Is The Hilton Aspire Worth The Annual Fee
For a long time, I was focused on;getting there that is, on airline credit cards that offered a large number of miles as an initial welcome bonus.
Once I got there, it was all about experiencing the destination, being out in the world. If the stranger with whom I shared a hostel room was a horrible snorer, that was a story worth telling. If the hotel room my husband and I booked for $35 a night smelled like mildew, well, that was to be expected. I could always take a nap in the park if I didnt get enough sleep the night before.
With age comes wisdom . Getting smart means getting the right hotel card, which is why the Amex Hilton Aspire;is so appealing. Yes, there is a $450 annual fee with this card , which might initially be a bit intimidating. But cards with higher annual fees is this offer such amazing benefits . My two questions about credit cards are always:
- How quickly will I recoup that annual fee?
- Is it worth keeping the card year after year?
The quick answer on the Amex Hilton Aspire card is YES. Heres why:
Who Is This Card For
This card works for you if youve just become a Hilton Honors member but havent racked up enough stays to achieve elite status. Or, if youre not quite ready to take on a card with an annual fee but still want some perks and benefits, consider this Hilton-branded credit card.
There are better options for loyal Hilton customers who stay at Hilton properties constantly throughout the year. Still, the Hilton Honors Amex does offer an entry point into the Hilton Honors family of credit cards.
Related: Choosing the best Hilton credit card for you
The Conrad Maldives For $380 Per Night
While the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is no doubt the new it Hilton hotel, theres still potentially some value in staying at the Conrad Maldives. At almost all properties in the Maldives, base rooms are over land, while only premium rooms are overwater villas, which is an experience a lot of people want to have.
What makes the Conrad Maldives potentially worthwhile is that they actually let you redeem points at the standard rate for either a land or overwater villa.
This hotel costs 95,000 points per night, so in five-night increments will cost 76,000 Honors points per night. At the rate of 0.5 cents per point, thats like buying $380 per night.
Alternatively, the cash rate would be $6,560 for the same stay.
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Hilton Aspire Card Welcome Bonus
Weve seen different offers for this card so youll want to apply for one of the strongest offers if you can time it right.
The initial offer for the Aspire was for 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months but that offer soon increased to 150,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
150,000 points will set you up to cover a couple of nights at a premium Hilton brands like the Waldorf or Conrad.
The beauty is that this card also comes with a free weekend night, so you could always combine the points with your certificate to cover about two or three nights at a great hotel. Of course, you could also stretch these points at a lower tier hotel for several nights.
Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. Its free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!
Earning And Redeeming Rewards
Consumers looking for a card that helps them rack up rewards on regular spending will be happy to see how relevant the bonus categories are with the Hilton Honors American Express Card. Redeeming rewards for free stays can also be a fruitful endeavor, which is especially true if you plan to stay for five nights or longer.
Once you sign up for the Hilton Honors American Express Card, youll get the chance to earn 7X points;for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio and 5X points for each dollar on U.S. supermarket, U.S. gas station and U.S. restaurant purchases. Youll also earn a flat 3X points per dollar on all non-bonus spending, which is a higher rewards rate than many hotel cards offer on regular purchases.
When it comes to redeeming points earned in the Hilton Honors program, the most popular redemption option is free hotel nights. Reward stays start at 5,000 points and increase in 1,000-point increments, although a standard night in a premium hotel like the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island will set you back at least 95,000 points. However, keep in mind that, if youre a Silver elite member or better, your 5th night is free when you book at least five consecutive nights with points.
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Should You Get The Hilton Honors American Express Card
If youre someone who wants to earn Hilton points but youre averse to annual fees, the Hilton Amex Card may be what you need. You can earn a generous welcome bonus, and the excellent rewards rate can help you rack up more points quickly. Youll even get automatic Silver elite status and the ability to reach Gold status when you spend $20,000 on your card within a calendar year.
That being said, it always makes sense to compare multiple credit cards before you pick a new one. You may want to consider other hotel programs with more valuable loyalty points like Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt. Even if youre obsessed with Hilton, getting a credit card thats part of Amexs Membership Rewards program can let you transfer points to Hilton only when you really need them.
