Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Note: American Express is a Frequent Miler advertiser, but we always show the best public offer even when we don't earn a commission. Please see our Advertiser Disclosure.

Card Details and Application Link
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
160K Points + free night certificate ⓘ Non-Affiliate
160K after $6K spend in first 6 months. Free night certificate every year - first certificate is awarded 8-12 weeks after approval. Terms apply.
$550 Annual Fee

Click Here to Apply
This is NOT an affiliate offer. We always present the best offer even when it means less revenue for Frequent Miler
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: This card is loaded with valuable perks that are more than worth the card's annual fee if you stay in Hilton resorts at least twice per year.
Earning rate: ✦ 14X Hilton spend ✦ 7X US restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, select car rental companies ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases ✦ Terms & Limitations Apply.
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Travel: 7X (3.36%)
Dine: 7X (3.36%)
Brand: 14X (6.72%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Additional free night awards after $30K and $60K spend in calendar year
Noteworthy perks: ✦Annual Free Night Reward every year upon renewal ✦ Free Diamond Status ✦ Up to $400 Hilton Resort Credit per membership year ($200 semi-annually) ✦ $200 Flight Credit ($50 per quarter for purchases directly with airlines or via Amex Travel) ✦ $100 on-property credit w/ Aspire Card package ✦ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

Hilton Honors Aspire Application Tips


Amex Application Tips



  • Safe to Apply: Amex is the safest bank for trying your luck at earning a new welcome bonus offer. They don’t usually issue a hard pull when denying your application, and if you already have an Amex card, they won't usually issue a hard pull when approved for another one. Plus, they’ll now warn you during the application process if you’re not eligible for the bonus.

  • Lifetime Rule: If you've ever had the same card before, you are most likely prohibited from earning a welcome bonus offer for the card if you apply now. Fortunately you'll be warned during the application process if this is the case. Amex is known to "forget" that you've had a card after about 7 years.

  • 90 Day Rule: You can get at most two credit cards within 90 days. This rule does not apply to Pay Over Time (charge) cards.

  • 5 credit card max: Amex usually won't approve applications for new credit cards if you already have 5 or more Amex credit cards or 10 or more charge cards.

  • Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.

  • Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day


Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration: 877-399-3083 (new accountholders); 866-314-0237 (current accountholders)


Should you apply?

The Amex Hilton Honors Aspire card offers a very impressive collection of benefits, including Diamond Elite Status, $400 in Hilton Resort Credits, $200 in airline credits and a free night certificate that can be used at almost any Hilton property in the world. If you can make use of all of that, the card’s benefits can easily outweigh the hefty $550 annual fee.

Are you eligible?

Amex is usually the safest bank for trying your luck at earning a new welcome offer. Most of the time, they won’t issue a hard pull when denying your application or when approving you if you already have at least one Amex card. Plus, they’ll warn you during the application process if you’re not eligible for the bonus.

If you’ve ever had a card before, you are most likely prohibited from earning a welcome offer for that same card if you apply now. Fortunately you’ll be warned during the application process if this is the case. Amex is known to “forget” that you’ve had a card after about 5-7 years. Note that there are frequently offers with no lifetime language (NLL) that aren’t bound by this restriction.

Amex normally only allows customers to have five credit cards and ten charge cards at one time. Both personal and business cards count towards the respective five and ten card limits. There are some instances where certain customers have been allowed to go above those limits.

Application status

After you apply, call (877) 239-3491 to check your application status or use this link.

Reconsideration

If your application is denied, we recommend calling for reconsideration (800) 567-1083. It’s surprising how often denials can be changed to approvals just by asking.

Hilton Honors Aspire Credit Card Perks

Hilton Honors Diamond Elite Status

Automatic Diamond status is an awesome perk that comes with this card.  You can find Hilton’s list of elite benefits here.  To summarize:

  • Silver5th night free awards2 free bottles of water per stay; 15% points bonus for stays
  • Gold: Silver benefits, plus free room upgrade (depending on availability); free internet; free breakfast (food and beverage credit within the US) at most properties; 25% points bonus for stays
  • Diamond: Gold benefits, plus 50% points bonus for stays, plus guaranteed Executive Floor Lounge access and a 48 hour room availability guarantee

As you can see above, Diamond status doesn’t offer a lot beyond Gold status, but both are valuable for the free breakfasts, room upgrades, and bonus points.  And at some properties the Diamond guaranteed Executive Floor Lounge access can be great.

