Is the Hilton Aspire Amex card worth the annual fee? – The Points Guy

Despite its hefty $550 annual fee (see rates and fees), the rates and fees are well worth it thanks to its offering of Hilton Honors elite status, statement credits and impressive earning rates.

The most valuable benefit of the Hilton Aspire Amex is its offering of Hilton Honors Diamond status, which earns bonus points on hotel stays, free breakfast, room upgrades, and executive lounge access.

Today, we will dive into the specifics of the Hilton Aspire Amex and what makes it worth paying the annual fee.

The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Impressive welcome offer

Currently, the Hilton Aspire Amex is offering 180,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $6,000 in purchasing within the first six months of card membership. The offer ends Jan. 17.

THE POINTS GUY

The current welcome offer is the highest we have seen and an excellent time to apply for the card. TPG values Hilton Honors points at 0.6 cents each, and the welcome offer is worth $1,080.

Related: Choosing the best Hilton credit card

Strong earning rates

As Hilton loyalists, cardmembers are sure to see their Hilton Honors point balances skyrocket with impressive earning rates. The rates and fees offer 14 points per dollar on purchases for Hilton portfolio hotel stays. Charges include hotel stays and incidentals charged to the room bill and paid for using your Aspire card.

Cardmembers also earn 7 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with an airline or through AmexTravel.com, car rentals booked with specific car rental companies, and purchases at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery). All other purchases earn 3 points per dollar spent.

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As a card meant for Hilton loyalists, it offers a great earning rate when staying at Hilton properties. However, the card falls short for everyday purchases, netting just a 1.8% return — a traditional cash back card will get you better value on everyday purchases.

Elite status

The biggest factor in whether the Hilton Amex Aspire is worth it is elite status. Cardmembers receive complimentary Diamond status with Hilton, which TPG values at nearly $3,000.

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Diamond elite status offers 100% bonus points on all Hilton stays, so an extra 10 points per dollar, a remarkable return on a benefit provided to cardholders. Diamond elite members also receive complimentary upgrades on rooms, including suites, based on availability, along with breakfast or a food and beverage credit. Cardmembers also enjoy executive lounge access at applicable properties.

Based on the comprehensive benefits of Hilton Diamond elite status, the $550 annual fee (see rates and fees) may be worth paying for benefits that’ll elevate your hotel stay experience.

Related: How to maximize the Hilton Amex Aspire

Statement credits

Cardmembers receive up to $400 in statement credits each calendar year for eligible purchases at eligible Hilton resorts. This credit is split into two $200 statement credits, January to June and July to December. The statement credit will be applied toward dining, activities, spa treatments and, even better, room rates and taxes.

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Cardmembers also receive up to $200 in annual airline purchase statement credits, split into $50 each calendar quarter, for airfare purchased directly from an airline or through AmexTravel.com.

Additionally, cardmembers receive up to $100 Hilton property credit when booking at least a two-night paid stay at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad properties through HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard (or over the phone and quote booking code ZZAAP1).

Along with travel credits, the Aspire also provides a statement credit of up to $189 a year toward a Clear Plus membership. Clear is an expedited security program available at more than 50 U.S. airports, stadiums and large venues. If TSA PreCheck lines are long or closed, Clear members can use dedicated security lanes with their kiosks to clear airport security.

Related: 7 reasons to get the Hilton Amex Aspire

Other benefits

Hilton Amex Aspire cardmembers can receive up to three free night awards each year.

The first free night reward is given after opening an account and on the cardmember anniversary each year, with the ability to earn a second-night and third-night reward when spending $30,000 and $60,000 on the card in a calendar year, respectively.

Senior credit cards editor Matt Moffitt uses his free night rewards to stay at luxury properties when he visits New York City, a market with traditionally very high cash prices.

LUKE SHARRETT/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

The Aspire provides complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status after enrollment in the Emerald Club program (terms apply) and travel protections, including trip delay reimbursement*, trip cancellation, and interruption insurance*.

Cardmembers also receive cellphone protection for a maximum of $800 per claim in reimbursement for the repair or theft of a device when the wireless bill for the specific cellphone line is paid using the Aspire card. There’s a limit of two approved claims every 12 months, with a $50 deductible each time.

Enrollment is required for select benefits.

*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Bottom line

The Aspire deserves a place in your wallet if you’re a Hilton loyalist who frequently stays at Hilton portfolio properties. You’ll receive elite-status benefits, a high earning rate with Hilton and useful statement credits.

However, for those who stay at Hilton properties occasionally, the lower annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or a general travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred would be a better fit.

To learn more, read our full card review of the Hilton Amex Aspire.

For rates and fees and fees of the Hilton Amex Aspire, click here.

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