Hilton Aspire Perks: How They Work

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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.

I’ve had the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card for a couple of years. This card has a $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees), and is easily one of the all around most compelling hotel credit cards out there.

This card has many huge benefits, and almost seems too good to be true. Among other things, the card offers the following five benefits, which I consider to be the most valuable:

  • Hilton Honors Diamond status for as long as you have the card
  • A $250 airline fee credit every calendar year
  • A $250 Hilton resort credit every cardmember year
  • An annual weekend night reward
  • A Priority Pass membership

I wrote about the basic benefits of this card that make it worthwhile recently, but in this post wanted to take a closer at how each of these work, since aspects of the perks can be confusing. That’s especially when you consider the valuable limited time rewards that have been added to this card.

Hilton Aspire Honors Diamond status

Just for having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card you receive Honors Diamond status, which is Hilton’s top tier status. There’s nothing you need to do to activate this — it’s automatic. This benefit only applies for the primary cardmember, and not for any authorized users.

Typically once you’re approved for the card you should see your Honors account updated within a day or so to reflect your new status. It’s amazing how fast that happens.

One thing I learned the hard way is that any existing reservations won’t update with your new status without manual intervention. If you’ve made any reservations before your status is upgraded, make sure you call and have them remove your Honors number and then put it back in your reservation, so the Diamond status shows correctly.

Hilton Aspire $250 airline fee credit

Just for having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card you receive a $250 airline fee credit every calendar year. This follows a strict calendar year definition, meaning you get one credit through December 31, and then another credit as of January 1 of the following year.

You have to specifically designate an airline on which you want this credit to apply (if you’re an existing cardmember you need to do this in January of each year), with the choice between Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United.

Per the terms, the annual airline credit can be used for purchases made directly with airlines, excluding the following:

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.

Admittedly this does exclude many kinds of purchases, though personally I consistently am able to max this out.

Hilton Aspire $250 resort credit

Just for having the Hilton Aspire Card you receive a $250 statement credit for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton resorts using your card. This is based on your cardmember year (which is calculated as the 12 month period following when you open the card, and so on). See this link to find all participating resorts.

There’s no registration required to activate this perk, and virtually any spending at a participating resort will be eligible. This includes the room rate, incidentals, dining, spa services, etc. 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.

While the terms state that it can take 8-12 weeks for the credits to post, in my experience the credit posts much faster than that. For example, when I stayed at the Conrad Bora Bora, the credit posted three days after the purchase hit my statement.

The incredible Conrad Bora Bora

Hilton Aspire annual weekend night reward

Just for having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card you receive an annual free weekend night reward your first year and every subsequent cardmember 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). Weekend nights generally include Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

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

While you do get a certificate the first year, you don’t get it right away. In my experience the first certificate arrives a bit over two months after you open the card.

Certificates are generally valid for a year, and you’re given a code to redeem it over the phone (you can’t redeem it online). To see if you’ve received it, check your email for the subject line “Your Reward has arrived!”

For some context, I was approved for the Hilton Aspire Card in early November 2018, and I received:

  • My first weekend night reward on January 9, 2019
  • My second weekend night reward on January 2, 2020

That lag after opening the card and after the anniversary seems to be pretty consistent.

Limited time: more flexibility with your Hilton Aspire free night award

In light of current circumstances, the Hilton Aspire weekend night reward is more flexible than ever before:

  • Unexpired and new free night rewards issued through December 31, 2020, can be used for stays any night of the week, and not just weekends
  • New free night rewards issued between May 1 and December 31, 2020, will be valid for 24 months from the date of issuance, rather than for 12 months

There’s nothing you need to do to take advantage of either of these generous policies, as they’ll apply whenever you’re ready to redeem.

Hilton Aspire Priority Pass membership

Just for having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card you receive a Priority Pass Select membership, where you can take up to two guests to the 1,300+ Priority Pass lounges around the world as often as you’d like (though Priority Pass restaurants are excluded). This is a hugely valuable perk, at least during times where people are traveling a lot (which understandably may not be now).

You receive it as long as you have the card, though you do need to enroll. You can do this by logging into your Amex account and going to the “Benefits” tab, or by following this link. Just click the “Enroll Now” button, and the membership card should be sent to your address on file within about a week.

Hilton Aspire welcome bonus

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 Honors points after spending $4,000 within three months. One common point of confusion is how the airline fee credits, Hilton statement credits, and annual fee play into that minimum spending requirement.