Travel Benefits

  • Annual Free Night Certificate (cardmember year): Good for one night in a standard room at almost any Hilton property in the world (see list of exclusions here).
  • Annual $400 Resort Credit ($200 semi-annually): Valid towards any room charges made at a Hilton resort property (full list here) as long as you pay with your Amex Hilton Aspire card upon checking out of a participating hotel.
  • Annual $200 Airline Credit ($50 quarterly): Good towards any airline charges, including airfare when booked through an airline or amextravel.com. Must pay with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • CLEAR Credit: Receive up to $189 in statements credits each year for CLEAR when you use your Hilton Aspire card.
  • National Car Rental Executive Status: This lets you pick a nicer car from the Executive Aisle instead of the usual Emerald Aisle.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Book a 2 night minimum stay at hiltonhonorsaspirecard.com or by calling Hilton Honors at (855) 292-5757 and get up to $100 in hotel credits at participating Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties (rates are usually higher than booking the best available member rate),

Lounge Access (ends 2/1/24)

  • Priority Pass: Cardholders currently have access to the same Priority Pass Select that Amex provides on other cards, but this will end on 2/1/24.

Travel Protections

  • Auto Rental Coverage: The Aspire offers secondary auto rental CDW (collision damage waiver), which means that it applies after your personal car insurance. If you aren’t covered by personal car insurance, it acts as the primary policy.
  • Trip Delay Insurance: If you pay for your round-trip airfare with your Aspire Card, you can get up to $500 in reimbursements for expenses if your travel is delayed by six or more hours. Maximum 2 claims per rolling 12 months.
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance: If you purchase a round trip entirely with your Aspire Card and a covered reason cancels or interrupts your trip, your non-refundable expenses can be reimbursed, up to $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per 12 consecutive month period.

Cell Phone Insurance

  • If you pay your cell phone bill with your Hilton Honors Aspire card, you’re insured if your cell phone is stolen or damaged.
    • You must have paid with your card in the billing cycle before the month the incident occurs.
    • Cell phone coverage applies to all lines listed on the account.
    • There is a $50 deductible and maximum of $800 per claim.

Purchase Protection

  • Return Protection: You may return eligible purchases to American Express if the seller won’t take them back, up to 90 days from the date of purchase. Max $300/item, $1000/year.
  • Purchase Protection: Protects covered purchases made on your card when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost, for up to 90 days from the covered purchase date.
  • Extended Warranty: Provides up to one extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty. Applies to warranties of 5 years or less. Coverage is up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per cardmember account per calendar year.

Earn Points with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Welcome Bonus

This card earns Hilton Honors Points. Here’s the current welcome offer:

Card Offer
160K Points + free night certificate ⓘ Non-Affiliate
160K after $6K spend in first 6 months. Free night certificate every year - first certificate is awarded 8-12 weeks after approval. Terms apply.
$550 Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Refer Friends

American Express is probably the most generous card issuer when it comes to referral bonuses. Most Hilton Honors cards currently have a maximum of 140,000 Hilton Honors points (per card) that can be earned each calendar year from referrals.

Bonus Spend

Card Info Name and Earning Rate (no offer)
Earning rate: ✦ 14X Hilton spend ✦ 7X US restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, select car rental companies ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases ✦ Terms & Limitations Apply.
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Travel: 7X (3.36%)
Dine: 7X (3.36%)
Brand: 14X (6.72%)

Redeeming Hilton Honors Points

Hilton eliminated award charts several years ago and pricing is now variable. Hilton instead offers the Hilton Points Explorer tool that purportedly shows the minimum price of a standard room at each hotel in the Hilton Honors program.

Unfortunately, when the tool launched we showed that it isn’t very reliable (See: Hilton’s junky new Points Explorer tool isn’t always accurate). The tool does not always accurately reflect the minimum price. For example, a recent search of the tool showed a minimum price of 67,000 points per night for a property, but clicking through to view dates showed dates in the coming months from 54,000 points.

