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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card Review

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Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Credit Card Review

Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. When you click on the links to products of our affiliate partners, we may be compensated.

For those who frequent Hilton Hotels, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card can be a great choice for a hotel credit card. It allows you to maximize your elite status in the Hilton Honors program. While the card is more expensive than other Hilton cobranded cards, it can be easily worth the extra cost if you use the many benefits and credit offered.

Hilton Honors points can be earned by you while you own the card and spend it on your expenses. Hilton Honors points can be used to get free nights at any Hilton property around the globe. You will also be able to earn rewards and receive many travel benefits such as access to airport lounges, Hilton Honors Diamond status, and much more.

While the annual fee for this card is high at $450 (see rates, fees), is it a good investment in a hotel credit? Review the Hilton Aspire Card. We analyze the welcome bonus, points-earning structure, and perks to help determine if this card is right for you.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card review

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

CNBC has collected information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. The card issuer has not provided any prior information.

  • Reward Points

    14X points per Dollar for eligible purchases made directly with a Hilton resort or hotel; 7X for eligible flights booked with airlines or amextravel.com; 7X for car rentals booked directly through select car rental companies; 3X for all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 on your first 3 months of cardmembership

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • APR – Regular

    Variable: 15.74%-24.74%

  • Transfer fees for balances

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit is required

Pros

  • $250 Hilton resort credit to be used for dining, spa and other expenses within the hotel property
  • $250 airline fee credit, for incidentals (checked baggage, inflight refreshments, flight change fees)
  • $100 property credit on a two-night minimum stay at Waldorf Astoria® Hotels & Resorts and Conrad® Hotels & Resorts
  • There are two weekend night awards: one for every account anniversary, and one for each $60,000 spent on eligible purchases within a calendar year.
  • Hilton Honors Diamond status with complimentary Hilton Honors

Cons

  • A high $450 annual fee
  • To be eligible for the weekend night award, you must spend $60,000 on eligible purchases within a calendar year.
  • There is no introductory 0% APR
  • Points earned over a year are estimated: 240,088
  • After 5 years, the estimated points earned: 600,438

The points you earn from the welcome bonus are included in your rewards totals

Welcome bonus

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers an outstanding welcome offer to help you get started with your points earning journey. Earn:

  • 150,000 points after spending $4,000 on the card during the first 3 months.

You will earn Hilton Honors points when you spend with the card.

Even if you were to spend exactly $4,000 in the first 3 months, at a minimum of 3 Hilton Honors points per $1 spent, that is an additional 12,000 points — giving you a total of 162,000 Hilton Honors points.

Hilton Honors points can be valued at just 0.5 cents per points. This means that the welcome offer and associated spending will give you $810 worth of Hilton property stays. But, the real value you get will depend on what you redeem your points for.

The $450 annual fee for the first year of card membership is not worth $800, which is roughly $800 in points. The true value of the card lies in its benefits.

Benefits and perks

First, the Hilton Aspire Card offers solid spending categories that allow you to keep earning Hilton Honors Points. Earn points as you spend.

  • For every $1 spent at Hilton hotels and Hilton properties, you earn 14X Hilton Honors Points
  • 7X Hilton Honors Points for every $1 spent in U.S. restaurants (incl. Order takeout or delivery and select travel expenses, such as flights booked directly with airlines or rental cars booked directly at their agencies.
  • For every $1 spent on eligible purchases, you earn 3x Hilton Honors points

The Hilton Aspire Card offers many benefits that will enhance your hotel experience and travel experience.

  • Hilton Honors Diamond statusHilton Diamond status is the highest level of elite status at the hotel chain. Simply by holding the card, you will be granted the status. You will receive a lot of benefits from this card, such as a 48-hour room guarantee and premium Wi-Fi. Executive lounge access at Hilton hotels is also available. Food and beverage credits are available.
  • Weekend night reward:You can get a weekend stay at any Hilton property when you have your Aspire Card. The reward will be available each year. You can also earn an additional night for spending $60,000 on your card within a calendar year if you’re a high spender. This perk can prove to be extremely valuable because you can use your certificate at any Hilton property around the world. You can also use this certificate at resorts like Waldorf Astoria Maldives. Rooms here can cost thousands of dollars per night.
  • Hilton resort statement credit for $250Hilton Resorts offers up to $250 in credit for eligible purchases
  • $250 credit for airline feesThe $250 airline fee credit covers incidental charges like checked bags, seat selection fees, and in-flight beverages that the airline charges to your card. The cardholder must choose one airline to be eligible for this credit.
  • $100 Property Credit: When you book a two night minimum stay at hiltonhonorsaspirecard.com, you will get up to $100 in credits for qualifying charges at participating Waldorf Astoria® Hotels & Resorts and Conrad® Hotels & Resorts.
  • Priority Pass Select Airport Lounge Access:Priority Pass allows unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges around the globe. You and up two guests can get this membership.
  • Rental car insurance:You will get coverage from your Hilton Aspire Card if you rent a vehicle and pay it off with your Hilton Aspire Card.
  • Free concierge service You can access this 24/7 service if you have any questions about booking travel or ordering flowers.