The $450 annual fee doesn’t apply towards the minimum spending requirement, while any spending that is reimbursed through airline fee credits or Hilton resort credits does count towards the minimum spending.

In other words, if you spend $3,500 on “normal” purchases, and then $250 on items that are reimbursed as part of the airline fee credits, and another $250 on a Hilton resort purchase that is reimbursed, you’ll have reached the minimum spending requirement. But don’t forget that the annual fee doesn’t count towards the minimum spending requirement.

My first year with the Hilton Aspire Card

Just to give a sense of the value I got with this card in my first full year of card membership, here’s a quick recap of how the benefits worked out for me. I paid a $450 annual fee, and I got value out of the following:

  • I got $250 of American Airlines purchases reimbursed as part of the airline fee credit
  • I got $250 reimbursed from a stay at the Conrad Bora Bora, as part of the resort credit
  • I used my free weekend night certificate at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, where a standard room would have cost over $700
  • I got value out of Hilton Honors Diamond status across many stays, including complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, lounge access, and more

I’d say that’s a reasonably good value. 😉

I used my free weekend night at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Hilton Aspire bottom line

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is phenomenally valuable, and I’ve enjoyed maximizing the benefits for the first year, and look forward to continuing to get full value out of the card.

If you don’t yet have this card, it’s seriously worth considering. While I realize many aren’t traveling right now, in many ways there’s more value than ever before in getting this card ASAP, since you can potentially take advantage of the limited time perks.

See this post for a detailed review of the Hilton Aspire Card.

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).

  1. Not a Hilton fan, Really not a fan of a program that gives the highest status for simply holding a credit card, not even having to meet spending levels. It seems to me that any benefits that have limited availability, i.e. upgrades, etc. will be swamped and given out simply on a first-come basis.
    It has been said before but bears repeating: If everyone is elite, no one is elite. Meeting stay and/or spend requirements makes for fewer, more loyal elites.

  2. So what´s the benefit of all this? Well, you get a free breakfast but that´s already in as a HH Gold. So then this card can only makes sense if you´re not Gold already as otherwise there´s no notable benefit. But then if you´re not Gold with Hilton it means you´re not staying a lot with Hilton and then why pay a lot to get a Diamond status for a hotel chain you´re not staying at a lot in the first place? Makes no sense whatsoever.

    And all these reimbursements are utter rubbish. There´s a handfull of these Hilton resorts and they´re likely all mediocre alike. And then you find yourself trying to find places and time and occassion to be in one of these mediocre resorts just because you need to burn 250$ for which you already paid. Same nonsense with the airline fees. Who´s paying these nowadays and for what?

  3. @John. While I sometimes have to discount Lucky’s valuations because he’s willing to spend way more time on things than me (I.e. calling Singapore Airlines to book an Alaska Air ticket using Kris Flyer miles) he’s dead on with his analysis of this card. The perks are actually really easy to use if you do a little research and the credits post fast. Only annoyance is delay in receiving the annual weekend night cert. A very solid card.

  4. Lucky, I used cash & points at Hilton PVR last month but I’ve yet to receive my $250 resort credit. I’m worried that all-inclusive properties aren’t included?

  5. After reading that list, what airline fees are officially allowed for reimbursement? It seems like just bag fees, seat selection and maybe food purchases and club fees. Ticket cancellation fees are usually taken out of the ticket price so those won’t post. Maybe an award cancellation fee might work, and only for one selected airline.

  6. Eric and John,

    You guys are off the mark here. As a business traveler, I have switched many of my stays to Hilton just due to their cards and promotions. As a Diamond, you earn more each stay even if you aren’t paying with the Aspire, and status helps with upgrades to better floors and executive lounges. If you have to travel to Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, LA, wherever for work, those $300/night stays at Hilton properties result in a ton of points. Hilton has a good footprint in Europe and some nice resorts globally for redemptions. And while Lucky (and others) discount the value of spending on the card outside of Hilton, a lot of people get value by putting some restaurant spend on the Aspire and putting grocery spend either an Ascend or the no fee Hilton card. Also, Hilton provides promotions for cardholders (triple points when booking Hiltons, extra points for holiday spend). The brilliance of this is that the benefits start accruing from the first night you stay; you can get real value out of this card with 10-20 paid nights at Hilton a year. Awesome product.