Hilton Honors “5th Night Free” awards

Hilton offers the 5th night free on standard room points award stays for those with Silver status or higher. The Hilton Honors Terms & Conditions state that “After the 5th Night Free benefit is applied, eligible members will be charged 0 points for the 5th night, 10th night, 15th night, and 20th night of the stay, as applicable.” You can get a maximum of 4 free nights in a single stay (i.e. at a maximum, you would get 4 free nights on a 20-night stay). However, a member can utilize this benefit an unlimited number of times during the year.

Note that the way Hilton calculates and displays the price on 5th night free stays can be confusing. Essentially, Hilton prices each night at 4/5ths of the cost of an award night, though the average nightly cost of a 5-night stay may not be the same as the price of booking 5 nights separately. The best practice is to search nights both as a 5-night stay and individually to be sure you get the best deal. See: Hilton’s funny math: save points by extending a stay and Hilton stinks at math: book award nights separately for more on this topic.

Points & Money awards

Hilton offers members the chance to book an award using a mixture of points and money. Members can use points in increments of 1,000 points to offset the cost of a stay. When using points & money, points will offset the cash cost at a rate just below the ratio of the paid room rate to the award night cost.

In other words, if a $100 stay costs 20,000 points, the value of points in that instance is half a cent per point. If a member uses points to partially offset the cost of the stay, the points will reduce the cost by just under half a cent per point (i.e. using 10,000 points will reduce the cash cost by a little less than $50).

How to Manage Hilton Honors Points

How to share Hilton Honors points with others

Hilton Honors allows members to transfer points to other members or pool points with a group. You can find the options shown above by logging in to your account at Hilton.com and choosing the “Points” tab at the top.

Note that each Hilton Honors Member is limited to sending no more than five hundred thousand (500,000) Points and receiving two million (2,000,000) Points via Points Pooling or Transfers combined per calendar year. Also, each member is limited to making six transfers to other member accounts and six Hilton Points Pooling transactions per calendar year.

If you simply want to move points from one account to another (perhaps from one spouse to another), you can “transfer points” to another member. You’ll need to verify your account with a code sent to the email address on file and then enter the name, email address, and Hilton Honors account number of the recipient.

If you want to share points amongst a larger group (like a family), Hilton Honors also allows points pooling whereby you can share points with up to 10 other members. Each member can transfer up to 500,000 points into a pool in a calendar year and an individual member can receive up to 2,000,000 points in a calendar year. You must have been a member for at least 30 days and have at least 1,000 points in your account to join a pool. Note that while the original program announcement suggested that pooled points are available immediately but “may take up to 24 hours” to be reflected in your account, my experience has been that this really varies. Sometimes, pooled points move instantly. Sometimes, it can take several days for pooled points to transfer and other times transfers have sometimes failed without reason. It is advisable to initiate pooling or transfers in advance when possible.

How to keep Hilton Honors points alive

Points expire after 24 months of inactivity.  Fortunately, almost all points activity will reset the clock.  Points remain alive and available as long as you earn or use points at least once every 24 months.

Some examples of activity that would keep points alive:

  • Earning from a stay
  • Using a Hilton credit card
  • Purchasing points
  • Transferring from Amex Membership Rewards
  • Earning from the Hilton Dining program
  • Shopping with points at Amazon
  • Earning points from a car rental
  • Donating Hilton points to charity

Hilton Aspire: Keep, cancel, or product change?

Is this card worth keeping in the long run? The Amex Hilton Honors Aspire card offers a very impressive collection of benefits.  If you stay in Hilton a Hilton resort even once a year, then I’d argue that the card’s benefits outweigh it’s $550 annual fee.  That said, we don’t recommend using it for spend anywhere except at Hilton properties (where it earns 14X) and for airfare (in order to claim up to $200 in airline reimbursements each year).  Other card combinations are much more rewarding for spend.

Hilton Aspire Downgrade Options

The Amex Hilton portfolio offers downgrade possibilities for those who don’t want to pay the annual fee, but also would prefer not to cancel the card. This can be especially useful if you won’t be travelling (or using the card’s benefits) for an extended period as you can downgrade to a lower or no-annual fee card, then upgrade back to the Aspire again when you need it.

