4 Benefits That Make Hilton Aspire Card Worth It

Filed Under: Credit Cards, Hilton
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As I often say, I find hotel credit cards to be quite underrated. More so than just about any other cards, hotel credit cards can be worth holding onto just for the benefits they offer.

For example, I’ve written about how the World Of Hyatt Credit Card (review) 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 there’s one even more premium hotel credit card that I find to be at least as valuable. I’ve had this card for a couple of years now, and have consistently gotten outsized value from it. Specifically, I’m talking about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

The card has a $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees), which is on the high side for a hotel credit card, though this is a card that’s 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.

I’d say the below four benefits more than justify the annual fee on the card. I know a lot of people may not be thinking of hotel credit cards right now, but there are some compelling reasons to get the card right now, while travel is down, thanks to the limited time perks Amex is offering on many cards.

Hilton Honors Diamond status

Just for having the Aspire Card you receive Hilton Honors Diamond status. That’s valid for as long as you keep the card, and this is Hilton’s top tier hotel status. That’s right, you get top tier status just for having a credit card.

This gets you bonus points, breakfast or club lounge access, room upgrades subject to availability, and more. While I don’t consider Hilton Diamond to be the most valuable top tier status, getting it just for having the card is a phenomenal deal, especially as Hilton has a huge global footprint.

I’ve been especially impressed by how Hilton has been growing their luxury footprint, with more Conrad and Waldorf Astoria properties opening around the globe.


Receive complimentary breakfast with Honors Diamond status

Annual weekend night reward

With the Aspire Card you receive an annual free weekend night reward your first year and every subsequent year. This can be redeemed at virtually any Hilton Honors property in the world where there’s a standard room available on a weekend night (here’s the small list of excluded properties)

Hilton properties retail for up to 120,000 points per night, so you could obviously get a ton of value out of this.

To give an example, Ford and I both have this card, so several months back we used our certificates at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills for back-to-back nights, where a paid room would have cost over $700 per night. That’s an amazing value.

We used our weekend certificates at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

This year we were going to use them for two nights at the Conrad Osaka, where the nightly rate would have been over $600. Unfortunately we had to cancel that trip.

There are two more reasons to get this card now:

  • New weekend night rewards issued between May 1 and December 31, 2020, are valid for any night of the week, and not just weekends
  • New weekend night rewards issued between May 1 and December 31, 2020, are valid for 24 months, rather than for 12 months

Even though you may not be traveling right now, you’ll potentially get more value out of your weekend night reward by getting the card now.

$250 annual Hilton resort credit

Every cardmember year you receive up to $250 in statement credits for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton resorts using your Aspire Card. See this link to find all participating resorts.

What’s great is that virtually any spending at these hotels should qualify, regardless of whether we’re talking about the room rate, incidentals, dining, etc. So as long as you spend just $250 per year on the card at Hilton resorts, you should be able to make full use of this benefit.

You could even redeem your anniversary free night certificate at a top Conrad or Waldorf Astoria resort and then use the $250 to get massages, a nice dinner, etc. For example, when we stayed at the Conrad Bora Bora on points, we used the credit to cover some of the incidentals.

It can take 8-12 weeks for credits to be posted.

There’s another reason to pick up this card now. In June through August 2020, the $250 resort credit can be used towards eligible purchases at US restaurants, including takeout and delivery. For many people that should basically be like money in your pocket.


Use your resort credit at the Conrad Bora Bora

$250 annual airline fee credit

The Aspire Card offers a $250 airline fee credit every calendar year. You need to designate an airline, and then eligible fees will automatically be reimbursed. Technically these post within four weeks of an eligible purchase, though in practice they typically post much faster than that.

This works very similarly to the benefit on the Amex Platinum Card.

The terms state the following regarding what purchases aren’t eligible:

Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.


Your annual airline credit can save you money on fees with major US airlines

Bottom line

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in many ways is too good to be true, and I’ve gotten so much value out of the card. For a $450 annual fee you’re getting an annual free weekend night, a $250 airline fee credit, a $250 Hilton resort credit, and top tier Hilton Diamond status.

Personally I get more than $450 of value out of the free night certificate alone, so as far as I’m concerned the rest of the benefits are just the icing on the cake.

And I’m not even talking about all of the benefits of the card, as the Hilton Aspire also offers a Priority Pass membership, access to Amex Offers, and more. See this post for more details on how all of the benefits of the card work, and see this post for a detailed review of the Hilton Aspire Card.

Lastly, there has never been a better time to pick up this card, when you consider that through August the $250 resort credit can be used for US restaurants, and the annual weekend night reward issued in 2020 is valid for 24 months and can be used for weekdays as well.

Anyone else love the Hilton Aspire Card as much as I do?

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).

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Comments
  1. Don’t need to convince me lol! I want this card really bad haha. Next in line after I get out of Amex 2/90 detention.

  2. Personally, the $250 resort credit, free weekend night, and free breakfast cinch this card for me! The 2nd perk must be worth at least $200, so the card is basically free! And the 34pt/$ return rate is not bad either (20pt for diamon, 14 for this card).

  3. Hey Ben, this looks great. Does already having the Hilton AMEX Ascend card affect the ability to get this one?

  4. Lucky,

    Assume a person already has the Ascend and SPG Personal card, and that person only apply for one more credit card. What’s the better choice with the current bonuses – SPG Luxury (assume 125,000 points) or Hilton Aspire? Even thought he Luxury welcome bonus is better, it seems the Aspire is the card worth getting.

  5. @ Anthony — Indeed the SPG Luxury Card has a better bonus, but I do think the Aspire is more worthwhile long term, so that would be my pick.