  7. Nun – Cash upgrade fees are also generally reimbursed. Basically any charge that AMEX’s system doesn’t recognize as a paid ticket should work.

  8. Do you know if the second annual free night certificate is issued on the anniversary date of the card? What I am trying to find out is if I could have 2 anniversary award nights a one time

  9. Thanks for the detailed article and links. I still can’t figure out what kinds of airline fees actually qualify for the $250 credit, though. Baggage? Food & beverage? I’d be hard pressed to spend that since I have status and those things are free for me. What would I or my friends/family do with $100 gift cards as you describe (which appear to be a fluke since the terms say gift cards aren’t reimburseable) – pay for baggage and drinks? I feel like I’m missing something….thanks.

  10. To each his own, but I LOVE this card. I typically stay each year at one of the resort properties covered by the $250 resort credit so no issues cashing it out (booked for next month) and I have little issues using the $250 airline fee credit. That’s already $500 in value for the $450 annual fee, not including the free weekend night and Diamond status.

  11. Looking forward to seeing the inevitable devaluation of the (already weakest-in-class) top tier Diamond benefits – can’t give away top tier status for free and not have any repercussions

  12. I love this card. Just last year I (1) used the $250 resort credit; (2) used the $250 airline credit to get my family of four into a Delta Club and then used the remaining amount for food on the plane; and (3) enjoyed Diamond status with access to club lounges and free breakfasts on a number of stays. Particularly with a family, the free breakfast is a great way to start the day, and being able to pop into the lounge for drinks and food at any time (and appetizers and adult beverages for the evening reception) saves a lot and is super convenient. I’ve also been upgraded on most stays, even here in the U.S. Additionally, the Diamond status perk of guaranteed room availability — even when a property is sold out — is incredibly helpful. I know that some will say that the price of such a room is high, but particularly when you’re travelling on business and absolutely have to be at a certain place on a certain day, that guarantee can be a life-saver.

    My only negative experience is when trying to use the credit for Waldorf and Conrad properties. While there was plenty of availability at the property on the dates that I wanted on the Hilton website, when I went to the special site needed to book to use the credit, the same property had no availability to use the credit — disappointing.

    @Jackie: Yes, you can have two certificates at once. I received my first certificate in March of 2018 and my second in October of 2018.

  13. Can you use the resort credit at the restaurants even if you’re not staying at the hotel? I’m staying at a non-Hilton hotel but I’d use the credit for dining if it’s allowed.

  14. There’s also numerous DP on the TUG (timeshare user group) forums, that the $250 resort credit kicks in when you pay your annual Maintenance Fees, if you’re a Hilton Grand Vacation Club owner.

  15. Whom should I call about updating my diamond status? The hotel or hilton CS? I ask because I have several Asia-Pacific stays upcoming that I booked before I applied for the aspire card to get diamond (I was a lowly gold). There is no easy free way to call the hotels themselves, and I don’t want to mess with Skype or anything.

  16. The resort credit has been difficult for me to use this last year, and it’s not for lack of trying. I used much of it successfully at a resort in California last July, and tried to use it at another one, which ended up disappearing off of the resort list shortly before my stay there.

    A third stay, at the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort earlier this month, posted successfully and hit my credit card, but the credit has yet to post. They’re going to give me the 8-12 weeks line, I’m sure, but I am having my suspicions as to whether they’ll actually grant it this year (or even at all).

  17. @Lucky. You are right. Amazing card for the perks. Just hope they last. This is one of the few cards that both my wife and I have separately so we will both be diamond. Also good so we can have two weekend certificates to use for a weekend trip.

  18. Anthony: Hilton has a good footprint in Europe? Hiltons footprint outside of the US is a sorry joke.

    Lucky: If you´re posting multiple comments with fake nicks, dont do it that obvious 😛

  19. Not necessarily true about existing reservations updating with new status. I had an existing reservation for the next day when I applied for the card 2 weeks ago and had already checked in online. I was immediately approved for the card and my status changed in my online Hilton account within minutes. When I arrived at the hotel I was greeted with an acknowledgment of my Diamond status.

  20. @ Lucky I agree with you that it is a great card and I sure love using this card. I am still waiting for my resort credit to hit on my account although it has been over a week. I guess the timing of it is not the same for everyone. Like @Mike has said: they gave me a corporate line answer, but instead of 8-12 weeks I got 14 days. Haha. For the free weekend free night certificate, you do need to call, but apparently the code is not necessary. The agent said he can see it all on his computer, so he can redeeem the night for you without it. I would still hold onto the code just in case.