There’s two different options listed below: the no-annual fee Hilton Honors card and the $150 Hilton Surpass card. The Surpass comes with Gold status, which still gets you breakfast and food & beverage credits, as well as $200 in annual Hilton credits. That would probably be our first choice if you wanted to downgrade, but were still planning on travelling. Otherwise, the no-annual fee card is your best bet.

Related Cards

Card Offer and Details
160K Points + free night certificate ⓘ Non-Affiliate
160K after $6K spend in first 6 months. Free night certificate every year - first certificate is awarded 8-12 weeks after approval. Terms apply.
$550 Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
FM Mini Review: This card is loaded with valuable perks that are more than worth the card's annual fee if you stay in Hilton resorts at least twice per year.
Earning rate: ✦ 14X Hilton spend ✦ 7X US restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, select car rental companies ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases ✦ Terms & Limitations Apply.
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Travel: 7X (3.36%)
Dine: 7X (3.36%)
Brand: 14X (6.72%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Additional free night awards after $30K and $60K spend in calendar year
Noteworthy perks: ✦Annual Free Night Reward every year upon renewal ✦ Free Diamond Status ✦ Up to $400 Hilton Resort Credit per membership year ($200 semi-annually) ✦ $200 Flight Credit ($50 per quarter for purchases directly with airlines or via Amex Travel) ✦ $100 on-property credit w/ Aspire Card package ✦ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees
140K points ⓘ Non-Affiliate
140K after $3K spend in 6 months. Terms apply.
$150 Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Recent better offer: 130K + free night certificate after $2K spend in 3 months [Expired 7/19/23]
FM Mini Review: Easy way to secure Hilton Gold status (which offers free breakfast among other perks). Those who want Diamond status may be better off with the Aspire card.
Earning rate: ✦ 12X Hilton spend ✦ 6X U.S. restaurants, US Supermarkets, and US gas stations ✦ 4X U.S. Online Retail Purchases ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Dine: 6X (2.88%)
Gas: 6X (2.88%)
Grocery: 6X (2.88%)
Shop: 4X (1.92%)
Brand: 12X (5.76%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus:
✦ Free night award after $15K spend in calendar year ✦ Diamond elite status with $40K calendar year spend ✦ Terms apply
Noteworthy perks: Free Gold status. Diamond status w/ $40K spend. ✦ Up to $200 in Hilton credits ($50 per quarter) ✦ Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
130K Points ⓘ Affiliate
130K after $3K spend in 3 months. Terms apply.
$95 Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: Easy way to secure Hilton Gold status (which offers free breakfast among other perks). Amex business cards do not count towards 5/24 status so will not hurt chances of applying for Chase cards.
Earning rate: ✦ 12X Hilton spend ✦ 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases (flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel; car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; US restaurants; US gas stations; wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service provider; US shipping purchases) ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Travel: 6X (2.88%)
Dine: 6X (2.88%)
Gas: 6X (2.88%)
Phone: 6X (2.88%)
Biz: 6X (2.88%)
Brand: 12X (5.76%)
Other: 6X (2.88%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus:
Free night award after $15K spend in calendar year and another after $60K spend

Diamond elite status with $40K calendar year spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free Gold status. Diamond status w/ $40K spend. ✦ 10 free Priority Pass lounge visits per calendar year ✦ Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
90K after $2K spend in 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
No Annual Fee
Information about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
Recent better offer: 70K + free night certificate after $2K spend in 3 months. [Expired 7/19/23]
FM Mini Review: This card isn't particularly rewarding, but it's good to keep primarily for targeted Amex upgrade offers to the Surpass card.
Earning rate: ✦ 7X Hilton spend ✦ 5X US restaurants, US Supermarkets, and US gas stations ✦ 3X on all other eligible purchases
Base: 3X (1.44%)
Dine: 5X (2.4%)
Gas: 5X (2.4%)
Grocery: 5X (2.4%)
Brand: 7X (3.36%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Gold elite status with $20K calendar year spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free Silver status; Gold status with $20K spend. ✦ Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

66 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments