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One of the Biggest No-Brainers for Frequent Travelers — Hilton Aspire Benefits & Perks

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One of the Biggest No-Brainers for Frequent Travelers — Hilton Aspire Benefits & Perks

Joseph HostetlerOne of the Biggest No-Brainers for Frequent Travelers — Hilton Aspire Benefits & PerksMillion Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET:  This card comes with a better airport lounge membership than you can possibly buy.

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

The AMEX 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.

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?

No question!  Here’s why:

With the Hilton Aspire benefits and perks, you can get hundreds of dollars off your stay at the Hilton Moorea in French Polynesia

Hilton Aspire Benefits and Perks

Apply Here:   Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Read our review:  AMEX Hilton Aspire

Diamond Elite Status

The AMEX Hilton Aspire is the only hotel card that gives you TOP-NOTCH 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 AMEX Hilton Aspire, you’ll get an annual weekend night award, valid at nearly every Hilton hotel in the world (excluding these listed here).  And you’ll get another weekend night every year after you renew your card.

You should receive the weekend night within 14 weeks of opening your card and within the same time period 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 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 2 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 a $250 Hilton resort credit 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 a $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 get it TWICE before you pay the annual fee a second time (one credit in 2019 and another in January 2020).  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.  The fine print from Hilton:  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 Property Credit

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!  Even authorized users get the benefit.

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 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.

Note:   Reader Anon says 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.  Thanks for the data point, Anon!

NO Foreign Transaction Fees

Some credit cards charge up to 3% in fees just for using your card outside the US.  The AMEX Hilton Aspire won’t charge these silly fees, so it’s a good card to take abroad. (See Rates & Fees)

AMEX Offers

AMEX Offers are special discounts that are targeted to AMEX 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 AMEX Hilton Aspire provides baggage insurance when you do one of the following:

  • Pay for the entire fare with your card
  • Pay for the fare with a combination of your card and AMEX Membership Rewards points
  • Pay for the fare with a combination of your card and American Express Pay with 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 Loss and Damage Insurance

If you’re renting a car for 30 days or less, you’ll receive secondary coverage.  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
  • Software
  • 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

Your purchases 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.

Premium Global Assistance Hotline

This is an emergency number you can call to receive emergency medical transportation assistance.  You won’t even be charged if the transportation is approved and coordinated by the Premium Global Assist Hotline.  That’s pretty great, because you could pay thousands and thousands of dollars otherwise.

They can also help with lost passport replacement, translation services, missing luggage assistance, and emergency legal and medical referrals, but you’ll be responsible for the costs.

Premium Roadside Assistance

Up to 4 times per year, you can receive:

  • Towing up to 10 miles
  • Winching
  • Jump starts
  • Flat tire changes (if you have a spare tire)
  • Lockout service if you lock your keys in your car
  • Delivery of 2 gallons of fuel

You’ll have to pay for any service that exceeds these parameters.  Also, rental cars, motorcycles tractors, and trucks over 10,000 points are not covered.  Check out the full terms to see other random exclusions.

Travel Accident Insurance

When you pay for your entire fare with the AMEX Hilton Aspire, you can receive up to $500,000 of Travel Accident Insurance.  Insurance kicks in for things like:

  • Loss of a hand or foot
  • Loss of sight in one or both eyes
  • Loss of a combination of any of the above

You’re covered so long as any of these things happen with 100 days of the initial accident date.

There are also exclusions.  You won’t be covered if your accident was caused (even in part) by:

  • Self-destruction
  • Acts of war
  • Sickness, physical, or mental infirmity
  • Pregnancy
  • And more

You can check out the terms for the full list.

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.

Want more details about the AMEX Hilton Aspire and the Hilton Honors loyalty program?  Check these out:

Let me know your thoughts on this card in the comments!  And enroll in our newsletter for more pro travel tips and suggestions:

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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Might be worth clarifying that the Diamond Elite Status perks like breakfast and upgrades only count if you book through Hilton directly. We’re staying at the Conrad Bora Bora in 2 weeks and they confirmed that we would not be eligible for complementary breakfast/available room upgrades with our Diamond status because we booked the rooms using CUR points.

Are you sure the $250 resort credit can be used to pay for the cost of the room itself?

Yes, you can. I’ve done it before. You just have to make sure the hotel is on the participating list.