  21. As is often the case, some hotels will play games with the free weekend night award. I tried using it at Aleph Rome Hotel, Curio Collection to no avail. It’s not on the excluded list in the link above, but I was told by the Hilton reservation line that they don’t have any “standard “ rooms period so not available. No way to ever use it there and I tried calling back and supposedly having the agent check with a supervisor.

  22. Ben-
    I had seen a comment from a post of someone who had a resort credit post for a random Hilton they stayed at (can’t recall which). Indeed it unknowingly happened to me at a ‘city’ property as well. Any rational as to what’s triggering this?

  23. I own at HGVC Las Vegas and the online payment of my annual maintenance fee triggers the resort credit. Also earns the 14x.

  24. The Hilton Aspire is one of the only hotel chain premium cards whose benefits (can) vastly exceed the high annual fee. The only downside for me is that applying for this card blocks me (due to 5/24) from the expiring World of Hyatt Visa 60K bonus point offer, but the Aspire was/is the superior card in my book.

  25. I look at every resort on the list. The odds of us using the resort credit could easily be described as 1 in 3 or more likely 1 in 4. So I value that at very, very little.

  26. Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is classified as a resort. Also a good use of weekend night awards as weekends tend to be more expensive in Las Vegas.

  27. Nice, but only if you live or have an address in the US.
    Fancy doing an article on UK credit cards as the perks are very, very poor even via Hilton/IHG etc?

  28. @Jackie

    Can you clarify this comment? I haven’t been about to find any info on this work around / hack:

    “Another cool thing about the card is the work around/hack to get 14 Hilton points on all spendings…”

  29. @Mike I was advised that you must stay at a Hilton Resort, have the bill put under your room, and paid with your Aspire card in order to get the credit. It can take a few weeks to get the credit.

  30. Agreed. The Aspire card is simply too good to be true. In fact, for the first time ever I am hoping travel blogger would refrain from telling everyone just how truly incredible something associated with Hilton Honors is for fear that it might be taken away too soon 😉

  31. @ Ben — Does the Hilton resort credit cover taxes and fees on a Hilton resort room? I am seeing a rate of about $230 for a desired stay and if the taxes are covered, I could use the whole $250. (Twice, including the FCQ’s card!)

  32. @SEAguy Before reading this post and your comment, I was curious about the WA LV so I looked it up on the Hilton Resorts page and it did not show up. Did you stay there and receive the resort credit?

  33. can i also apply for the Aspire card if i live in Germany. ?
    The Platinum card of Amex Germany has only the gold status inclusive.
    Thank you for an answer

  34. Love Hiltons. Stay in them all the time. This is a great card. Going to London soon; the Hyde Park Hilton or the Doubletree works for me. Though really like the Waldorf or the Paddington Hilton. Going to Chicago soon… Palmer House? San Francisco early next year Union Sq Hilton? New York, lots of nice Hiltons. Really like the free breakfasts! Maybe going to Las Vegas… Tropicana anyone?

    Diamond status? Why not? Airline amex stuff? Sure.

    Really good card.

  35. For the $250 resort credit, do you have to stay at the resort, or could you use this for dining on resort (while staying elsewhere), for example?

  36. There is a current Hilton 25% off sale for South East Asia properties and Cornad Bali is priced around $350 for two nights. But the catch is the rates are prepaid. Can I pay now for my stay in Aug and get $250 resort credit ? Please let me know your views as the sale ends this sunday

  37. The only issue I see as an “all around premium card” is the PP restaurant exception still makes the Sapphire Reserve a solid go to card. I have been using it as my everyday card since it’s beginning and every time I look around there still isn’t another card out there that can match it. For me traveling as much as I do that PP restaurant is a huge benefit.

    As for Hilton, other than some prime properties around the world domestically they’re so so.

  38. @Ram-I believe the resort credit benefit has to be processed and paid through the property itself as this promo and any other advance purchase (rate) is processed through Hilton’s Advance Purchase Department, which is separate. So it won’t qualify.

  39. Regarding the $250 resort credit, it is important to know the credit does not apply to prepaid/advance purchase rates – rate has to be charged at check out. Their website lists 243 resorts, of which 143 in the U.S. – many in FL. There seem to be quite a few options, so not sure why people are complaining about lack of value here. @380flyer, no – you have to be staying there and charge cost to room.

