Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Review

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The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card has enough benefits to outweigh its premium annual fee, mainly for major Hilton hotel fans who take advantage of the perks and who want to earn free nights at Hilton properties.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Overall Rating
3.0
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $450
Rewards Earning Rate 14 points per $1 for eligible Hilton purchases. 7 points per $1 on eligible flight, car rental, and U.S. restaurant purchases. 3 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.7
for Fees
1.7
for Rewards
3.1
for Credit
2.2
Current Offer

Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Top Rated For

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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    Brand Loyalist

If you stay at Hilton properties often, want to earn reward nights and discounts on more stays, and you’re a big spender on other types of travel and on restaurants, this card can be an excellent tool. If you don’t already have a card in your wallet that comes with an airport lounge access benefit, the Hilton Aspire card can also fill that gap if that’s a luxe travel perk you’re interested in. 

The annual fee is high, but those who use the perks to improve their travel experiences and cut costs won’t notice its sting. If you just travel a few times a year and don’t want to pay a big fee, consider instead the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card, which still offers some lounge access but at a much lower fee. 

Pros
  • Automatic Hilton Honors Diamond Status

  • Get up to $600 back in annual statement credits

  • Priority Pass Select membership

  • Free weekend night rewards

Cons
  • High annual fee

  • No bonus points for grocery and gas purchases

  • Lower points valuation than some other hotel programs

Pros Explained

  • Automatic Hilton Honors Diamond Status: This highest level of Hilton Honors status gives you executive lounge access, premium Wi-Fi, room upgrades, and even more bonus points on top of those earned by using this card. 
  • Get up to $600 back in annual statement credits: You’ll get a $250 Hilton resort credit each year. Next, pick a qualifying airline and get $250 back in statement credits over the year for expenses such as checked bags and flight change fees. Lastly, if you book a two-night minimum stay at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts, you’ll get a $100 statement credit. 
  • Priority Pass Select membership: You and two guests get unlimited access to more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass with this complimentary perk, which has a value of at least $429. 
  • Free Weekend Night Rewards: Every year after you renew your card, you’ll get one Free Weekend Night Reward that can be redeemed for a standard, double-occupancy room at a Hilton property (you’ll just pay taxes and fees). If you spend $60,000 in a calendar year, you’ll get another free weekend night.

Cons Explained

  • High annual fee: While it’s not too difficult to get your return on investment for this card’s $450 annual fee, not everyone will. If you aren’t interested in the elite travel benefits, there are many other travel cards with lower or no annual fees that would be a better fit and lower cost. 
  • No bonus points for grocery and gas purchases: Other Hilton credit cards award extra points for grocery and gas purchases, but this one does not. While this isn’t a negative for those who spend the most on hotels and travel, it shows the card isn't made for those looking to maximize day-to-day purchases for travel later.
  • Lower points valuation than other hotel programs: It’s good that you can earn lots of Hilton points with this card, because Hilton Honors points are worth 0.45 cents each, based on our average valuation calculations. For perspective, other hotel program rewards are worth at least 1 cent each, on average.

Welcome Offer

Spend $4,000 on purchases within three months after opening this card and you’ll earn 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points.

While 150,000 is a big number, because Hilton Honors points have a lower average per-point value, this welcome offer is worth $675, according to our valuation of Honors points. Regardless, this is still a competitive premium travel card offer and should be enough to book at least two award nights at a Hilton hotel, based on our research. 

This welcome offer is not available to applicants who have or have previously had this card. The number of other American Express cards you’ve opened and closed before will also impact your eligibility. 

Earning Points & Rewards

Get 14 points per $1 spent on purchases made at a participating Hilton hotel or resort. Those points are on top of the points you get by automatically being a Hilton Honors Diamond Status Member with this card. 

Diamond members get 20 base points per $1 spent on Hilton purchases (10 points per $1 at Tru and Home2). Base points are those you earn from the Honors program, not from the credit card. The Diamond membership means if you book a $1,500 hotel stay using your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card, you’ll earn 51,000 points: 30,000 points for being a Diamond Status Hilton Honors Member plus 21,000 points by paying with this Amex card.

The Aspire card also lets you earn 7 points per $1 spent on the following: 

  • Flights booked directly with an airline or via amextravel.com 
  • Car rentals booked with 12 major rental car companies 
  • U.S. restaurant purchases 

All other purchases will earn you 3 points per $1.

