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Hilton Honors Aspire Card Review: Big Savings From Annual Travel Credits

Our review of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express looks at the rewards program, free hotel nights, annual travel credits, fees, and hotel perks.
(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is one of four different credit cards that are co-branded between American Express and Hilton Hotels.

Of the four cards, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is considered the luxury card, and it comes with the highest annual fee of $450.

However:

There are many perks and annual travel credits that help to offset the fee.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card confers instant top-tier Hilton Diamond status and gives a free weekend night at any Hilton hotel.

A savvy traveler should investigate the benefits and decide whether this card is right for you.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Highly valuable annual travel credits
  • Earn a generous rewards rate on Hilton hotel purchases, as well as everyday purchases
  • Complimentary Diamond Hilton Honors status and benefits
  • Get a free weekend night reward annually
  • $450 annual fee
  • Only suitable for those who book Hilton properties frequently

Rewards Program

As its name suggests, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card earns Hilton Honors points, with different earning rates depending on where you make your purchases.

You will earn:

  • 14X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at hotels or resorts within the Hilton portfolio
  • 7X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on flights booked with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 7X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on car rentals
  • 7X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent anywhere else

Hilton Honors points can be redeemed for:

  • Free hotel nights
  • Experiences such as concerts, dining, sporting events and more
  • Lyft rides
  • Car rentals
  • Shopping on Amazon.com and online mall

Hilton Honors Program and Transfer Partners

By far the best way to use Hilton Honors points is to use them to stay at Hilton hotels. Hilton no longer has a set award chart for award stays.

Instead, the cost in Hilton Honors points varies with the cash rate.

You’ll need to check Hilton’s website to find the cost in points for a given hotel.

Remember, too:

On an award stay of 5 nights, you get the 5th night free. 

Points transfers

You can also transfer Hilton Honors points to airline and rail partners.

In most cases, 10,000 Hilton Honors points will transfer to 1,000 airline miles. This is not a good value for your Hilton Honors points.

If you need to get more Hilton Honors points, Hilton does partner with several other points currencies:

  • 1000 American Express Membership Rewards will transfer to 2000 Hilton Honors points
  • 10,000 HawaiianMiles transfer to 15,000 Hilton points.
  • 10,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles transfer to 15,000 Hilton points.
  • 5,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points transfer to 10,000 Hilton Points

Except in extraordinary circumstances, your American Express points, airline miles and Amtrak points are better used in other manners.

Annual Travel Credits

One of the big perks that help to offset the Aspire’s $450 annual fee is its array of annual travel credits.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card comes with a few different annual credits:

$250 airline fee credit

You can use your Aspire card to offset up to $250 in charges for airline incidentals like checked baggage fees, in-flight refreshments, and flight change fees.

Note:

You must select an airline each year and your $250 airline incidental credit is good only on that airline for that year.

$250 Hilton Resort statement credit

Each year, you can get up to $250 in statement credits for purchases made at participating Hilton Resorts.

$100 Hilton on-property credit

If you book a 2-night minimum stay at hiltonhonorsaspirecard.com, you can get up to $100 in credits for qualifying charges at participating Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotels.

Annual Free Weekend Night Award

One of the best perks of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is that it gives a free weekend night award each year on your cardmember anniversary.

And unlike some other hotel credit cards, you also get one immediately when you sign up for the card.

Now:

These weekend night awards are good on Friday or Saturday night stays at any Hilton hotel.

Depending on which hotel you choose to use it at, this perk alone might pay for the annual fee

You can also get a second weekend night award if you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year

Other Hilton and Travel Perks

Another great perk of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card is that by having the card, you will receive Hilton Diamond status.

This is Hilton’s top-tier elite status, so you’ll get all the benefits of someone who stays hundreds of nights with Hilton.

Having Diamond status makes you eligible for:

  • Bonus points on stays
  • Executive lounge access
  • Premium WiFi
  • Room upgrades
  • 48-hour room guarantee
  • Elite status gifting

Your Hilton Honors Aspire Card also gives you complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass gets you access to thousands of airport lounges all throughout the world. 

Interest Rates and Fees

As we mentioned, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card does come with a $450 annual fee.

You’ll also be charged interest if you don’t pay your statement balance in full. The regular interest rate on the card is in line with other travel rewards credit card.

That said:

If you do no pay off the card balance on a monthly basis, you should be using this card.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card does not charge any foreign transaction fees, which makes it a reasonable card to use while traveling abroad.

Compared to Similar Credit Cards

There are several credit cards that share some similarities with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card.

If you are trying to decide which card may be right for you, here are a few comparisons to keep in mind.

Hilton Honors American Express Card

The is the no-fee card offered by American Express and Hilton.

The American Express Hilton Honors Card earns 7 points per dollar at Hilton and 5 points per dollar on groceries, gas and restaurants. It doesn’t come with the Hilton Diamond status, Priority Pass or any of the annual travel credits.

The American Express Hilton Honors Card is better for occasional Hilton travelers who are looking for bonus Hilton points without an annual fee.

Read the Hilton Honors American Express Card editor's review.

Hilton Honors Surpass Card

The is a mid-tier credit card, with an annual fee of $95.

You’ll earn 12 points per dollar at Hilton, and 6 points per dollar on groceries, dining and gas. With the Surpass card, you’ll get Hilton’s mid-tier Gold status. Hilton Gold status does come with free breakfast at Hilton properties.

An occasional Hilton traveler may get most of the benefit from Gold status rather than top-tier Diamond status.

The Surpass card does not have any of the annual travel credits that come with the Aspire card. The Surpass card does not give a full Priority Pass Select membership, but it does give you 10 Priority Pass visits each year.

You don’t get a complimentary weekend night award with the Surpass card, but you can earn one by spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in a calendar year.

Read the Hilton Honors Surpass Card editor's review.

American Express Platinum Card

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer 1:2 to Hilton Honors points.

Another option for a frequent Hilton traveler would be to earn Hilton Honors points with the .

The Platinum Card has a similar annual fee ($550) and comes with a $200 airline incidental credit, $100 in Saks credit and monthly $15 Uber credits. You’ll also get 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on airlines and hotels.

With the Platinum Card, you’ll get complimentary Hilton Gold status as well as Marriott Bonvoy Gold status. And since the points you earn are Membership Rewards points, you’ll have the flexibility to transfer them to 18 airline and hotel partners.

Read the American Express Platinum Card editor's review.

The Final Verdict

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card may not be for you if you are an infrequent traveler, or if you don’t often stay with Hilton.

Remember too that you will have to be somewhat organized to take full advantage of the annual credits.

If you aren’t able to take full advantage of the airline incidental credit, or if you allow your weekend night certificate to expire, you may find that you are not getting full value from the Aspire card.

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is best for frequent travelers, especially those who often stay in Hilton hotels.

Although it comes with a $450 annual fee, savvy travelers can more than offset that cost through the benefits.

Look:

By the time you add up the $250 airline incidental credit, the $250 Hilton resort credit and the free weekend night award, you may have already gotten more in value than the annual fee.

With the instant top-tier Diamond status, the Aspire card may be perfect for travelers who enjoy traveling in style but don’t or can’t stay 75 nights a year with Hilton.