  6. The free night is what puts it over the top for me. Can go yearly to the Waldorf Boca Beach Club and that is at least $800/night or in that neighborhood plus $250 and if staying 2 nights an additional $100 (for Conrad and Waldorf only). The airline credit I’m sure is good for those heavy travelers, but baggage fees and on boards drinks, internet fees are what it basically appears to cover and I never have extra baggage fees.

    I know Hilton has been “panned” for giving away their elite status on a card, but it’s a smart corporate move to get people stay at their resorts that travel, but not enough thru stays, nights or dollars spent to qualify for elite status.

  7. I went through the application process and got the pop-up window saying I am not eligible for the Aspire. I had the Ascend previously. I’ve never had the Aspire. My FICO is 820. I currently have 2 personal Amex cards + 1 SPG business + am the authorized user on an Amex Plat.

    Any ideas why I do not qualify?

  8. Would you be able to use the $250 resort fee by walking into your nearest Hilton resort and purchase $250 worth of Hilton GC’s?

  9. @Lucky

    out of curiosity, how many chase cards do you currently have and are you at all concerned about possibly getting a random Chase shutdowns for apparently having too many accounts? I currently have 5 Chase cards (2 business and 3 personal) and I’m most interested in applying for the Ink Business Preferred card and the Hyatt card. However, I am concerned about the reports of Chase shutdowns so I’m interested in hearing what your thoughts are on this.

  10. @ JSEA — I don’t have any firsthand experience with that, but I imagine that may very well work, since the purchase would be processed by the hotel.

  11. @ Andy — At the moment I have seven Chase credit cards. To be honest I’m not worried about the possibility of them getting shut down. I spend a significant amount on Chase cards, and I also keep all the cards open long term, and don’t apply for cards with them too often. In other words, I’m using the cards the way I think they were intended to be used. In general I think you’ll find that most of the shutdown stories come from people who have opened or closed a lot of cards.

  12. Can you use the free weekend pass at a Hilton resort property? Meaning, could I book two nights (Thurs & Fri) at say the Phuket Hilton resort (comes out to about $250, not coincidentally the resort credit amount) and get a third night (Sat night) using the free weekend pass?

  13. Rob,

    Have you canceled an AMEX card recently? It seems like AMEX is not liking it if you cancelled a card (even long ago) – you said that you “had” the Ascend card, which could be the issue here.

  14. You left out another great benefit, the $100 on-property amenity credit on two-night Waldorf-Astoria or Conrad properties. The way to maximize this, IMO, is to stay at a resort so that you can use the $250 resort credit at the same time. Combine that with a free night there, and you’ve got a small, nice, affordable vacation every year. I just wish there were more Hilton resort locations. That is the biggest thing holding me back, though the Virginia Beach property looks pretty good.

  15. Random security note about Amex and Hilton, although this is probably not limited to them. I had over 500k Hilton points and one day I login to my app and notice I had like 600 points. Obviously I panicked and initiated an investigation. Turns out someone somehow hacked my Hilton account (I have a very hard password, for whatever that’s worth), connected my Hilton account to Amazon and redeemed almost 500k of Hilton points for Amazon purchases. I was never notified of any of this. Thankfully Hilton reimbursed my points.

  16. @Lucky @Anthony
    I once had two different Ascend card accounts which I don’t remember how I ended up with two. But I closed one in March and the other in April; and then I tried to apply for the Aspire in September.

    I’m wondering if I am permanently disqualified for the Aspire.

  17. @lucky: ok, I’m sold.

    Question: if you had 24 hours on the ground in Las Vegas and booked 1 night at Waldorf Astoria (formerly MO), which of the following payment methods would you suggest (figure $300 incl room/resort fee):

    1) AMEX Plat w/ FHR benefits + $125 spa credit…..$300 spend

    2) Hilton Aspire free weekend night w/ newly minted Diamond benefits + $250 annual resort amenity credit…..$450 spend (annual card fee)

    3) 62,000 Hilton points (which waives resort fee) and still includes free breakfast as HH Gold……$0 spend

    Just curious, and would welcome any thoughts.

  18. @ Tough Call — My initial instinct was to say book the FHR rate and then pay with the Aspire Card so you can use the $250 credit (you don’t have to pay with the Amex Plat, but rather just have to pay with any Amex. However, it looks like the Waldorf Las Vegas isn’t considered a resort, and therefore wouldn’t qualify for the $250 credit (unless I’m missing something).

  19. I would love to keep an Amex card such as Platinum but once they increased the annual fee to $550, I canceled it. Only if Amex made $200 airline credit as easy as Chase and gave the full $200 Uber credit on January 1st of each year, it would be worth while.

    International flights, I fly business class so no need for the $200 airline credit. Domestic flights, I tend to fly 1st class unless it’s an hour flight so no need for the $200 airline credit.

  20. I selected Southwest as my airline of choice through the Aspire benefits and had to change flight twice to a slightly higher price using my Aspire card and surprisingly received the price difference paid back on my Aspire card 5 days later. I wonder if that would count on a full fare purchase as well since Southwest don’t seems to give a clear mention on what the incidental purchase was? Love this card so far!

    Nice friend referral bonus too at 20000pts!

    http://refer.amex.us/ALEXALNDGm?XLINK=MYCP

  21. “While I don’t consider Hilton Diamond to be the most valuable top tier status…blah…blah…blah”

    The problem with travel blogosphere is the tendency to keep repeating dogmatic claims that have been shown to be utterly bogus…

    HGP and SPG are gone and MR is sputtering. WoH has no footprint and its only elite status that is sort worth something sends you to the poor house before you achieve it….So, please do an OBJECTIVE “tale of the tape” of HH Diamond vs. Any other elite status and you will see that none comes close in benefits, especially taking into account how much it costs to achieve the status. Minimizing costs on leisure travel is why everyone plays the mile/point game…right?