Select calculated how many points the average American can earn in a year when using their Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. We worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.

This budget covers six categories: grocery, gas, restaurant, and utility costs ($5,174), general purchases ($3,953), and utilities ($4,862). This is what an average consumer would make with this card.

  • Groceries: 15,522 Hilton Honors points
  • Gas: 6,654 Hilton Honors points
  • Dining out: 25,725 Hilton Honors points
  • Travel: 15,708 Hilton Honors Points (with the Aspire category, the 7X per dollar spent category is for flights booked through Amex Travel or directly with the airline, and for car rentals booked directly via car rental agencies.
  • Utilities: 14,586 Hilton Honors points
  • General purchases: 11,859 Hilton Honors points

This would give a cardholder 90.054 Hilton Honors Points in the first year. The 150,000 point welcome bonus will bring you 240.054 points. Cardholders could earn 600,000.270 Hilton Honors points over a five-year period. Cardholders may earn more (or less) hotel point depending on how much they spend each year.

How to redeem and earn Hilton Honors points

Earning Hilton Honors points

Hilton Honors points are earned in two ways: by staying at Hilton hotels, or spending on Hilton cobranded credit card.

All you have to do to earn Hilton Honors points for your Hilton stays is to attach your Hilton Honors numbers to your Hilton reservation, and then book directly with the hotel. You won’t be able to redeem your Hilton Honors status if you book hotel rooms through third-parties such as Expedia.

However, the number of hotel stays has decreased for many Americans due to the slowdown in leisure and business travel since the pandemic.

You can earn a Hilton Honors point hoard by earning a credit-card welcome bonus and then spending on a Hilton cobranded card, such as the Aspire. You don’t have to limit yourself to one Hilton credit card. You can have multiple Hilton credit cards and benefit from your Diamond status.

Here are some other Hilton cobranded credit card options if you are interested in this strategy:

  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: 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.
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 80,000 Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of card membership.
    Plus, you can earn 50,000 more Points after you spend an additional $4,000 on the Card (for a total of $5,000 in combined purchases) in the first 6 months of card membership.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: 130,000 Bonus Points After You Spend $2,000 on Hilton Honors Business Card Purchases in the First 3 Months of Card Membership
    You can also earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending a minimum of $10,000 on the Card within the first six months.

Hilton points can also be earned through the hotel’s partnership to Lyft. You can also transfer Amex membership rewards points directly to Hilton at a ratio of 1:2. This strategy is great because Amex credit cards allow cardholders to transfer Membership Rewards points directly to Hilton or other hotel and airline transfer partners.

Redeeming Hilton Honors points

Redeeming points is the best part of earning them.

Hilton boasts more than 6,500 properties in 119 different countries. These properties come at a range of prices and luxury levels. Conrad, DoubleTree and Hampton are some of the most well-known brands, as is Hilton Grand Vacations, Hilton Garden Inn, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad and DoubleTree.

Hilton Honors works on dynamic pricing. This means that award night prices will change as there is more demand. The price for the same room could go up from 40,000 to 70,000 points on Saturday nights. The room price is usually correlated with the amount of points that you pay. This is why it is important to book your hotel reservations earlier.

There are also a few things you should remember before redeeming your points.

  • Estimated value:Hilton Honors points have a value of 0.5 cents per Point, although there isn’t a confirmed value. However, many travelers who love to earn rewards for their travels have estimated it at 0.5 cents. While it’s not a bad idea to redeem your points for less than the stated value, it’s a good guideline to follow when redeeming your points. This is done by taking the total cash price of your stay and dividing it by the amount of points it would take to get it. This is a great redemption, if it’s more than 0.5 cents per Point
  • Fifth night free Hilton Honors Silver status allows you to get a fifth night for free when you book four nights consecutively using points. You will receive an automatic fifth night. This is a great way for you to increase the value of your points. It basically gives you a 20% discount on five-night stays.
  • Points + Money Option If you book a room with points, it is possible that you don’t have enough points to pay the total cost of the room. Hilton offers the option of paying cash for the balance. This is a great way to get enough points for a hotel room.

You need to earn a few points more to receive a free night. Here’s a tip

Hilton Honors can help you if you’re short on points for a hotel stay. They may give you a few more points if you request it. Your results could vary.

  • Transfer your points to loyalty programs for train and airline airlines: Hilton points can be transferred to various airline and train loyalty programs. The value that you’ll realize is very low. For every 10,000 Hilton Honors points, you will receive a modest 1,000 Delta SkyMiles. In almost all cases, Hilton Honors points can be used for Hilton night reservations.