    Also, regarding the annual weekend night reward, this can only be applied when a standard room points redemption is available – however, when you call in to make a reservation, there may be a discrepancy between what the agent sees as availability vs what you can see online (this just happened to me) – may need to book the award and have another agent apply the certificate.

  40. @Will: “Regarding the $250 resort credit, it is important to know the credit does not apply to prepaid/advance purchase rates – rate has to be charged at check out.”

    While this is true for US-based resorts, it is not true for non-US resorts in many instances – those rates are often charged directly by the hotel and are, therefore, eligible for usage of the credit. I had a stay last month at the Rome Cavalieri where I was able to use the credit on a prepaid stay.

  41. @SEAguy I wouldn’t call the perks really easy to use by any means. The airline credit? There are soo many limitations on how you can use it and you have to select a particular airline from their list. Most of my trips are international so I am rarely using US domestic airlines that are included in their list even though I travel a fair amount. The resort credit? It only works at some properties. I was able to use my resort credit once out of a visit to several different countries. I found many of the included properties are not located in the most ideal locations and the times that there were properties where I was visiting they were noticeably subpar to other hotels choices in the area. Can people get value out of this card? Sure, but its not as easy as the blogger hype train makes it seem and the more of these cards that they push out the less useful diamond status will be. This card is ideal for people who are more than casual hilton guests on holiday, but don’t have enough hotel stays to get mid level status or better with other chains, or for people that are obligated to stay with Hilton.

  42. Lucky, I’m really curious what charges you were reimbursed from AA for the airline credit. You are EXP so you’re not paying for any baggage fees. Ever since the gift card loopholes got closed, I find Amex’s airline credit to be worth practically zero for most seasoned travelers.

  43. I designated American for my airline fee credit and used the entire credit for food at AA’s airport lounges for myself and my family. It’s a great way to get real food in the lounges, as well as better drinks. Also, there’s no way to get these items in the lounge unless you pay for them, regardless of status.

  44. Lucky, aren’t you missing a potentially lucrative benefit for people who stay at Waldorf and Conrad hotels? There’s a $100 property credit that you receive per stay, as many stays per year as you want. There’s a code you use when booking, or something like that. I’m going to the Waldorf in Vegas soon, which qualifies for the $250 resort fee. I didn’t use that $100 credit code when booking but I’ll mention at check-in and see if I get it.

    And to all the Hilton bashers: do me a solid and please, please don’t get this card and don’t stay at Hilton properties…ever.

  45. @ Ben — This card is amazing. Like Citi Prestige, it is too good to last and the fee and/or benefits are destined for enhancement.

  46. I read some DP’s that a JetBlue ticket under $150 would trigger the credit. So I purchased a one way ticket worth $ 140 on my Aspire card and I was reimbursed a couple of days later.

  47. I got the Aspire Card in September 2018 and stayed at the DoubleTree in San Juan, PR shortly afterwards, and it’s on the Hilton’s resort list, so I got all $250 credit for the stay. I didn’t know the HGV’s annual fee counts as resort credit. I just paid last week but no credit showed up yet.

    Since I got the card, I was upgrade a few times, but not every time. I do noticed that if I don’t check in using the app or online, I have a better chance to get an upgrade. For example, the Hilton in Tallin, Estonia does not have check-in online/app, so when I checked in early after the ferry from Helsinki, Finland, we got upgrade to a suite. Other time, when I checked in online, like Helsinki, we got no upgrades. But I’d say that we really enjoyed the free breakfast and lounge access, in which a lot of them offer cocktail/happy hour.

    Also, remember the bonus points offer in the later part of 2019 (3x bonus if you are Diamond member, and plus the 14x using Apire), a lot of points were earned during that time for me.

    And thanks Lucky to put this article up because you just reminded me to change the designated airline from Delta to United for 2020. I was getting gift card from Delta, but since that route is gone, I’ll go back to an airline I tend to use more frequently.

  48. I know the Aspire card has its fanbase, but I really cannot see this as a great card, because of all the hoops American Express makes you jump through to get all these benefits. Flyertalk is littered with people who tried to redeem a benefit and they weren’t at the “right kind” of Hilton.

    I’m open-minded to have my opinion changed, but it seems to me only a small % of travelers (not me) would get to use all the benefits in a year, and the Diamond status is worthless because I am already Diamond.

  49. It’s not a great time to apply as you just missed the opportunity to triple dip on the $250 airline fee credit, ie. get it in 1. December 2019, 2. During 2020, 3. January 2021… all for 1 annual fee as you can cancel/downgrade in month 13

  50. Lucky, you left out the $100.00 hotel credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hilton hotels. I called AMEX the other day to find out which benefits are based on calendar year or account year. They told me that when it comes to the $100.00 Waldorf/Conrad credit that it is revolving, one credit per stay. So you can use this more than once per year.

    I was surprised to get the $100.00 credit at the London Waldorf when it is actually classified as just a Hilton hotel and not part of Waldorf Astoria.

  51. Steve Case, don’t you have to book through a separate Waldorf/Conrad portal for a stay to be eligible for the $100 credit? If I cannot use my special rates, that _more_ than offsets the $100 savings.

  52. I love the Hilton Aspire card. It helped me get a free weekend night certificate for my stay at Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea in Maui. During that stay I charged all meals to the room and received the $250 resort credit easily. I also earned 34 points per dollar for the stay and earned 30,000 points when you account for the points promotion that they had. And the $250 airline credit is relatively easy to use. I just buy Southwest tickets one way that are less than $100 and they are credited. Easy peasy.

    You can easily get way more than the $450 worth from on the perks and benefits of this card!!!

  53. Hilton says you must book the Waldorf/Conrad stays through a certain site to obtain the credit, but that hasn’t been my experience. For example, last year I stayed at the Waldorf in Chicago, booked it through the generic Hilton site, and got the full $100 credit.

    I agree with those who like this card. Last year I used the free night, the $250 resort credit, the $100 Waldorf credit, and the $250 airline fee credit for food and drinks at AA’s lounges. That’s a free night, $600 in credits, plus all the Diamond status benefits — all for a $450 annual fee. It’s unreal.

    My only knock with the free night is that it must be used on a standard room. I typically book better rooms than that, so it’s limiting. I just have to hope I get upgraded due to Diamond status.

  54. @Joseph N.

    I talked to an Amex rep on the phone about this and she said to try mentioning the $100 credit when I check-in at the Waldorf in Vegas soon. Mine is an award stay that I booked on hilton.com just like any other Hilton stay. I’ll try to post again here after my stay, see if I got the $100.

  55. @Chris, I stayed at Rome Aleph in Oct 2018 and Oct 2019. I used free night certificate once there but cannot remember which year.

  56. @389flyer to activate the $250 resort credit, it must be on your portfolio when you checkout and paid with your AMEX Aspire Card. So, in other words it would not be possible to get the credit if you simply dine there without actually being a hotel guest of the resort.

  57. @Mike, the PVR Hilton AI is indeed listed on the official resort list as are the other AI. I suspect the issue Dino faced is that he did a Points & Money REWARD stay (which is essentially an award stay) and not an official PAID night. That would trigger the credit.

  58. @mike, I think you are lucky as my comment regarding prepaid/advance rates (nonrefundable) being excluded is directly from their T&Cs.

  59. All of this would be great if (2) things were true:

    (1) The high end properties ACTUALLY had an Executive Lounge (Spoiler Alert: They don’t)
    (2) You had a snowballs chance in the North Pole of actually EVER getting an upgrade.

    I am Hilton Diamond the hard way (nights) but – unlike some – I don’t care if the person next to me is Diamond through the card. That’s the gig.

    But…Hilton (and to be fair Marr Bon, World Hyatt, etc.) really need to start giving their highest elites more than window dressing!

  60. If it hasn’t already been said, the resort credit DOES NOT COUNT toward any advance purchase or non-refundable rates. It also may not trigger if you pay a deposit for a standard/refundable resort rate. I’m running into that issue right now.

  61. @Warrenb – Hyatt does actually offer and deliver tangibly better and different benefits for the Globalist level relative to Hilton/Marriott

  62. @Andrew R.: “If it hasn’t already been said, the resort credit DOES NOT COUNT toward any advance purchase or non-refundable rates.”

    It has been already said before, and it’s also been pointed out that this is not accurate – the advance purchase/non-refundable ineligibility with respect to the resort credit only applies to US resorts. For international resorts, the charge is typically made directly by the hotel, so the resort credit does apply.

    @will: “I think you are lucky as my comment regarding prepaid/advance rates (nonrefundable) being excluded is directly from their T&Cs.”