But dont forget that up to 130,000 bonus points are currently available to new card members on the Hilton Honors American Express Card. So if you want to get your Hilton balance off to a flying start by scoring a welcome bonus on a card with no annual fee, this is a card that might be worth a good look.
How To Maximize Your Rewards
The first step in maximizing rewards with this card is spending the $2,000 minimum required to earn the 150,000 introductory bonus points. You’d need to charge at least $585 per month for the first three months to hit that target, which you could do through a combination of charging travel and your everyday spending, such as a weekly grocery shopping trip.;
The next best way to maximize rewards is to book hotel stays with Hilton and use this card to pay. The amount of rewards you can earn and what those points end up being worth will vary, based on how much you spend.;
For example, assume that you want to book a three-night stay at a Hilton property. Assuming the minimum number of points required to book is 5,000 per night, you would need 15,000 points total. To acquire that number of points quickly, you’d need to charge at least $1,250 in Hilton purchases.;
If you want to transfer points to an eligible airline, focus on those you have frequent flyer membership status with. That way, you can use your points to supplement any miles you’ve already earned toward a flight.
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Is The Hilton Honors American Express Card Right For You
The Hilton Honors American Express Card doesn’t offer the richest Hilton benefits around. But it’s an excellent option for travelers who want more Hilton perks without having to pay an annual fee.
To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, see this page.To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page.All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.
Hilton Diamond Status Match
Hilton has run a status match promotion for several years where you can match your elite status with your status with another chain. Currently, you can match either Hilton Gold or Hilton Diamond status at Hilton’s dedicated status match page. Qualifying programs include Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards Club, World of Hyatt and Choice Privileges, among others.
The status match grants you Hilton Gold status for a period of 90 days. To keep the status, you must meet certain qualifications within that time period. If you stay 10 nights within the 90 days, you’ll keep Gold. If you manage to accrue 18 nights during the 90 days, you’ll be upgraded to Hilton Diamond status all the way through March 31, 2022.
Here are answers to some of the most often-asked questions on Hilton Diamond benefits.
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Benefits That Make Hilton Aspire Card Worth It
- Ben Schlappig
As I often say, I find hotel credit cards to be quite underrated. These cards can be worth holding onto even if you dont intend to spend a lot of money on them.
For example, Ive written about how the World of Hyatt Credit Card is great the card has a $95 annual fee, and I think the Category 1-4 free night certificate offered by the card more than justifies the annual fee in and of itself.
But theres one even more premium hotel credit card that I find to be at least as valuable. Ive had this card for a few years now, and have consistently gotten outsized value from it. Specifically, Im talking about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card .
The card has a $450 annual fee, which is on the high side for a hotel credit card, though this is a card thats ridiculously rewarding.
The Hilton Aspire Card is offering a welcome bonus right now of 150,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $4,000 within the first three months, though what makes this card so worthwhile is the long-term benefits it offers. In no particular order, Id say the below four benefits more than justify the annual fee on the card.
In this post:
% Bonus Points On Stays
Hilton Diamond members earn a 100% bonus on base points earned. Regular Hilton Honors members earn 10 base points per dollar . The 100% Diamond bonus gives you a total of 20 points per dollar spent. This is before any promotional bonuses or credit card earning, which will increase the return on your stays even more.
Valuing Hilton points at 0.5 cent each, this is a return of at least 10% on every stay.
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Why Its Best For Business Travel
The Hilton Honors Business Card lets you apply with your business name and Employer Identification Number , although you can also apply as a sole proprietor using your Social Security number. You have the potential to earn a sizable welcome bonus when you do, as well as a high rate of rewards on eligible eligible paid Hilton stays and 6x points in a broad range of categories.
Automatic Gold status is another cardholder perk, and that goes along with the 10 free passes you receive for Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide. The $95 annual fee on this card is very reasonable for a business credit card, and you wont pay foreign transaction fees when you travel for business abroad.
As a final perk, youll receive a free weekend night with this card when you spend $15,000 within a calendar year, as well as another free weekend night when you spend $60,000 on your card within a calendar year.