It’s not easy to earn rewards on travel right now, so this card is offering extra points/miles on something many people are spending money on right now: groceries. See “Credit Card Deals Help You Earn and Use Travel Benefits During COVID-19” for more information about this limited-time offer. 

There’s no limit on the number of total points you can earn each year on the card. There are also no blackout dates and points don’t expire if your account remains active and in good standing.

Redeeming Rewards

Reward points return the most value when used for hotel reservations, which typically cost between 5,000 and 95,000 points per night. Standard and premium rooms can be booked using points, but the total point cost will vary based on seasonality, location, and room availability at the desired hotel. You can also book a hotel reservation with a combination of reward points and money in 1,000 point increments, starting at 5,000 points.

The Balance found the average value of Honors points is a meager 0.45 cents apiece, the lowest value among all the hotel loyalty programs we evaluate. Other major hotel rewards programs offer points worth at least 1 cent each. The low average value of Hilton Honors points, however, is somewhat mitigated with this card because you can earn so many points.

In addition, Hilton Honors points can be redeemed for the following: 

  • Experiences (i.e.concerts, sporting events, historic tours, travel excursions, and unique activities).
  • Hilton resort activities (i.e. dinners, spa treatments, and golf reservations) 
  • Shopping on Amazon.com
  • Rental cars with partner companies Alamo, Enterprise, or National 
  • Charity donations

You can transfer Hilton Honors points to six U.S. airlines (American Airlines, Delta, United, Frontier, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines), and to 32 international airlines but you’ll need an average of at least 8 Honors points to get 1 point in the transfer partner’s program. We wouldn’t recommend using your points this way.

How To Get The Most Out Of This Card

Spend $4,000 right away to secure the welcome offer bonus points. Use this card to pay for all things travel, big and small, and book reservations directly with participating hotels and airlines to earn the maximum number of points for each purchase, and to get the airline travel credit. Make sure you visit Priority Pass airport lounges when you fly, as that benefit alone nearly makes up for the high annual fee. 

To truly maximize this card’s value, only redeem your points for hotel stays. Use your free weekend night before the end of each year, as your bonus points carry over but those reward nights do not.

Excellent Perks 

Besides the statement credits, free weekend night rewards, Priority Pass membership, and Diamond Status upgrade, this card has the following standout benefits:

  • Baggage Insurance Plan: You’re covered for replacement costs up to $3,000 for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage when trip transportation was paid in full with this card. 
  • Insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay: Lost costs may be covered up to $10,000 per trip and $20,000 each year if your trip is interrupted or canceled. If your trip is delayed, you may be reimbursed for essential expenses like food and toiletries while in limbo for up to $500 per trip, twice per year.

Other Features 

  • Insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged purchases 
  • Extended warranties
  • Purchase return protection
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (secondary coverage)
  • Free two-day shipping on select online purchases via Shoprunner  

Customer Experience

J.D. Power ranked American Express No. 1 for customer satisfaction among 11 credit card issuers in its 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. 

American Express also offers a tool called MyCreditGuide, which contains your TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 and credit report, and will alert you to changes in the report. However, anyone can sign-up to use this feature.

Security Features 

If your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card has been lost or compromised, you can instantly lock your account via your online cardholder account. Lost or stolen cards will be replaced for free and the freeze will automatically lift after seven days unless you remove it first. 

Fees to Watch Out For

Frequent travelers will be pleased that they can use this card abroad without paying foreign transaction fees. Outside of the $450 annual fee, the Hilton Honors Aspire card has a typical line-up of fees. 

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CURRENT CARD
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
overall rating
3.0
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.74% - 24.74% variable
Annual Fee $450
Rewards Earning Rate 14 points per $1 for eligible Hilton purchases. 7 points per $1 on eligible flight, car rental, and U.S. restaurant purchases. 3 points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. American Express. "Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  2. Hilton. "Hilton Honors Terms & Conditions." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020

  3. J.D. Power. "Customers Losing Faith in Credit Card Issuers as COVID-19 Pandemic Lingers, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.

  4. American Express. "Important Information Regarding Rates, Fees, and Other Cost Information." Accessed Oct. 13, 2020.