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
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 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).