  22. I had the Ascend card first, got the 100K points and the applied and was approved for Aspire but an only 100K bonus at the time. I’m on a road trip now and Hilton is throwing me thousands of points for Hilton stays. I talked to a rep before applying for Aspire to make sure I would get the bonus. So, I’ve gone from 0 points to almost 400K points in less than five months bonuses, spend, and stays at Hilton. My only problem now is to make sure I use the Aspire when booking Hilton stays and the Ascend for 6X points on grocery store purchases, spend $15K on Ascend each year for the additional reward night. Left Marriott in the dust. Two months after Marriott’s official merger, and they are still so screwed up with their systems, logins, passwords, merged accounts, you name it.

  23. Lucky – Re: Waldorf Vegas – it *IS* considered a Hilton resort and therefore entitled to the $250 resort credit – correct? I see it on the list but you’re saying it’s not a resort – am I missing something? I have it booked later this year and counting on the $250 credit.

  24. @ Hugh Jassole — I’m sorry, clearly I wasn’t searching correctly earlier. You’re right that it’s there, and therefore should be eligible. My apologies!

  25. @lucky

    Hey Lucky, you have me SOLD! Can I check… I got the Ascend card this year and got the bonus. Would I still be eligible for the bonus on the Aspire if I apply now?

    Thank you!!! P.S. best travel blog ever!

  26. @ James — Thanks for the kind words! Yes, you would still be eligible for the bonus as long as you haven’t had this exact card before.

  27. @DCS that’s your opinion and might be true for you but certainly isn’t for everyone.

    Probably should learn what dogma means before using it… and the only person who has “shown” anything to be “bogus” is you. Citing yourself is super cool though, bruh.

  28. Is there a link to see which property you can use the resort credit? The link provided only takes you to the homepage, not a list. Thank you @ Lucky. Congratulations on your marriage to your hubby, Ford.

  29. @ Stanley — Thank you! The page it takes you to is the homepage for Hilton resorts, all of which are eligible. 🙂

  30. @Matt — Little in what I stated, precisely to suggest that bogus opinions or claims that travel bloggers regurgitate as dogma be laid to rest, was an option:

    “HGP and SPG are gone” — Check
    “MR is sputtering” [just ask its CEO] – Check.
    “WoH has no footprint and its only elite status that is sort worth something sends you to the poor house before you achieve it .” – Check.

    Left unsaid is that Hilton has been the most innovative (too many innovations, in fact, to keep track of), most rewarding (non-stop global and targeting promos), and most stable (when was a programmatic snafu involving HH last reported?) hotel loyalty program out there, with among the cheapest award costs in the business (measured as ‘spend per free night’). None of that is a matter of opinion. You can look it up, or you already know it if you pay any attention.

    G’day.

  31. BTW, @Mattt, are you a reincarnation of poster who went by the moniker of ‘Mike”? If not, he has not been heard from in a good while, but you should know that you sound just as ridiculous as he did.

  32. @Marc
    Have you tried that? I.e. does the free weekend night stay count towards 1 of the 2 nights required to trigger the $100 resort credit?

  33. @ CoachellaValleyFinalSolution — I think the point was that you could make it a two day trip. To get the $100 resort credit you need to book a consecutive two night stay under one reservation, so you couldn’t use the free weekend night as one of the nights.

  34. @ Lucky thank you for getting back to me. So, I plan on staying at Sanya Yazhou Bay Resort, A Curio Collection. Would I be able to use the $250 resort credit here with this property? Also, would I simultaneously be able to use the weekend free night certificate? Would I need to make sure my stay is booked on a Saturday and Sunday or would it also work if it were a Friday and Saturday? I plan on staying there for 4 nights, so I want to know how I should book it to kick in the use of the free weekend night certificate. Sorry if it is confusing. Thank you so much.

  35. @ Stanley — A Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night would qualify. You can use the $250 resort credit for the same stay where you redeem a free night certificate, as long as you’re charging at least $250 to the room.

  36. @DCS: “BTW, @Mattt, are you a reincarnation of poster who went by the moniker of ‘Mike”? If not, he has not been heard from in a good while, but you should know that you sound just as ridiculous as he did.”

    No, DCS, he isn’t, because I have better things to do right now than put up with your drivel.

  37. One thing that hasn’t been called out on the resort credit – it seems like most of the Hilton Grand Vacation Club (HGVC) properties are considered Hilton Resorts. If you are a HGVC owner, this card is great because you can use your $250 resort credit when using your HGVC points to stay! We frequent Valdoro and I love getting a massage after a few days of skiing – this is perfect!

  38. “Incidental air travel fees charged prior to selection of a qualifying airline are not eligible for statement credits. Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.”

    Curious – Quoting the above, it seems that most incidental fees paid to an airline of choice are not qualifying for the $250 credit.

    Forgetting about “gift cards” what incidental fees to airlines qualify for the credit?

    Thanks in advance for an answer

  39. @ dmg9 — Things like ticket change fees (on both award tickets and revenue tickets), close-in ticketing fees, baggage fees, seating fees, etc., would all qualify, just to give some examples.

  40. @lucky Which airlines are available to choose from? American Express doesn’t seem to list them in their marketing brochure

  41. @ milgom — Options include Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest, and United.

