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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:
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:
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
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:
- Acts of war
- Sickness, physical, or mental infirmity
- And more
You can check out the terms for the full list.
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:
- Our full review of the Hilton Aspire
- Here’s why the Hilton Aspire annual fee is worth it
- Everything you want to know in our Hilton Honors review
- What’s the best use of Hilton points?
- How to setup a Hilton account
- Find out about your Hilton points value
- How to use Hilton Honors points
- The Hilton award chart that doesn’t exist
- Do Hilton points expire?
- A full guide to Hilton status
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