Rates and charges

Comparison of cards

For those who love to stay at Hilton properties at least once a year, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card makes a great choice. Is it the right credit card for me?

Compare two other travel credit cards and compare their performance.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card vs. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card card is similar to the Hilton Aspire card, but targeted towards Marriott properties.

The Marriott Brilliant card charges a similar $450 annually (see rates, fees) and offers many benefits including: $300 Marriott credit, free nights up to 50,000 Bonvoy point and $100 property credit for more than a two-night stay at any Ritz-Carlton property or St. Regis property.

These benefits are similar to those offered by the Hilton Aspire Card. The Marriott card does not offer the same benefits as the Aspire, but it does have some additional benefits such as $100 credit for TSA PreCheck/Global entry and travel insurance.

Finally, the Aspire card’s welcome offer is a little different. Earn:

  • You can earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you use your new card to purchase $3,000 within the first three months
  • For eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, you can get up to $200 in statement credit

Although the Aspire loyalty program offers 75,000 points, it is only half the value of Aspire’s. However, each loyalty program is assessed differently.

Marriott Bonvoy uses an award chart to determine the cost of a hotel when you use points. Hilton Honors is dynamic and prices can fluctuate depending on demand.

While one isn’t necessarily better than the other but Marriott makes it easier to predict how many points you will require for a stay.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred®

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is known as one of the best travel credit cards available because of its transferable and easy-to-redeem rewards. The annual fee is $95 and there are many benefits, including travel insurance and broad spending options.

Earn points every time you use the card

  • 5X points for every dollar spent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • For every dollar spent on food, online grocery shopping and certain streaming services, you earn 3X points
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on any other travel purchase
  • 1X points for all other purchases

The card offers a very lucrative welcome offer. 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are available to cardholders who spend $4,000 within their first three months. Ultimate Rewards points can also be used to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to 14 airlines or three hotel loyalty programs. The 100,000 points can be converted to $1,250 for travel booked through Chase Travel portal.

Hilton is not included in the list of hotel partners. You can also consider the Sapphire Preferred if you’re not a loyal Hilton guest. This will give you more flexibility when it comes to your travel rewards.

Who is the Hilton Honors Aspire Card best for?

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card can be a great addition to anyone’s wallet that frequents Hilton Hotels or travels often.

The free weekend night certificate along with resort and airline credits will help you get a lot more than the $450 annual fees. Even the weekend certificate could be more valuable than the annual fee if you do it correctly.

You get added value from the points you earn by spending on the card. However, if you don’t have the ability to use at least some of these benefits, then the $450 annual fees may not be worth it.

If you’re a regular Hilton guest and want to speed up your journey towards Diamond status, the Aspire Card will provide you with the status benefits instantly. You don’t have 60 nights to get it.

Hilton offers several credit cards that are cobranded with different annual fees and benefits. It is important that you choose one that matches your travel habits.

Bottom line

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: This is a great hotel credit card that anyone who regularly visits Hilton hotels, or simply wants to earn more Hilton Honors point.

Aspire card holders get great value with the free access to airport lounges, Hilton Honors Diamond status, hotel credit, airline fees credits, and travel insurance.

You might want to consider multiple credit cards if you are looking to maximize your travel rewards.

FAQs

What is the value of 150k Hilton Points?

Hilton Honors points are worth $750 if valued at 0.5 cents per unit.

What can you use your Hilton Aspire airline credits?

You can use the Hilton Aspire airline credit to pay for checked bags fees, snacks and change fees.

How many Hilton credit card can you have?

The theory is that you can have all four Hilton credit card. You should keep in mind American Express’s 2/90 rule. This means that you can not be approved for more American Express cards than one within a 90-day span.

Our Methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best value, Select analyzed 234 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. Additional perks, application process and ease of redemption were all considered.

CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. CNBC Select’s data development team provided the most current and comprehensive consumer spending data based upon the 2019 Consumer Expenditure surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

The Esri data team has created a sample budget for retail spending of $22,126. The budget includes six categories: grocery ($5,174), gas (@2,218), dining out at $3,675 and travel ($2,244). Utilities ($4,862) is included. General purchases are ($3,953). General purchases include household supplies, clothing, personal care items, prescription drugs, vitamins, and other vehicle costs.

Select used this budget as a guide to calculate how much a consumer would save over the next year, two years, and five. Assuming that they were trying to maximize their rewards potential, earning all welcome bonuses and using the card to make all purchases, All estimates of rewards are net of the annual fee.

Although the five-year estimates that we included are based on the average American’s budget, your shopping habits may mean that you will earn a greater or lesser return.

For rates and fees for Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here

Click here to see the rates and fees associated with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Editor’s Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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