American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card Review

by joeheg

American Express manages the portfolio of Hilton Honors co-branded cards. They have diverse options ranging from the Hilton Honors Card with no annual fee to the top-tier Hilton Aspire card with a $450 annual fee.

If you decide that you want to sign up for the Hilton Aspire card or any of the Hilton credit cards (or any AMEX card, for that matter), we’d appreciate it if you use our link. We receive a bonus for each referral, which helps us keep Your Mileage May Vary HQ going strong.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

a credit card with a blue and red background

Annual Fee

$550 Annual Fee

Sign Up Bonus

The current sign-up bonus for the Hilton Aspire AMEX card is 150,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months of having the card.

Spending Categories

When spending on the card, you earn points in the Hilton Honors program as follows:

  • 14 points per $1 spent at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 7 points per $1 spent on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or
    • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases

If you’re interested in earning Hilton points, this is the card for you. Figure that Hilton points are worth at least 0.5 cents each. For all your spending, you’re earning 1.5 cents per dollar. Now, you can earn up to 2 cents per dollar with a cashback card, so you have to decide if you want to earn Hilton points or cash.

What makes things interesting is Hilton members earn 10 points per dollar at Hilton properties. Aspire cardholders automatically receive Hilton Diamond status and earn a 100% bonus on base points. When you add to that the 14 points per dollar earned for using the Aspire card, you’re earning 34 Honors points per dollar spent at Hilton Hotels. Even if points are worth 0.5 cents each, that’s a 17% return.

Card Benefits

The Hilton Aspire AMEX also has many valuable benefits.

  • As mentioned before, AMEX Aspire cardholders are granted immediate Hilton Honors Diamond status, which includes a $10-$25 food & beverage credit (or free breakfast outside the US) and lounge access.
  • Cardholders get a free night reward upon signing up and every year upon renewal. You’ll receive an additional free night when you spend $30,000 and $60,000 on the card in a calendar year. Some Hilton hotels are excluded from this benefit.
  • You’ll receive an annual $189 Clear Plus credit. This will cover the cost of Clear for one person if you’re paying full price. However, you should never pay full price as almost anyone is eligible for some discount.
  • Cardholders receive a $200 semi-annual statement credit for eligible expenses at Hilton Resorts. Note: this benefit only works at properties designated as resorts, not all Hilton hotels.
  • The Aspire card provides a $200 annual flight credit. Each quarter, cardholders can receive a $50 statement credit for airfare booked directly through an airline or with AMEX Travel.
  • When booking a two-night stay or more at a Waldorf Astoria or Conrad hotel, you can receive a $100 on-property credit when booking through the Aspire card website link.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

Ways to use Hilton Honors points

The points you earn with the signup bonus and spending on the card are deposited into your Hilton Honors account. From there, you can use the points to book hotel rooms. Knowing the actual value of Honors points is difficult because Hilton no longer publishes an award chart.

The number of points needed for a room can vary depending on the cash price of the room on any given day.

For example, I needed a room for the night in Tampa after seeing a concert. Cash prices for hotels cost over $250 a night, but I was able to find a Hampton Inn for 40,000 Hilton points. In that example, I got 0.625 cents per point value for an Honors point.

There are other uses for Honors points, such as booking “experiences” like concerts or tours. These may be a good value and may not be available to book on your own, so make sure to check out if it’s a good value. Another option that’s not a good value is using your points to pay for things on

Finally, I’d like to mention that the Hilton Honors program is notorious for hackers breaking into accounts and siphoning off points. There seems to be no foolproof way to protect your account but make sure your Hilton account has a strong password that you do not use for any other website.

Final Thoughts

If you think the Hilton Honors Aspire AMEX card is right for you, here’s our referral link. 

I gave this card a good look because it provides automatic Diamond status. I’m already a Gold member, so I get most of the same benefits and only earn 20% less of a bonus on points during stays (Diamond guests get a 100% bonus, Gold members get an 80% bonus)

The 150,000 points sign-up bonus is large and worth at least $750. However, you do need to pay a $550 annual fee.

As with any “premium” credit card, its value depends on if you’re going to take advantage of the benefits and credits offered. With the Hilton Aspire card, this means knowing how much value you can get from the free weekend night certificate, making sure you stay at a Hilton resort during the year to use the $400 credit, figuring out how you would be able to use the airfare credit and if you need the $189 Clear Plus credit.

You also earn more Hilton Honors points with this card than any other option on paid Hilton stays, but the value of that benefit depends on how much money you spend in a year at Hilton-branded properties.

I’ve made my decision. Is the card right for you? Your Mileage May Vary.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Carl WV September 17, 2019 - 9:29 pm

I have the Aspire and figure I’ll declare Frontier as my airline next year. It should be easy to use the $250 with them.

Carl WV January 27, 2021 - 7:02 pm

OUCH. Famous last words. Wasn’t anticipating COVID-19 at the time. Not that picking another airline would have made a difference,

joeheg January 27, 2021 - 9:23 pm

No judgment on 2019 comments here.


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