  42. You are such a hypocrite for ignoring this card for many, many months because you didn’t have an affiliate link and only now suddenly pushing it when you have a link, even though many readers (including myself) told you how good the card was for many months. You obviously knew how amazing the card was (as evidenced by today’s post – nothing has changed between now and when the card first came out). This is why Doctor of Credit is 10 times better than your website. Another example is you pushing your Ink Business Preferred 80,000 point link when it was common knowledge you could get 100,000 points applying in branch. You have no credibility whatsoever. You don’t deserve to have readers click on your affiliate links.

  43. @ Daniel M — For whatever it’s worth, nothing has changed with regards to our links for this card either.

  44. Card sounds great , but when I go to sign up for the card , it said diamond status after 40k spend?

  45. I lucked out and got the Aspire with no annual fee the first year. Obviously this then is an extreme win and I’ll be using the free night during my Japan trip, and as well using the resort bonus at the Tokyo resort hotel for one night.

    But I’ll not be renewing at $450 next year. I mainly stay at Hampton Inns when I travel domestically so Diamond status is relatively unimportant, and I never stay at resorts.

  46. Now that it’s January, you can reset the airline credit I know. Want to confirm I’m reading that correctly that you can ONLY change in the month of January and then would be locked in?

  47. @Zach That’s technically true, but I have contacted Amex customer service to make the change mid-year before. It’s not guaranteed, and they stated it was a “one time exception” but it seems to happen fairly frequently. I would just make sure the credit is unused if you do it- I’m not sure they’d let you split it between 2 airlines.

  48. I got this card late last year, hit the MSR, got the statement that indicated the bonus, and have been waiting over a month for the points to be transferred to Hilton. AmEx says they’re “reviewing” that the spend was good, etc, and it could take 8-12 weeks.

    Everything is so hard with AmEx. I would like to book a trip and use the points, but i have no idea when i’ll actually have them. So frustrating.

  49. @Luis, quit stating your ignorance as fact. If you had any idea what you were talking about, you would know that the credit is easily worth $250.

  50. The card is ok, but its not worth it for everyone. A little too much hype here. The airline credit with amex can be a real pain to use due to all the limitations. Also, the resort credit while nice can only be used at certain properties. I managed to use mine but it was tough to find a property near my destinations that was a decent quality property, so you really need to know ahead of time that you are going to be able to stay at one of these properties. The free night as mentioned is a weekend night, so that already limits the dates you can use it on. Then you need to find award availability on those dates which can be tricky when it comes to luxury properties. The diamond status is nice but if you have the plat or another hilton card that gives gold, the difference in status levels isn’t that noticeable. The airport lounge access is available on many cards. Card can be worth it for the first year. Beyond the first year its not as easy to justify the large AF unless you are able to really take advantage of the benefits. People with more than several hilton stays I can see it being worth it, but for the casual traveler you need to do the math to see if the benefits are going to offset that fee.

  51. For my incidental airline I picked Frontier (since they have so many incidental fees). I joined the Den discount club, or whatever they call it for $59.99. Amex counted it as an incidental and issued credit. It took two days for the credit to hit.

  52. @ Carl WV – thx for the info. I did the same thing with Spirit at the end of Dec. I bought the $59, $9 Fare Club mbrship then a discounted $60 tkt using it. By the time I pd for exorbitant bag fees + the mbrship I’d used my AMEX credit. I like the idea of being able to join these other clubs for free where occasional value can be had.

  53. I am on my second year with Aspire and it’s great! You are treated as a true Diamond member, not a “card member” and the value to cost is phenomenal.

    Earlier this year, we spent a week at the Hilton Fiji resort. We received a free night, an upgrade to a pool suite, free full breakfast and covered all of our other meals and extras with the 250.00 resort credit. WOW! This card is a must!

  54. Just last week we took out free nights at Reach Resort Key West and Bakers Cay Key Largo – normally combined rate of $1800 for both nights on New Years week – free continental breakfasts, $250 worth of dinners on property, free overweight bag and snacks on United – already credited to Amex – great deal!

  55. “Airline fee credit is a complete joke.”

    Hahahaha!… The Aspire airline fee credit is such a hilarious joke I laughed my way all the way to $250 in savings paying for wifi on UA long-haul TPAC flights.

    Hahahaha! Very funny! Stop it! You’re killing me! 🙂 🙂

  56. There’s a reason why in every executive lounge I’ve visited in any country has mostly been filled with Americans !!

    Love the card!

  57. I’d love to get the Aspire card soon but that airline fee credit will be tricky to use. I have the AMEX Plat already ($200 fee credit) and my spouse has the AMEX Gold ($100 Fee Credit), When I get the Aspire ($250 Fee credit) that will give me $550 in credits. Since we fly Delta quite often I’ll just buy a Skyclub membership for my spouse and spread it across three cards. That should take care of the credits.

  58. @DCS – Agree about the $250 airline fee credits. I use that up every year on AA WiFi purchases across many international flights. Also use my free night every year along with the other perks of Diamond Status particularly the upgrades, breakfast and lounge access. It’s the best hotel card I have.

  59. Earlier this year I decided to cancel Aspire and apply for Surpass. I was surprised to find that anyone who has had either Aspire or Surpass is not eligible for the Surpass welcome bonus. So I downgraded instead of cancelling and applying. (I agree with Ben that the Aspire offers wonderful benefits, but I’m trying to simplify my life; no longer want to play games to get the airline fee credit or go out of my way to stay at a resort. And Surpass Gold status has most of the benefits of Aspire Diamond status.)

  60. I agree….airline fee credits are far too difficult to use. Too many restrictions. I’ll pass. Not everyone is hoping around the globe like some of you using WiFi. Besides, the credit wont work on Delta WiFi…. I’m not flying on AA just to use WiFi credits. Their service and planes are subpar to Delta.

  61. “And Surpass Gold status has most of the benefits of Aspire Diamond status.”

