Why You Should Consider Applying For The Hilton Aspire Card Now

Filed Under: American Express, Hilton
The information and associated card details on this page for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by OMAAT and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review) is my favorite hotel credit card. The card has a steep $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees), but has perks that more than offset it, in my opinion.

Some people might read about the card and think “well, it sounds great, but I’m not traveling much right now, so I’ll hold off.” In this post, I wanted to lay out why I think the current circumstances are all the more reason to pick up this card sooner rather than later, even if you’re not traveling much right now.

The exceptional perks of the Hilton Aspire

The Hilton Aspire Card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 Hilton Honors points upon completing minimum spending. On top of that, the card offers the following noteworthy benefits:

  • Hilton Honors’ top tier Diamond status for as long as you have the card
  • A Hilton weekend night certificate, valid at properties costing up to 120,000 points per night
  • A $250 Hilton resort credit every cardmember year, which can be used towards any eligible purchase at a Hilton resort
  • A $250 airline fee credit every calendar year, which can be used towards select airline purchases
  • A Priority Pass membership, giving you access to 1,300+ lounges around the world

The Hilton resort credit for any eligible resort spending

Why it makes sense to get the Hilton Aspire now

Why am I suggesting that it could make sense to get the Hilton Aspire Card around this time, even if you’re not traveling much right now? There are two reasons:

Earn more flexible free night certificates

One of the perks that justifies the Hilton Aspire Card annual fee for me is the anniversary free night certificate the card offers. I consistently redeem this at hotels that would cost hundreds of dollars per night.

The catch is that ordinarily these certificates are only valid for 12 months, and are only valid for weekend stays. Currently, Hilton free night certificates have more flexibility that should add value for anyone who earns them:

  • Free night certificates issued in 2020 can be used for any night of the week and will be valid for 24 months
  • Free night certificates issued in 2021 can be used for any night of the week, and the expiration will be extended to December 31, 2022

This is a huge amount of flexibility that shouldn’t be undervalued. To me, the added expiration and ability to use the certificate any day of the week makes this perk significantly more worthwhile. As long as you think you’ll travel at all before the end of 2022, hopefully, you feel similarly.

The fact that these free night certificates are valid for so long also means it’ll be easier to earn multiple of them, and then use them for a back-to-back stay of more than one night.

Use your free night certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Get a $250 airline fee credit now, another in January

While most of the perks of the Hilton Aspire Card are based on the cardmember year, the exception is the airline fee credit, which is based on the calendar year. If you want to recoup as much value as quickly as possible, it can make sense to apply for cards with airline fee credits around the end of the year:

  • You can use your $250 airline fee credit now through December 31
  • Then as of January 1 you’ll have access to another $250 airline fee credit

Now, admittedly the challenge is that Amex’s airline fee credits are quite restrictive. However, I’ve consistently been able to maximize them pretty well. For example, at the beginning of the year I bought some American Airlines 500 mile stickers, and they were automatically reimbursed.

Everyone else might not have the same luck, but that was my experience.

Bottom line

The Hilton Aspire Card is my favorite hotel credit card. While signing up for a high annual fee hotel credit card during a time like this might seem counterintuitive, there are some real benefits to doing so.

The free night certificate is one of the most valuable benefits of this card, and the added validity and lack of day-of-week restrictions makes this perk much more valuable.

If you’re someone who is able to take advantage of the airline fee credit, then the benefit is that you can take advantage of a $250 credit now, and then another $250 credit come January.

On top of that there are all the other phenomenal perks of the card, ranging from Hilton Honors Diamond status, to a $250 resort credit, to a Priority Pass membership.

I imagine we’ll continue to see generosity around using card perks for a while, given how the landscape has changed.

If you’re in a position where you can get this card, I’d absolutely recommend doing so.

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees).

Comments
  1. I love this card but called in yesterday to see if they’re offering any non-travel benefits similar to what we’ve seen with some other premium high-fee cards, and they said no. I think that’s probably worth noting. For those who aren’t flying and aren’t staying at hotels right now or even for most of 2021, this is a card to downgrade/hold off on.

  2. I mean… Considering the free night can be worth more than the card and the certificates are good until 2022, I’d recommend to keep it.

  3. @lucky, i think there might be some error in the information you have provided about the weekend night certificates issued in 2020.

    you have mentioned – “Free night certificates issued in 2020 can be used for any night of the week, and will be valid for 24 months”

    I don’t see any information about that. My understanding is that any certificates issued before Aug 2020 are valid till Aug 2021 and NOT for 24 months.

    Can you point to any announcement that says its valid for 24 months ?

  4. Check the hotels where you plan to use the free night. Some have been playing games with standard reward night availability.

  5. @Max Amex allowed the resort credit to be used at restaurants this summer. Certainly there are no guarantees they will re-implement that policy, but they’ve shown a willingness to do so already and I would expect them to do so again if travel does not rebound in early 21.

  6. @Alex_77W United TravelBank. Google/Flyertalk it for instructions. My credits posted within 2-3 days of purchase date. TravelBank credits are valid for 5 years.

  7. Andrew and Brandon: My point was that the airline credit is not as lucrative as it sounds especially this year. Yes, it looks like I will take another flight in Dec but I hardly need any AA miles to add to my account and would have to switch the airline for UA credit (where I am Silver without flying). Perhaps, I will get more stickers for a companion flying (but my wife is also EXP) or find AA club selling bottled wine… Either way, the value of the airline credit is about $125 or so unless you fly UA. But even then Aspire is a great card I intend to keep for now.

  8. @lucky, thanks for the info. I’ve got two weekend night certs issued in 2020 (one on my spouse’s card and one on my card), these were issued in March 2020 and April 2020 respectively and for both the certs, the expire shows as Aug 31 2021.

    So it seems like *NOT* all free night certs issued in 2020 have a 24 month expiration.

  9. Wouldn’t recommend people rush out to get this. Certs are good only for weekends. Very few are travelling. Lounges are closed. Do people honestly think they will be able to redeem these certs when travel picks up again? Expect large numbers of people to be trying to redeem certs at premium properties all at the same time. It wasn’t necessarily easy to snag open space in the first place now with a surplus of these certs out in public circulation it will be that much harder. The airline credit is very limited.

  10. I think you book now for late next year. There is a ton of availability open for late 2021. Also, Alex, I wasn’t suggesting you would get the full value of the airline credit, but you definitely get a decent chunk. The resort credit and room certificate make this card an auto hold for me. Until they change the benefits, I will not be canceling.

  11. @Ben Might it be too late to get a free night certificate with 24-month validity since Amex appears to take 8 – 12 weeks from sign-up to issue the certificate, which means even a sign-up completed today would realistically get the free night certificate well after Dec 31, 2020?

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.