster
  • Consumable or perishable items
  • Motorized devices

You will only be covered up to the amount charged on your Amex Hilton Aspire, with a maximum of $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per cardmember account per calendar year.

Return protection

When you buy something with your Amex Hilton Aspire, your purchase will be covered for 90 days, up to $300 per item (and no more than $1,000 per calendar year based on the date you made your purchase). You won’t be reimbursed for any shipping.

This kicks in if the item is in original condition you cannot return it to the store at which it was purchased.

Purchase protection

For up to 120 days from the date of purchase (90 days for New York residents) purchases made with the Amex Hilton Aspire are protected up to $10,000 per occurrence (up to $50,000 per calendar year). Certain things, like perishable items, motorized vehicles, etc. aren’t covered. This benefit gives you secondary coverage, which means that it will only pay for items above and beyond what your other insurance will cover.

ShopRunner

ShopRunner is barely a credit card benefit. With ShopRunner, you can get 2-day shipping with select stores. In my experience, 2-day shipping still isn’t a guarantee, and they didn’t participate with the stores at which I shop. Perhaps you’ll have better luck.

To get a free membership, click this link and enter your Amex credit card account number. You’ll then be prompted to open a ShopRunner account.

Total value

We value Hilton points at around .5 cents each for Hilton award stays, so you can expect to get $750 in value from the Aspire’s intro bonus. This card also comes with up to $250 in annual credits for both airline fees and at Hilton resorts. But not everyone will use all those credits so I’ll only value them at $400 total. The free weekend night can easily be worth up to $800 or more, but a nice Hilton in a average location will most likely cost you ~$200, so I’ll value it at that.

It’s hard to pin an exact value on the Diamond elite status, $100 credit at Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels and the airport lounge access perks. It really depends on how often you use them, but they can save you cash for sure. So to be conservative I haven’t put a value on those benefits, that still leaves you with $900 in value the first year once you deduct the card’s $450 annual fee and you can easily get $150-$250 in value every year you keep the card (if you take full advantage of the airline and Hilton resort credits and after you pay the annual fee).

Bottom line

The Amex Hilton Aspire is one of the best all-around travel cards, if you’re a fan of Hilton. With benefits like Priority Pass Select airport lounge access, automatic Hilton Diamond Status, an annual weekend night at nearly any Hilton hotel and hundreds in statement credits, you’ll receive much more than the $450 annual fee you pay each year.

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For rates and fees of the Amex Hilton Aspire, please click here.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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