    It seems like it’s again time for the canonical list because that claim is wishful thinking and bogus [*** are [Aspire] Diamond perks not available to Surpass Golds]:

    — elite rollover nights
    — guaranteed *premium* wifi [***]
    — guaranteed free continental breakfast on the ‘continent’; free FULL breakfast almost everywhere else, optionally in the restaurant, and not just in the Club or Executive lounge
    — guaranteed upgrade to the Executive floor when there is one [***]
    — unlimited complimentary suite upgrades based on availability [***].
    — late checkout with no time limit, based on availability [hint: request late checkout at check-in!]
    — put Diamond status on hold [***]
    — C+P awards ‘on steroids’, i.e., unlimited
    — a $250 resort credit [***]
    — a $250 airline credit [***]
    — no resort fee on award stays
    — “Diamond Force” when the chips are down [***]
    — 5th award night free
    — Annual weekend night reward [***]; gotta spend $15K to get this one as a Gold.
    — an additional free night certificate for use at ANY category hotel after spending $60K [***]
    — 10K bonus points after reaching 40 nights, and…award nights count!
    — 10K bonus points every 10 nights after reaching 40 nights with NO CAP
    — 30K additional bonus points at 60 nights [one earns Diamond so not a Golds perk]
    — ability to gift Gold status at 60 nights and to gift Diamond at 100 nights [ibid]
    — ability to pool points with up to ten (10!) people; obviates need to transfer points.
    — Priority Pass lounge access.
    — industry-leading 14X for on-property spend paid with the Aspire [***]
    — 100% elite bonus points on base points [***]

    It depends on what the meaning of “most” is 😉

  62. My favorite hotel credit card. Got it in December, and was able to get free breakfast and suite upgrade at Conrad Tokyo in January. Recently been getting food takeout and having the cost covered with the Hilton Resort fees.

    @UAPhil,
    I applied for Surpass in August 2019, Aspire in December 2019, and Hilton (no Annual Fee) card in January 2020. I got the signup bonus for all 3. My understanding is that you can get signup bonus with each card once in lifetime. For the no annual fee card, my recommendation is to go on Hilton website and use the link they show you when you’re trying to book a room (you don’t have to book a room, but just have to make to the page before paying) – that gives you 75K points and $100 statement credit for spending $1,000, which in my opinion is as good as getting 95K points.

  63. The HH AMEX Aspire card towers over every other hotel loyalty card.

    The WoH Chase visa is like the Surpass: they both earn the same number of points per spend in their respective denominations [WoH Chase 4x; Surpass 12x, which is the same 4x in WoH points (12x/3)], but the Surpass offers HH Gold + free breakfast that comes with it. I could even go further and say that in terms of perks, HH Gold is closer to WoH Globalist than to HH Diamond. 😉

  64. I was just told that there are no offers for upgrading the current hilton card to aspire because of COVID 19. That is first for me. Never heard of that before. Is that right?

  65. The issue with the Hilton Aspire card is that it’s credits are not easy to use… If you don’t stay at a Hilton resort every year, it is uncertain if you can use the resort credit. And the airline fee credits are hard to use, especially if you already have other Amex cards. So worst case scenario, it is a $450 card that gets you Diamond status, a free weekend night, and priority pass. Diamond status value is dubious if you have Hilton Gold via another card (Amex Platinum) and Priority Pass membership isn’t worth much. So you are really paying $450 for a free weekend night. The Surpass card is just as good for many; lower fee, and the grocery category makes it a decent ongoing spend card. As unusual as this sounds I actually prefer the Bonvoy Brilliant card as a tertiary card because the Marriott credit is very easy to use, leaving it a $150 card for a decent 50K night cert, which is easier to justify for me. Aspire makes more sense if it is central to your strategy.

  66. Haha @DCS
    I still take WOH Globalist over Diamond mainly waived Destination/ Resort Fees on paid stays

  67. @The Original Donna

    How do you get AA wifi to trigger the AMEX credit?

    @Billy2011
    Careful!!!! Billy(goat)2011 when crossing this bridge.
    It depends on what the meaning of “most” is but unfortunately “most cents per point” valuation meaning doesn’t compute, oops.

  68. Hahaha, @Billy2011! Is that right? How about this?

    The HH AMEX Aspire does offer me a $250/year resort fee credit and, in general, destinations where I am likely to incur resort fees are also those where I redeem award stays, so resort fees are waived [the Aspire still gives me a resort credit on incidentals!]

    The reason I’ll take HH Diamond over WoH Globalist is that WoH, the “best” hotel program, still needs to catch *up* to the competition by offering their elites one of the most lucrative perks, if not the most lucrative, in hotel loyalty: 5th award night free.

    Forget the suite upgrade lottery or meaningless “guaranteed” late checkout. The 5th award night free perk *guarantees* money in elite members’ pockets (often more than resort fees), and it’s the ‘loophole’ that makes possible outsized redemption values at ANY destination, but especially so at aspirational ones. One free award night at WA Maldives saved me 120,000 HH points or on, *average*, ~$600 on a 5-night award stay; at the official cap of 95,000 off on the 5th night, one saves ~$475.

    CITI Prestige’s claim to fame? The 4th Night Free benefit, that is, before CITI gutted it and lost cardmembers as a result. ‘Nuff said.

  69. @Anthony — Please stop looking a gift horse in the mouth!

    Above, we had @Billy2011 stating that he’ll “take WOH Globalist over [HH] Diamond mainly [because of] waived Destination/Resort Fees on paid stays”, and here you are complaining that you have a beef with the Aspire $250 resort credit because you cannot easily use it, thus diminishing @Billy2011 rationale for loving his WoH Globalist status!!! What gives?

