Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Review [2024]: Lux Rewards

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
This Hilton-branded credit card’s perks and rewards seem almost limitless for fans of Hilton, but is it worth the annual fee?
Updated Feb. 20, 2024
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Hilton is one of the most recognizable names in the travel world. With more than 570 hotels and resorts around the globe, Hilton offers travelers luxury accommodations no matter where they go.

With the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Hilton fans can earn valuable rewards and perks not available to the casual traveler. While it does carry a sizable annual fee, the Aspire card is worth the cost as long as you use the available benefits.

Keep reading this Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card review to find out if this is the best hotel credit card for you.

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by FinanceBuzz.

Fabulous Rewards for Hilton Fans

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
5.0

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Current Offer

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months

Annual Fee

$550

Rewards Rate

14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

In this Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card review:

Who should get the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card?

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is for frequent travelers who want luxury level benefits. If you’re already a fan of Hilton hotels and resorts or planning to make them your “go-to” hotel chain, having the Aspire card makes sense.

If you are a member of the Hilton Honors loyalty program, or planning to join it, then this card will be greatly beneficial to you. The Aspire card automatically earns you Diamond Status, the highest tier of member benefits offered by Hilton. It also earns points at a ridiculously high rate for all Hilton purchases, making this the perfect card if you plan to travel to Hilton properties over the next year and beyond.

This card does have a $550 annual fee, though. So if you aren’t planning on taking advantage of its travel perks or planning to be frequently earning rewards by staying at Hilton properties, you’ll be better off getting either a different Hilton credit card or other travel rewards credit card.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer American Express
Annual fee $550 (Terms apply)
Welcome bonus Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months of account opening
Reward rate 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other eligible purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card benefits and perks

  • Generous welcome offer: New cardmembers can earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months of card membership.
  • Complimentary Diamond status: Enjoy complimentary Diamond elite status with your Hilton Honors Aspire card. This is the highest Hilton status tier and gives you access to perks like free breakfast on all stays, room upgrades, premium WiFi, Executive Lounge access, unlimited milestone bonuses, and more.
  • Hilton resort credit: Enjoy up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually at participating Hilton Resorts.
  • Airline fee credit: You can receive up to $200 back per year ($50 in statement credits each quarter) on eligible flight purchases. 
  • Property credit: Cardmembers can get a credit of up to $100 each time they book an eligible two-night hotel stay at a Waldorf Astoria or Conrad property.
  • Free Night Reward: Your new Aspire card earns you a Free Night Reward at a Hilton property during your first year as well as one every year after renewal. You can earn an additional free night after making $30,000 in purchases and another after making $60,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year.
  • CLEAR® Plus statement credit: If you use your Aspire card to pay for an eligible CLEAR Plus membership, you can receive up to $189 back in statement credits per calendar year (subject to auto-renewal).
  • National Car Rental Status: You can receive complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status. 
  • Cell phone protection: You can receive up to $800 per claim for damaged or stolen cell phones when you pay your cell phone bill in full with this card. You can have up to two claims per card account per 12-month period. A $50 deductible per claim may apply to each claim.
  • Insurance coverage: By using your Hilton Aspire card, you can get car rental loss and damage insurance as well as baggage insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage.
  • Select benefits require enrollment.

Drawbacks to the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • Annual fee: While this card does come with some impressive perks, it also comes with an annual fee of $550. It can be an expensive card if you aren't a loyal Hilton guest and you aren't traveling often enough to offset the annual fee.
  • No Priority Pass access: If you want lounge access, this may not be the card for you.
  • Low transfer value: If you are interested in transferring your Hilton points to a hotel or airline partner, make sure you check the value before you complete your transfer. Typically, Hilton points transfer at a 10:1 ratio, though you may get a better value, depending on the partner you choose.

Earning & redeeming Hilton Honors points

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your points can add up with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 0.0055 cents apiece.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $2,741

Year two earnings: $1,916

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.

Note that the values above only take general travel spending into account. They do not account for Hilton-specific spending, the annual statement credits, or Hilton Honors Diamond Status perks that you receive as a cardmember. If you factor those in, the value you'll get from this card in years one and two will likely be significantly higher. 

