Our take: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers solid rewards rates, hundreds of dollars worth of annual benefits, and VIP treatment with the hotel program’s top elite status tier. That said, the card has lost some of its luster after an October 2023 revamp.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Intro Bonus

150,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual fee $450
Regular APR 20.99%–29.99% variable

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card Overview

Card type: Hotel rewards, Travel rewards

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a top-tier hotel credit card that gives frequent travelers good reasons to go all in on Hilton. The card offers not only a sizable welcome bonus and high rewards rates but also the rewards program’s top elite Diamond status benefits—something you won’t find with any other hotel card. 

Unlike credit cards from rival hotel programs, which limit the value of their free annual night reward, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card‘s free night reward can be used at just about any Hilton property worldwide, giving the perk significant potential value. What’s more, big spenders may be able to earn a second or even a third free night reward. The card also comes with up to $400 in Hilton Resort credits each year, split into two $200 semi-annual credits, and up to $200 in annual flight credits, broken up into four $50 quarterly credits.

That said, the card’s structure may make it difficult for some travelers to make the most of its impressive benefits.

Who is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card good for? 

Consider the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card if the card’s benefits structure aligns with your travel habits. In particular, the card can be a great choice for people who fly at least once a quarter and stay at Hilton resorts at least twice a year. 

It’s especially worth it if you want to take advantage of the Hilton Honors program’s most exclusive perks as a Diamond elite member. The card can also be great for big spenders, as the second and third free annual night rewards require $30,000 and $60,000 in annual spending respectively. 

Who shouldn’t get the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card? 

If you’re a casual traveler, and don’t have the means to stay at Hilton resorts with any regularity—there are only 270 around the world—then the card might not be a good fit. 

It may also not be worth it if you prefer another hotel chain, you’re not married to a single hotel brand, or you want more flexible rewards.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: How to earn rewards

The card offers 14X points per dollar on Hilton stays. As a Hilton Honors Diamond member, you’ll also get twice as many base points—up to 20 points per dollar instead of up to 10—on those purchases as regular members, for a staggering total of up to 34 points per dollar. 

On other spending, you’ll earn 7X points per dollar on airfare, car rentals and restaurants, and 3X points per dollar on other purchases. 

As a new cardholder, you’ll also earn 150,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

It’s important to note, however, that while the card makes it easy to rack up a ton of points fast, it also requires a lot of points to book Hilton stays. While the minimum nightly rate is 5,000 points, you can often expect to spend 40,000 points or more for a single night. 

How to redeem Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card rewards 

As with other hotel credit cards, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card doesn’t offer as much flexibility with your rewards as general travel cards. You can, however, pool your points with up to 10nine friends and family members, which can come in handy for group trips. 

Here’s a quick summary of how you can use your hard-earned points.

Reward nights

Arguably, the best way to redeem Hilton Honors points is for free stays at Hilton hotels and resorts. Fortunately, there are more than 7,000 properties across 19 brands around the world from which you can choose.

That said, the value of your points will vary depending on the details of your stay. One night in a standard room costs between 5,000 and 95,000 points, but you’ll pay more for upgraded rooms and special accommodations. 

If you’re planning a longer trip, note that your fifth night is free when you pay with points.

Other redemption options

If you don’t have enough points to book a free stay or you’re not planning to travel anytime soon, you may also consider redeeming your points in other ways. Options include:

Redemption option Value per point
Shop on Amazon 0.2 cents
Ride with Lyft 0.22 cents
Book a rental car with Alamo, Enterprise and National 0.21 cents
Pay for event tickets with Ticketmaster 0.2 cents
Donate your points 0.28 cents

You can also transfer your Hilton points to several different domestic and international airlines. However, the conversation rate isn’t in your favor. If you want to transfer to Delta, for instance, you’ll need to move 10,000 Hilton Honors points to get 1,000 Delta SkyMiles.

Finally, if you have a lot of points to spare, you could bid against other Hilton Honors members for an opportunity to attend special events, such as the Grammys, or enjoy a VIP experience, such as a spa treatment at select resorts and special dining options.