    Just because you personally cannot use the credit does not any anyway diminish the perk’s value. Reductio ad absurdum or consider the alternative: would you prefer that AMEX did not offer this credit just because you personally cannot use it up? How do you know your travels won’t ever take you to places where you might need to use up this credit and then some? Think of it as you would of an insurance policy! It’ll be there when you need it .

    Between the Aspire and the AMEX Plat, I get $550 in airline credit on UA, which Award Wallet helpfully keeps track off. Last year I used $405 of the credit, most of it on Wifi, but I won’t complain because of the $145 that I did not get to use. All I know is that every time I hop on a UA flight that has wifi I will be connected for the duration and not pay a penny for it, and that is a Great Thing.

    The above goes also for those who complain that they the CSR’s $300 statement credit on travel is too hard to use. Well, I use mine within a month or less of getting it!!! But even if I could not use it all, I would still be thankful to have it than NOT.

    @Lucky had what I thought was a great post on this type of whining, which I greatly recommend:

    Dear Frequent Flyers: Please Stop Whining
    April 15, 2020 by Ben

    “…we’ve seen airlines and hotel loyalty programs extend status by 12 months and introduce other initiatives to take care of members. In most cases I’d say the solutions from airlines and hotels are about the “best case scenario” in terms of what we can expect.

    Nonetheless, with every single one of these announcements I’ve written about, I’ve seen some people complaining about how it’s “not fair,” because it doesn’t exactly bring them the most personal benefit.”

    The short of it: Take “yes” for an answer!

  70. @DCS
    Your absolutely right the Hilton Aspire Card is the best hotel card. I have honestly had it since it debut and was happy when Ben finally got his Aspire Card. I am just personally not a fan of the rise of Destination / Resort Fees oh well that’s a first world problem. If Hyatt ever came out with a a card with an Annual Fee of $450 / $550 with amazing benefits then I would definitely apply for it in a heart beat. I just wished the Hilton points were worth more than a Japanese Yen / Peso. It is hard finding redemption rates that are worth at least a penny except the Maldives.

  71. @Billy2011 — You were doing great until this utterly bogus claim, on both counts too: “I just wished the Hilton points were worth more than a Japanese Yen / Peso. It is hard finding redemption rates that are worth at least a penny except the Maldives.”

    1 — Hilton points are worth *exactly* the same as Hyatt points.
    2 — I consistently get redemption values similar to or better than Hyatt’s up and down hotel categories everywhere around the world…that is, where one can even find Hyatt hotels, considering its tiny footprint. My WA Maldives redemption value was truly outsized, coming out nominally at 4.2cents/HH point. That is like getting nearly 13cents/WoH point, which I do not think you can achieve in practice without the 5th award night free perk.

    You are just as confused as is everyone else about the relative values of points currencies. Stick around. You just might learn a thing or two about loyalty points calculus… 😉

  72. Has anyone tried to use the $250 resort credit with purchases at US restaurants? Can you share how it works?

  73. @Jim

    I was able to use it recently, started counting since end of May actually. Basically any purchase made under Aspire that counts as restaurant spend, will be refunded as Hilton Resort Credit, in increments of your restaurant order. For example, I got $12+ for lunch order paid by the card and then $4 back for coffee in a separate transaction etc. As long as you have remaining credit you have not yet used, you can get the remaining amount as credit for up to $250.

  74. @DCS: “Hilton points are worth *exactly* the same as Hyatt points.”

    Except they’re not, and anytime that DCS tries to prove that they are, he only proves that they aren’t.

    Want to disagree with me on this one, DCS? Then actually rebut my math – you know, the math that proves you’re wrong – instead of your usual tactic of personally attacking me instead of actually hitting the substance of my argument.

    Otherwise, just give up trotting this argument, because everyone here knows you’re wrong.

  75. At least everyone else who is confused about these trivial concepts has the sense to avoid commenting. To continue commenting and expose oneself as a total ignoramus would be embarrassing, except when one also totally lacks self-awareness.

    G’day

  76. @Jim — I too have used the Aspire resort credit for food and drinks and it is automatic. You just need to charge purchases to your room and AMEX will know how much you spent in resort fee and give you credit for it and it generally posts within days.

    At Hilton Pattaya, I dined and drank quite on the property and when I checked out on 01/03/2019 for what was a 5-night award stay, my total folio or cash spend for the stay was $174.25 — all incidentals. On my AMEX statement for that stay there was an entry for 01/06/2019, i.e. 3, days later:

    — Jan 6 Credit HILTON RESORT CREDIT -$174.25

    That is, I got all my incidental charges covered as a resort credit, which was just fine with me.

  77. @DCS: “At least everyone else who is confused about these trivial concepts has the sense to avoid commenting. To continue commenting and expose oneself as a total ignoramus would be embarrassing, except when one also totally lacks self-awareness.”

    Says the person who, when actually challenged on their faulty analysis, can only respond in personal attacks, as shown above.

    Thank you, yet again, for proving my point about you, DCS.

  78. @Mike — I am going to address you directly because you are truly miserable and I wish to put you out of your misery once and for all, with the simplest explanation possible.

    Remember that concept of ‘dimensional analysis’ that I brought in to simplify as much as humanely possible the concept of points currency conversion, just like hard currency conversion, and you turned around to claim that you understood it all, and presumed that you could lecture the lecturer? Well, you were clueless then and remain just as clueless.

    “Dimensional analysis’ is based on the simple notion that if one multiplies any number by the unit factor (meaning by 1) one does not change the value of that number:

    2 * 1 = 2

    It is that simple We multiple 2 by 1 we get 2 back.