    There have been numerous documented examples in the comments here, as well as on FT, about the resort credit being applied differently for international resorts. I don’t know if I’m lucky so much as the T&Cs don’t handle the fact that international resorts (which charge advance stays directly) handle these stays differently than US-based ones (which are directly charged by Hilton).

  63. @Mike, will then this is a (useful) loophole.

    Here is the text:
    “Eligible Hilton Resort purchases must be made directly with the participating Hilton Resort and charged to your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card account for the benefit to apply. Advance Purchase Rates/Non-Refundable Rates are not eligible for the resort credit. Incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property) must be charged to your room and paid for with your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card at checkout in order for them to be recognized as Hilton Resort purchases.”

  64. @Mike-with respect to the advance purchase/non-refundable ineligibility resort credit only applying to US resorts, is it just anecdotal evidence that for an AP for an international resort, the charge is typically made directly by the hotel, so the resort credit does apply? I’m looking at one in Puerto Vallarta, MX. Granted, the AP price is only $18 and it’s just for one night so I wouldn’t want to rink the resort credit not posting, especially since I would have to look hand to find/manufacture another stay someplace else. But if it actually, works, then I’m all for saving a few $$ if I can. 🙂 Thanks

  65. Perhaps this just falls this way because it’s international, but last year about 4 months before our stay at the Conrad Bora Bora I confirmed the cash upgrade to OWV. Conrad charged it to my Amex, and the resort credit applied just a few days later.

  66. @DCS
    What benefits should we be using the Hilton Aspire Card example $100 Conrad/Waldorf credit

  67. The $100 conrad/waldorf credit is a scam…its not only the lowest rates. You’ll save more money using a AAA or other discount program.

    The airline fee credit is also crazy restrictive. Yet, no relief during COVID

    Stop hawking credit cards… feels like this blog only cares about is marketing these cards

  68. @Jason: I disagree with your comments. Even though I didn’t book at the required Conrad/Waldorf rates, I received the $100 credit for a stay at the Waldorf Chicago. I dined at the restaurant, so it’s possible the credit covered that expenditure, but it may have just been a credit because I stayed at the Waldorf.

    The airline fee credit is also easy to use, even if you’re elite and don’t need to spend on airline fees. I use the airline to buy food and drinks for me and my family when we visit American’s airport lounges. It’s no problem for a family of four to use the $250 credit with several trips over the course of a year, plus a few business trips for me.

    I also easily use the $250 resort credit, as there are numerous resorts and the card allows use of this credit towards restaurants in June through August of this year. Thus, I obtained $600 in credits, plus Diamond status and PP lounge access, all for a $450 fee. It’s a great card.

  69. @Lucky

    I just checked and I received my Aspire card June 27/2018.

    Is it possible I can get $250 restaurant credit in June and another $250 restaurant for July and August?

    That would be amazing!

  70. While I hold this card, the $250 airline restrictions that Amex places make it *very* difficult to use (especially now that the GC loophole is closed). I already hold an Amex Skymiles card, and every other airline CC so baggage is free already. Most of my flights don’t leave enough time to enjoy a lounge, let alone barely get to the connecting flight, so not sure how Lucky is able to make good use of it through “legal” means (I imagine he has status of some sort on almost every airline). WiFi purchases are difficult at best as well (depends on whether it goes directly to GoGo,etc. or via the Airline site).

    The $250 resort credit I’m able to to use via another loophole that us Hilton Vacation Club timeshare owners are able to enjoy. MOST of the maintenance fees are charged in a way that trigger the credit. Couple with the free night, and it’s about a break even (again, if the Airline credit were actually usable, it would be a stellar card, IMO).

    Perhaps Lucky should post a separate article on how he’s able to easily use the $250 Amex Aspire Airline credit (again “legal” means so that if Amex/etc. decides to close account,etc. he can have clean hands, unlike with the AA fiasco).

  71. Hi Lucky, As soon as my AF posted on this card in April,I called Amex and downgraded to an no AF hilton amex card. With that I only paid $1.24 AF that was prorated for 1 day. Am I now eligible for a free night on the card anniversary ?

  72. I don’t mind old posts being re-posted with updates, but having the old replies can be counter-productive, They are often incorrect or irrelevant with the passing of time.

    Will you still get full use of the Airline $250 since it can usually no longer be used for gift cards?

