I currently have 24 credit cards and it’s becoming difficult to justify continuing to pay the annual fees on all of them as the costs continue to rise (ahem, The Platinum Card® from American Express).
As difficult as it is to continue paying the annual fee for my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, it’s a premium card that I haven’t really considered downgrading. The card’s benefits easily make it worth it to continue paying $450 per year.
Not only do you get the highest level of Hilton Diamond status, but there are other valuable benefits like a $250 annual Hilton resort credit, an annual airline credit of up to $250, and a free night when you open the account and every years on your account. card anniversary.
But even though I’ve had it for a few years, I haven’t quite maximized it yet. This year that will change.
Here are some of the top reasons why the card stays in my wallet.
The information for the Hilton Aspire card was independently collected by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been verified or provided by the card issuer.
My favorite benefit of the Hilton Aspire card is the Hilton Diamond status with no residency or spending requirements. Just by having the card, you get the highest level of Hilton status.
This means that you are eligible for suite upgrades, access to the executive lounge and bonus points, among other things. No other hotel chain offers top status just for maintaining its brand card. While Hilton isn’t exactly known for guaranteed upgrades or late check-outs, it does happen… especially if you continually ask for these perks at check-in (or in advance via email).
You retain Hilton Diamond status as long as you have the card.
Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter
Join over 700,000 readers for the latest news, in-depth guides and exclusive offers from the experts at TPG
Although I have never been proactively offered a suite upgrade, I have been upgraded to higher floors with better views at several properties. I’ve heard that Diamond members are treated better at Hilton hotels abroad, but I didn’t experience that during my limited stays at Hiltons in Europe.
Valuable welcome offer
The current Aspire Card welcome offer is 150,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of your card membership. Those 150,000 points are solid – worth $900 according to the latest TPG valuations.
Related reading: Why Hilton’s best credit card is making me change my hotel loyalty
Lucrative earning rates
The Aspire card offers great earning power for Hilton stays and other travel, although otherwise it’s not the best card for everyday spending. You deserve:
- 14 points per dollar spent at hotels in the Hilton portfolio
- 7 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com and on car rentals booked directly with select car rental companies
- 7 points per dollar spent on a select dinner
- 3 points per dollar spent on all other purchases
Just one example from my stay? A $13 charge at a DoubleTree in June netted me 182 Hilton Honors points, which TPG values at $1.09. At TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents per point, this corresponds to a return of 8.4%. Get that cash back card.
As a Hilton Diamond, you get a 100% points bonus (or 20 points per dollar at most Hilton hotels). That means you’ll earn a total of 34 points per dollar when you use the card. The value adds up quickly when you spend hundreds of dollars on Hilton hotels over the course of a year.
Related: Hilton Honors Guide
Annual free night certificate
Since I got my Aspire card, I can use my annual free nights at two nice hotels. This summer I used my free overnight stay at the charming Niepce Paris Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. That room would have cost me over $300 if I had paid cash.
Last year I spent a night at the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago in the fall. If I tried to book the same hotel this year it would cost me over $500. That’s a pretty valuable benefit.
$250 annual resort credit
Each year you’ll also receive $250 in credits toward certain expenses charged to your card at participating Hilton resorts. This was very difficult for me to use as there are only about 250 resorts that count towards using the credit.
This year, however, I got smart and prioritized using the credit. I booked a stay for later this year at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, knowing it will count. I have not used the credit in the last two years, so I would like to realize its full value.
That $250 can be used for dining, activities, spa treatments, room rates and taxes, but does not apply to prepayments or non-refundable rates, so book carefully.
$250 airline credit
I love getting a $250 incidental credit every year I own the card. I’ve already earned the entire amount this year the same way I did last year: by paying for in-cabin pet fees on American Airlines.
You must select an airline in advance and use the card for purchases. The credit applies only to incidentals, such as change or cancellation fees, checked baggage fees, in-cabin pet fees, seat upgrades or lounge passes. Like I said, I use it to ease the pain of paying for my dog Chilly Willy to fly with me.
Keeping the American Express Hilton Aspire card is a no-brainer for me this year. While I haven’t had many Hilton stays lately, the few I have were made more comfortable and rewarding just by holding the card. Complimentary Diamond status and a chance to earn as many as 34 Hilton Points per dollar spent at Hilton (and that’s before any additional promotions) is a pretty compelling value proposition.
There are also other benefits that I haven’t even mentioned. Your automatic Diamond status comes with free breakfast on select international stays (on-property credit at US properties), room upgrades, and possible early or late check-in. The card also comes with a $100 property credit at select higher-end Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotels.
The welcome bonus is great, of course, and the free night reward every time you renew is a great incentive to hold onto the card for the long haul. I know I will, even if I question the $450 annual fee every time it comes up.
To learn more, read our full Hilton Aspire Credit Card review.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, click here.