    That simple concept allows one to convert units by multiplying the old measurement by one (or more) forms of the number 1. However — and this is the whole enchilada — *while the multiplication by 1 does not change the value of the measurement, it does change the measurement’s units*. Therefore, we can go from Hyatt points to Hilton points or back by multiplying either by an appropriate form of the UNIT FACTOR, i.e., ONE, UNO, UN, 1, without changing the value of either HILTON OR HYATT points.

    Let’s not deal with points currencies yet. Let’s deal with something in everyday life. Let’s covert ¢ to $. How many $ in ¢550?

    ‘Dimensional analysis’ at its simplest:

    ¢550 * ($1/¢100) = $5.50

    Two things are clear:

    — ¢ clearly cancels out to yield the result in $ as desired. Think of it as we just changed the unit of measurement from ¢ to $.

    — The second term ‘($1/¢100)’ term is the UNIT RATIO or CONVERSION FACTOR and it is clearly EQUAL to 1 because, although 1 is smaller than 100, $1 is the same as ¢100. RIGHT???!!!

    Now Hilton to Hyatt points conversion.

    I have ¢0.5/HILTON point, how does that convert to ¢/HYATT point?
    We know that one earns 3 HILTON points or 1 HYATT point for the SAME number of ¢ spent.

    Therefore, by ‘dimensional analysis’, we set up the Hilton to Hyatt points conversion equation as follows:

    ¢0.5/HILTON point * (3 HILTON points/ 1HYATT point) = ¢1.5/HYATT point.

    Like in the first very simple example:

    — HILTON points cancelled out, leaving us with the unit of ¢/HYATT point as desired.
    — (3 HILTON points/ 1HYATT point) is the UNIT RATIO or CONVERSION FACTOR = 1. It means that:

    3 HILTON points and 1 HYATT point are exactly the same number
    just like
    ¢100 and $1 are exactly the same number.

    ERGO

    ¢0.5/HILTON point represents the same redemption value as ¢1.5/HYATT point

    Thus, people cannot simply compare ¢0.5/HILTON point and ¢1.5/HYATT point and claim that the latter is worth more because that is like comparing $1 and ¢100 claim that the latter is worth more because 100 is bigger than 1. Cannot drop $ from 1 or ¢ from 100 in that comparison, Just like one cannot drop /HILTON point and /HYATT and just compare ¢0.5 vs. ¢1.5 and claim that the latter is worth more because it is a bigger number. What it is instead is a ridiculous and meaningless apples vs. oranges comparison.

    BOTTOM LINE:
    ——————-

    I truly feel sorry for you when you write things like:

    __________________

    @DCS: “Hilton points are worth *exactly* the same as Hyatt points.”

    Except they’re not, and anytime that DCS tries to prove that they are, he only proves that they aren’t.

    Want to disagree with me on this one, DCS?”
    __________________

    because I no longer know how to tell you that you re wrong, wrong, and, wrong. Yes, I want to disagree with you with extreme prejudice because you are wrong.

    You are going to come back and try to explain what I just did above to claim that you understand it better than I, while getting it all wrong again.

    Just go away. This should be embarrassing enough. It is exhausting.

  79. @DCS: “This should be embarrassing enough. It is exhausting.”

    Yes, DCS, it is exhausting having to repeatedly point out that the only thing that you did is prove the point that everyone here seems to understand except for you – a Hilton point is not worth the same as a Hyatt point.

    You yourself admit that when you say the following:

    “3 HILTON points and 1 HYATT point are exactly the same number
    just like
    ¢100 and $1 are exactly the same number.”

    When you end up clarifying that by saying the following:

    “¢0.5/HILTON point represents the same redemption value as ¢1.5/HYATT point”

    The only thing you are doing is shifting the goalposts, because the purchasing power of those points – which EVERYONE knows essentially offsets the value difference – does not negate the fact that one point has three times the relative value of another point.

    Your math is not wrong, DCS. It just doesn’t prove the point you think you’re trying to make (and, in fact, it completely disproves your point). To that extent, yet again, the only one who should be embarrassed is you, because of the gymnastics you have to put yourself through in order to never have to say that you’re wrong about anything.

    Yet again, grow up and get help.

  80. @DCS: “That simple concept allows one to convert units by multiplying the old measurement by one (or more) forms of the number 1. However — and this is the whole enchilada — *while the multiplication by 1 does not change the value of the measurement, it does change the measurement’s units*. Therefore, we can go from Hyatt points to Hilton points or back by multiplying either by an appropriate form of the UNIT FACTOR, i.e., ONE, UNO, UN, 1, without changing the value of either HILTON OR HYATT points.”

    Also, in case you think I didn’t notice, it is especially pathetic of you to personally attack me for daring to “lecture you” (when I was, in reality, pointing out how wrong your arguments were, since you originally wanted to claim that you could not interchange the points due to “dimensional analysis”) and then incorporate my so-called “lecture” into your arguments here.

    Every time I wonder how low the bar can get with you, you surprise me and lower it even further. Way to go.

  81. @Mike sez, cluelessly: “Your math is not wrong, DCS. It just doesn’t prove the point you think you’re trying to make (and, in fact, it completely disproves your point). ”

    I thought for a minute you would have the decency to leave for good, but that would have been too good to be true. I will bury you here in the grave that you keep digging.

    There are no goalposts being shifted. It is just your delusional and clueless mind that thinks so.

    You just are too clueless to see the obvious. If ‘my math’ is not wrong then what exactly is your point?