  73. Lucky – the rules on the resort credit have never been very clear. Do you have to use this credit while actually saying at the resort? Nowhere can I find this restriction, but I used the spa at the Waldorf in Vegas months ago (was staying elsewhere) and I still don’t have a credit. This is the only explanation that would make sense.

  74. I have this card for the last 3 years, and absolutely love it!

    I have stayed at the Conrad in India, Waldorf in LV, many Hiltons in the US, Germany, Switzerland, France and India.. absolutely fantastic!

    Besides all the goodies most of you had mentioned already, I also love the insurances covered for trip cancellation, baggage lost, phone damage/ lost, and rental car accidental coverage. It has has 1 yr additional warranty coverage and an extended 90-day return policy.

  75. @Jason
    All you need to do is book waldorf/conrad from hilton’s site. The $250 will automatically get deducted from your bill no matter what type of room you booked and at whatever rate you can find. The $100 applies to food and incidentals.

    to each their own but waldorf in amsterdam and paris were pretty sweet.

    Honestly, I don’t understand how people can whine and moan about this card. Though I love it because the fewer of you with the card the better I will be. I booked my flights every year and I get the $250 credit. Have done so for the last 3 times I used the credit. Have used the free night and $250 resort credit every year as well. If thats a lot of work and a lot of hassle to you lol I don’t know what to tell you. Your life must be full of difficult times.

    My only concern now is that I haven’t used 2020’s credits and don’t know if I will be able to. but I do know a good trick on making sure I get the $250 airline credit. Not going to share that because they will clamp that down in a heartbeat if too many people figure it out. The resort credit and the $100 waldorf/conrad may just disappear this year for me.

  76. For those of you that are whining about Hilton and their card, go get a tissue and wipe your eyes. This card is great, I am a Hilton fan, I also have lifetime gold at Marriott. I have earned millions of Hilton points the hard way and diamond the hard way for several years. It is nice not to have to worry about how many nights or dollars spent or base points earned. I almost always get upgraded. Hilton’s footprint in Europe IS nice and the brand hotels are actually nicer in Europe than in the U.S. The nicest hotel I have ever stayed at was Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Cavalieri in Rome. I did it on points and they have the best executive lounge going.

  77. @Billy2011 — I do not think much about the WA/Conrad credit because it is not as valuable. I know I got it once automatically because I booked a premium rather than a standard room on revenue:

    Dec 9 Credit HILTON CONRAD CHICAGO -$70.00

    I was pleasantly surprised as I’d simply booked the room, but not because of the credit.

  78. @Mary – You have to be on a stay. This is from the T&C for the Amex Aspire Resort credit.

    “Incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property) must be charged to your room and paid for with your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card at checkout in order for them to be recognized as Hilton Resort purchases.”

  79. The resort credit is not valuable for me because the number of “Hilton resorts” in locations I want to visit is zero or far from city center. Hilton Worldwide has a list of resorts that qualifies for the $250 resort credit and it is limited (note having “resort” appear in the hotel’s name doesn’t necessarily qualify that hotel for the resort credit). For a person whose travel has fallen substantially a few years ago (not due to COVID), the statement credits Amex provides on the Aspire card (resort, airline) does not justify the $450 annual fee. That being said, I can see use of the card, say a year before an international trip to make use of the sign up bonus, free weekend night, and diamond status for a stay at its high end hotels such as Conrad or Waldorf Astoria. To sweeten the benefits, Amex should add a GE credit and add’l points for restaurants worldwide.

  80. @John , the benefits are exceptional overseas from US especially in Asia. The Doubletree in Sanya on Hainan island in China was spectacular. An upgrade to a one bedroom suite was bigger than most apartments I’ve lived. With free breakfast, free shuttle, free cocktails, etc. And an upgrade at the Tokyo Conrad was just as impressive. Hilton resorts in US pale in comparison.

  81. I’ve never seen so many people read an article about a product that doesn’t interest them and then take the time to tell other people how disinterested they are.

  82. Any card is definitely YMMV but this is by far my favorite card (especially for the past two years). Both my wife and I have this card and pretty much because of this card been to two once in a life time trips that I never would think we could have done. We used it for both Bora Bora and Maldives. We also have some basic to amazing benefits at Conrad Tokyo, Hilton Tokyo Bay, Conrad Macau, Hilton Moorea, and Conrad Dubai. We were supposed to use it this year for Conrad Ko Samui but I guess we will wait until we are back to normal. Not saying this card is amazing for everyone but definitely amazing for us!!

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