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I haven’t applied for many credit cards lately (as I’ve been trying to get under 5/24), and as a result there are several credit cards that I really want. I recently applied for the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, and now I’m going to wait a month to apply for the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card.
After that, the card I’m most excited to get — and which I’ve been kicking myself over not having — is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. The card has a $450 annual fee, which is obviously on the high side for a hotel credit card, though this is a card that’s ridiculously rewarding.
The 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.
Specifically, I’d say the following four benefits more than justify the annual fee on the card:
Hilton Honors Diamond status
Just for having this 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.
Receive executive lounge access with Honors Diamond status
An annual weekend night reward
With the 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 95,000 points per night, so you could obviously get a ton of value out of this.
You could redeem this reward for a night that costs $850+
A $250 Hilton resort credit every cardmember year
Every cardmember year you receive up to $250 in statement credits for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton resorts using your card. See this link to find all participating resorts.
What’s incredible is that virtually any spend 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.
It can take 8-12 weeks for credits to be posted.
Use your resort credit at the Conrad Maldives
A $250 airline fee credit every calendar year
To help more directly offset the annual fee, the card offers a $250 airline fee credit every calendar year. This should automatically post to your account within four weeks, though typically posts much faster than that. This works very similarly to the benefit on the Amex Platinum Card. You have to designate an airline, and then eligible fees will automatically be reimbursed.
The terms state the following regarding what purchases are and aren’t eligible:
Fees not charged by the Card Member’s airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits. 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.
Anecdotally airline gift card purchases do often trigger the credit, though there’s no guarantee that will always be the case.
Your annual airline credit can save you money on fees with most major US airlines
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card really is too good to be true, and I can’t wait to get it next month. The way I view it, the $250 annual airline fee credit and Hilton resort credit are probably worth about $450, which would cover the annual fee.
Then you add in the Diamond status and annual free night, and you’re looking at an outstanding card. There are more benefits on top of that, like a Priority Pass membership, but I’m not even including that since I get that through other cards as well.