    Do you understand that:

    1 – Multiplying any number by 1 does not change that number?
    2 – Do you understand that when one does this:

    ¢550 * ($1/¢100) = $5.50

    on does not change the *value* ¢550 because one simply multiplied by 1 (i.e., [¢1/¢100] = 1) to yield $5.50, which is exactly the same as ¢550? All one did was change the measurement unit from ¢ to $, while the original value remained the same after the unit conversion?

    3 – Do you understand — by analogy to the trivial case above — that when one does this:

    ¢0.5/HILTON point * (3 HILTON points/ 1HYATT point) = ¢1.5/HYATT point.

    On does not change the *value* ¢0.5/HILTON because one just multiplied it by 1 (i.e., [3 HILTON points/1HYATT point= 1]) to yield ¢1.5/HYATT point, which is, THUS, exactly the same as ¢0.5/HILTON point? All one did was change the measurement unit from ¢/HILTON point to ¢/HYATT point, while the original value (¢0.5/HILTON point) remained *exactly the same* after unit conversion (¢1.5/HYATT point)?

    Math (not ‘my math’) proves clearly that

    ¢550 * ($1/¢100) = $5.50

    just like it proves beyond the shadow of any doubt that

    ¢0.5/HILTON point = ¢1.5/HYATT point

    If you understand the above, which is doubtful, and still can make statements like

    _____________________

    Your math is not wrong, DCS. It just doesn’t prove the point you think you’re trying to make (and, in fact, it completely disproves your point).

    or
    You yourself admit that when you say the following:
    “3 HILTON points and 1 HYATT point are exactly the same number
    just like
    ¢100 and $1 are exactly the same number.”

    When you end up clarifying that by saying the following:

    “¢0.5/HILTON point represents the same redemption value as ¢1.5/HYATT point”
    __________________

    then you are biggest troll in travel blogosphere, because what the math does is precisely to prove my point. All those statements say exactly the same thing. I do not clarify anything anywhere because saying “3 HILTON points and 1 HYATT point are exactly the same number” and “¢0.5/HILTON point represents the same redemption value as ¢1.5/HYATT point” is *tautological*, just like saying “A = A.”

    If the math does not prove my point, then you are just as clueless about what my point is, making you truly unhinged.

    How much beating can you take just because you are too clueless to know better and stop digging?

  82. And yet again, given the number of times that he calls me clueless, delusional, or unhinged, @DCS is left to resort to personal attacks rather than an actual rebuttal. I’m sure, though, that he’ll be the one asking for me to be banned from commenting here.

    Keep in mind that all of this is coming from the person who has repeatedly attacked people when they say, for example, that one Hyatt point is worth more than one IHG point:

    https://onemileatatime.com/chase-cards-5x-points-groceries/#comment-4365996

    I stand by what I have said earlier – this is nothing more than narcissistic rage coming from someone who is personally offended because he believes that people who assign a lower value to a single Honors point are attacking the program (and, in turn, him). The fact that any sort of rebuttal to his arguments leads to this much vitriol and hatred from him says more, at this point, than anything I can type.

  83. I had a goodbye post already that is held in moderation. In the meantime, linking to the IHG post simply reaffirms your cluelessness. You did not get it. There are no differences among loyalty points currencies when compared as *apples vs. apples*. That simple concept is so generally misunderstood that I am going to do complete and mathematically rigorous post on my website and invite all self-anointed “travel gurus” to rebut it. Since they won’t be able to, it would be the end of the misconception, which, in fact, many have already grasp. You too will some day, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for that day. I might expire before it comes.

  84. @DCS: “I had a goodbye post already that is held in moderation. In the meantime, linking to the IHG post simply reaffirms your cluelessness. You did not get it. There are no differences among loyalty points currencies when compared as *apples vs. apples*.”

    Except for the fact that you, using an apples-to-apples comparison above, show that one Hyatt point has the equivalent value of three Hilton points, which pretty clearly shows that there is a difference between one Hilton point and one Hyatt point.

    As an aside, it’s kind of funny, DCS, that you are accusing me of being clueless, “not getting it,” and trolling when, in that very thread I linked, you say the following:

    “Address the simple math; that is how you gain credibility and win arguments. Throwing around the word ‘troll’ or ‘trolling’ when the charge is that you do not ‘get it’, simply validates or proves the charge.”

    https://onemileatatime.com/chase-cards-5x-points-groceries/#comment-4366163

    The way I see it here, DCS, I have addressed the math and shown that it only reinforces the argument you think you’re debunking. To that end, to accuse me of trolling, given that previous comment, is laughable, and only further exposes your hypocrisy.

    You can post all you want on your own blog – posting it there rather than here doesn’t make it any more correct, and I sincerely doubt that there will be a huge defection from OMAAT over to your blog to read it.

    I know I have better things to do than give you that click.

  85. Love the site and have gotten much value out of it but times must be tough to see another credit card post dusted off and reposted; believe this is the third time this post has been used. Obviously it’s not my site and you can post whatever the hell you want. I also completely understand that affiliate links are one of the rev streams for this site, just hoping this doesn’t turn into TPG part 2 where every post is pimping some card (esp since travel is pretty restricted right now) and the quality of content remains high!

  86. @DCS how’s the spend on the Hilton Aspire card coming for Lifetime Diamond unless you’re already lifetime Diamond?

  87. @Billy2011 — The clever thing about the Aspire card and the associated Diamond status is that neither does one any good unless one actually spends real money at Hilton properties. In fact, since I became an Aspire Diamond, I’ve spent more on revenue stays then I did when I had to qualify the “hard way.”

    No revenue stays, you do not enough points or Diamond benefits; not enough points, you get no free stays or Diamond benefits. You can purchase points but that takes you only so far. It is why I have never been worried (and I suspect Hilton as well) that the status is given pro bono.

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