Best ways to earn

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the perfect card for earning rewards on travel purchases, especially if you frequent Hilton properties. You can earn 14X points on eligible purchases within the Hilton portfolio, 7X points on qualifying travel purchases made directly with airlines/select car rental companies or Amextravel.com, 7X points at U.S. restaurants, and 3X points on all other eligible purchases.

Few credit cards offer rewards earning with rates this high. So, as you can see, using your Hilton Honors Aspire card for all of your purchases can help you earn Hilton Honors points quickly.

Categories Rewards rate
Hilton purchases 14X
Flights 7X
Car rentals 7X
U.S. restaurants 7X
Other purchases 3X

Maximizing your redemptions

Your Hilton Honors points can be used for a variety of redemptions. But when it comes to maximizing the value of your Hilton Honors points, it makes the most sense to use them on free Hilton stays. Redemptions for Hilton hotel stays start at just 5,000 points a night, though the number of points required will increase depending on the specific property, type of room, and other factors.

Other things you can get with your Hilton Honors points include:

  • Hilton vacation packages
  • Cruises
  • Car rentals
  • Lyft ride certificates
  • Online shopping
  • Gift certificates

Your Hilton Honors points can also be converted to airline or rail miles with select Hilton travel partners. There’s also an option to transfer points to someone else or donate them to charity.

Hilton Honors transfer partners

If you prefer, you can transfer your Hilton Honors points to one of several hotel, airline, and travel partners. Hilton Honors currently has over 30 airline, rail, and mileage rewards program partners. Among these hospitality companies are American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

You can also add to your Hilton Honors points with rewards from both American Express and Diners Club. American Express cardholders in the U.S. will receive 2,000 Hilton Honors points for every 1,000 Amex Membership Rewards points transferred into your Hilton Honors rewards account.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card FAQs

Is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card metal?

No, currently, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card is not a metal credit card.

Can I upgrade my Hilton Honors credit card?

The Hilton Honors Aspire card can’t be upgraded because it is the highest card in the Hilton Honors card family. If you have the Hilton Honors American Express Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, they can be upgraded after having them for one year. Be aware that other factors may also determine your eligibility for an upgrade.

Can you have two Hilton Honors American Express cards?

Yes, you can have two Hilton Honors cards at the same time. With more than one, you can build up your Hilton Honors points quickly through the welcome bonuses. The Hilton Honors cards have overlapping reward categories, but both the Hilton Honors Card and Hilton Honors Surpass Card would earn you extra bonus points for gas and grocery purchases, which isn’t true with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

How many Hilton Honors points do I need for a free night?

Reward stays at Hilton start at 5,000 points per award night. This amount can secure you a free night at hotels around the world. The highest redemption for a free night at a Hilton resort is currently 120,000 points for a room at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi (as of Dec. 30, 2019). You can use the Hilton Points Explorer to search for redemption amounts and pick your next vacation destination.

What is the best Hilton Honors credit card?

Which Hilton Honors credit card is best depends on your personal preferences and what type of annual fee you want to pay. The Aspire card offers the highest rewards earning rates, Diamond status, and more travel rewards than the other Hilton Honors credit cards, but it also carries a high $550 annual fee. If you would rather pay less of an annual fee and you know you won’t use all this card’s benefits, then it may not be the best card for you.

Other cards to consider

If you like luxury travel rewards, but don’t want to be tied to a particular hotel chain, try the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This travel card’s 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening and $300 annual travel credit definitely help offset its annual fee of $550. It earns 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases. The Chase Sapphire Reserve charges no foreign transaction fees and also has other travel benefits like airport lounge access, a statement credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry fees, and more.

If you’re a fan of Hilton, but don’t love the high annual fee attached to the Aspire card, why not check out the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card? You’ll earn 12X points on eligible purchases at participating Hilton hotels or resorts; 6X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; 4X points on U.S. online retail purchases; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases. Plus, you’ll earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.

Fabulous Rewards for Hilton Fans

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
5.0

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Why We Like It

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months

Terms Apply

See how these cards compare:

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards® (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months
  • 12X points at eligible purchases at participating Hilton hotels or resorts
  • Free Night Reward after spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $150 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees | Terms Apply

Author Details

Kevin Payne Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in student loans, credit cards, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Club Thrifty, Millennial Money, and Student Loan Planner. As the budget and family travel expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com, Kevin recently turned his writing side hustle into his full-time career. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.

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