Cards That Offer Hilton Benefits
The other personal cobranded Hilton credit cards the Hilton Honors American Express Card and the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express are certainly competitors of the Hilton Surpass. The Hilton Honors American Express Card offers weaker benefits and lesser earning rates, but it charges no annual fee .
Meanwhile, the Hilton Aspire Card has a $450 annual fee but offers the following benefits:
|$89, waived for the first year||Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.||10x points at IHG properties
2x points at gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores
1x points on everything else
|Anniversary night after each account anniversary ; Platinum Elite status; fourth night reward; save 20% on IHG points purchases with your card; a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years|
Finally, if you dont want your card to lock you into a single program, you may be better off with the $95 annual fee Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred with a 100,000-point bonus.
The Sapphire Preferreds sign-up bonus is 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You can use this bonus in many ways, including transferring to Hyatt, ;or IHG for hotel stays. Plus, youll earn 5x points on all travel and 3x points on dining purchases.
Related:;Should the Chase Sapphire Preferred be your next card?
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Is The Hilton Honors American Express Card Worth Applying For
Earning bonus points from a welcome offer on a credit card with no annual fee is never a bad deal. However, there are some considerations for determining whether this Hilton Honors American Express Card is worth getting, including the fact that this card will take up a 5/24 slot meaning a chance to earn welcome bonuses on Chase branded credit cards or if you value the additional benefits that come with a premium co-branded Hilton Honors credit card.
The bottom line is that this card is worth getting if youre not a Hilton Honors loyalist but periodically stay at Hilton properties. With this card, youll be ready to rack up extra points earnings when you stay with Hilton without paying a fee every year. If you already stay at Hiltons regularly, or already have Silver status, consider one of their fee-based cards for elevated perks.
All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.
Automatic Hilton Honors Diamond Elite Status
Diamond status is the highest level within the Hilton Honors loyalty program, and its automatically bestowed to all Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card cardholders. Otherwise, you’d need to stay 60 nights per year at Hilton properties to earn this elite status . Terms apply.
Its tough to put a dollar figure on the value of Hilton Diamond status, but it becomes increasingly more valuable the more you travel. Benefits include a welcome gift at check-in, daily complimentary breakfast, executive lounge access and upgrades to suites when available.
Plus, you earn and save more for every stay. You’ll earn 100% bonus points on paid stays, and if youre booking on points, youre rewarded for longer award stays with your fifth night free.
Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California. Photo courtesy of Hilton
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The Crown Jewel: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a great premium hotel credit card available on the market. Of the four cards, this one has the most Hilton and air travel benefits. While most premium travel rewards Soc 2 cards tilt toward better air travel rewards, this is a good option if you prefer hotel rewards.
While the annual fee is $450 , this is in-line with other premium travel credit cards. If you can use the additional card benefits, its well worth the cost.
New cardholders can also earn a welcome offer bonus of 150,000 Hilton Honors points! You only have to spend $4,000 in the first three months. This bonus is worth up to 30 free nights .
Earn Bonus Hilton Points On Travel And Dining Purchases
With the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, youll earn bonus Hilton points on both travel and everyday purchases: 14X Hilton Honors Bonus Points per $1 of eligible purchases on your Card directly with a participating Hilton hotel or resort; 7X for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants; 3X for other purchases on your card.
The most lucrative earnings rate is on Hilton purchases, as youll earn 20 Hilton points per dollar with the cards complimentary Diamond status. This is a whopping total of 34X Hilton points. Given that we value Hilton points at $0.005 each, this card’s rewards rate is anywhere between 1.5% and 17%. Since the rewards rate changes drastically based on the purchase, its wise to understand the bonus categories and when to leverage this card.
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How Does The Hilton Honors Amex Compare To Other Hilton Honors Cards
The Hilton Honors American Express Card is the only Hilton credit card with no annual fee, but with that perk comes with less value overall. The other two consumer options include the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
Both of the other cards charge annual fees with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card charging $450 but also offer bigger welcome offers and more valuable benefits, like statement credits, Priority Pass airport lounge access, higher rewards on Hilton purchases, and complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status. Take the time to compare each to determine which one will give you the best net value overall.