Hilton Honors Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card rates and fees

  • Annual fee: $450
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Purchase APR: 20.99%–29.99% variable

Additional benefits

  • Complimentary Diamond status: Hilton’s top elite tier, Diamond status offers all the benefits of the lower tiers plus space-available room upgrades, executive lounge access, premium Wi-Fi, status gifting, and more.
  • CLEAR Plus credit: Each year, you’ll get a $189 credit when you use your card to pay for a CLEAR Plus membership, which can expedite the airport security screening process at select airports. Note, however, that it does not include TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.
  • Hilton on-property credit: When you stay at participating Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts properties for at least two nights, you’ll get up to $100 in credits for qualifying on-property charges.
  • National Car Rental status: You’ll get complimentary Emerald Club Executive status with National, which comes with perks like full-size cars at mid-size rates, guaranteed upgrades on full-size through luxury rentals, and more.
  • Baggage insurance: You can get up to $3,000 in coverage for lost, damaged or stolen baggage.
  • Trip delay insurance: If your round-trip travel is delayed by six hours or more, you can get up to $500 in reimbursements for eligible expenses, such as food and accommodations.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If your round-trip travel is interrupted or canceled due to covered reasons, such as an illness, injury or death, you can get up to $10,000 in coverage for eligible non-refundable expenses.
  • Purchase protection: When you use the card to purchase eligible items, you’ll get up to $10,000 in coverage per claim in the event that the item is accidentally damaged, lost or stolen within 90 days from the purchase date.
  • Return protection: If a merchant doesn’t allow you to return an eligible item you purchased with your card within 90 days of purchase, you’ll have up to $300 per item in coverage through your card.

Credit cards similar to Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is packed with value, but its high cost makes it less appealing for anything but die-hard Hilton loyalists. As such, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare several cards to determine which one is best suited for your travel habits. Here are a couple to consider.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card vs. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is a toned-down version of the Aspire Card and can be a better choice for casual Hilton fans, with an easier to stomach $150 annual fee. It also offers slightly less impressive rewards rates, giving you 12X Hilton Honors bonus points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio, 6X points for each dollar of purchases on your card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets, and at U.S. gas stations, 4X points for each dollar on U.S. online retail purchases, and 3X points for all other eligible purchases on your card. It also offers a similar welcome bonus, giving you 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in your first 6 months of card membership.

You’ll also get Gold elite status—which is one tier lower than Diamond—but you can earn Diamond status with $40,000 in annual spend. You can also enjoy up to $200 in annual credits in $50 quarterly increments on Hilton purchases at all participating properties instead of just resorts. Note, however, that you’ll need to spend at least $15,000 in a calendar year to earn an annual free night reward. That said, the card’s $150 annual fee is much easier to stomach.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card vs. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

If you’re looking for more flexibility, consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which allows you to use your rewards for just about any kind of travel expense, not just one hotel brand. You can book your travel using miles directly through the Capital One Travel portal or book on your own and request a statement credit within 90 days of making the purchase. You can also transfer your Capital One miles, typically at a 1 to 1 ratio to Capital One’s travel loyalty transfer partners, which often yields greater value for your rewards.

The card offers 75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening—that’s worth $750 in travel. You’ll also earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2x miles on every purchase. Other perks that come with the card’s $95 annual fee include Hertz Five Star elite status and an application fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA membership. That said, you won’t get elite status with any hotel rewards programs.

Is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card right for you?

If you travel frequently and prefer to stay at Hilton properties, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card should be on your radar. If you aren’t sure about the annual fee, take a look at your travel and spending habits over the last year or two to get an idea of how easy it’ll be to maximize the card’s perks. 

If you’re not sure about whether you can get enough value back to justify the card’s cost, take your time to research and compare other options to find the best card for you.

Frequently asked questions

What credit score do you need for the Hilton Honors Aspire card?

American Express doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score requirement, but like most premium travel credit cards, the card is generally marketed to people with good credit or better. That typically means a FICO Score of 670 or higher, but the higher your score is, the better your odds of approval will be.

Fortunately, Amex’s “apply with confidence” feature allows you to see if you’re approved for the card without requiring a hard credit check.

What is the credit limit on a Hilton Honors American Express card?

Unfortunately, American Express doesn’t provide this information publicly. The card issuer will consider several factors, including your credit score, credit history, income, available credit on other Amex credit cards, and more, to determine your card’s limit. 

How can I get Hilton Diamond status for free?

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with complimentary Diamond status, but because the card charges a $450 annual fee, it’s hard to argue that as a truly free perk. 

Another way to earn Hilton Diamond status is to rack up 60 nights, 30 stays or 120,000 base points. But unless an employer is covering the cost of those stays, that won’t be free either.

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Fortune Recommends™ .

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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