[Expired] Aspire w/ first-year fee waived!


It’s dead, Jim. The waived fee offer is gone.

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A reader in our Frequent Miler Insiders group has shared with us an offer for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card that has the standard welcome bonus but waives the annual fee for the first year. That’s huge since the benefits on this card already outweigh the annual fee. Saving $450 in year 1 is icing on the cake. Note the caution section below for a couple of key things to consider.

The beach at the Conrad Bora Bora, where I used an Aspire free weekend night this year.

The Offer

Click the card information below to go to our dedicated Frequent Miler page for the card, where you can find more information and an application link for the most current offer.

Card Offer

Key Card Details

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

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 once per year, and other Hilton properties a few times a year..

Annual Fee: $450

Card Type: Amex Credit Card


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.

Big spend bonus: Second free weekend night after $60K spend in calendar year

Noteworthy perks: ⚬Annual Weekend Night Reward upon approval and every year upon renewal ⚬ Free Diamond Status ⚬ Priority Pass w/ 2 free guests ⚬ $250 Hilton Resort Credit per membership year ⚬ $250 Airline Incidental Fee Credit per calendar year ⚬ $100 on-property credit w/ Aspire Card package ⚬ Terms Apply. See Rates & Fees

See also: Amex Hilton Aspire In-Depth Review

Quick Thoughts

Update: As noted at the top of the post, the offer with the fee waived in the first year is no longer available.

In last week’s Frequent Miler on the Air broadcast/podcast, Greg and I discussed the recent major devaluation to the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite that changed it from having benefits that far outweigh the annual fee to a card that isn’t worth keeping. In that discussion, Greg asked whether there are any other ultra-premium cards with benefits that far outweigh the annual fee. The clear answer was the American Express Hilton Aspire card. With its annual $250 airline incidental credit, $250 Hilton resort credit, free weekend night at almost any Hilton property in the world, and automatic Hilton Diamond status, one can easily get far more than $450 in value out of the card, making it well worth keeping in my opinion.

Picking up all of those benefits with no annual fee in year one looks like an amazing offer to me. Add the welcome offer on top of all that and I think this offer becomes such a good deal as to even be worth a 5/24 slot. As I said in our broadcast last week, I think this card is worth $450. I think it would still be worth it if Amex charged another hundred bucks. I’d be thrilled to test drive it for a year with no fee.

Grounds at the Conrad Bora Bora, bookable with your free weekend night certificate.


However, to temper your excitement a bit, I’ll note a couple of things: First, on the application landing page, the card shows an annual fee of $450 — the waived fee is not noted in the marketing lingo on the landing page. However, if you click the “rates & fees” link under “More information”, you’ll see that the rates and fees page clearly lists a fee of $0 for the first year, then $450.

If you decide to apply, I recommend taking a screen shot / printing those rates and fees to a PDF so you have them saved to show down the road that the offer clearly said $0 for the first year. I think it’s reasonable to expect that the first year fee will indeed be $0, though I’d rather have copies to make my argument later in case Amex tries to say that the fee is not waived.

Second, the reader who shared this with us found it on reddit, where many people are reporting getting the Amex no-bonus-for-you popup for the first time and quite a few folks have had applications go pending. However, there are also people reporting approval. YMMV.

Bottom line

This is a terrific offer. I wouldn’t expect it to last long. If you’ve had this card on your radar, I think this is hard to pass up. See our dedicated card page for this card by clicking the card information under “The Deal” to find more information about this card and a direct link to the application. Note that you will be prompted to log in to your Amex account to apply, but you can hit “continue without logging in” to apply without logging in if you prefer and/or don’t have an Amex account.

H/T: Reader Mauro

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[…] follow-up with Amex if you were somehow charged more than you should be. Given that they did offer the Aspire card with no annual fee briefly (long since expired) almost exactly a year ago and they did honor that offer without any push back, […]

[…] in recent years off the top of my head. I was able to jump on the Hilton Aspire card offer when Amex temporarily waived the annual fee the first year, but I’d take this Chase Sapphire Reserve offer over that Aspire offer any day of […]

[…] in recent years off the top of my head. I was able to jump on the Hilton Aspire card offer when Amex temporarily waived the annual fee the first year, but I’d take this Chase Sapphire Reserve offer over that Aspire offer any day […]


Did anyone actually get their points deposited from this yet? I have not… strange delay…

[…] as we’d have access to the Executive Lounge now that I’m a newly minted Diamond member thanks to this deal. For it being an airport hotel, it was a decent stay and it was closer to downtown than many other […]


Just an FYI, statement got cut to December 6. So you can triple dip travel credits as well, assuming they don’t change it to card member year before next year.


By when would we have to use the airline fee credits for this year? By the November statement that gets published let’s say Dec 6th? What happens to airline fees between Dec 6th and Dec 31st? Are they applied for next year’s benefits?


Just got my card ups overnight, a little surprised, paperwork with card shows af 0 first year, 450 second year.. now to get to the spend requirement, which will be done in a week.


Since I missed the boat on this one, I’m wondering how I can be “targeted” for an upgrade on my Amex Hilton Surpass Card. I’m at the end of year 2 and my AF just posted a week ago. I have until 11/24 (30 days after) to cancel/downgrade and get a refund of that AF. I’d love to upgrade to the Aspire card, but don’t want to pay the $450 AF. When I login my AMEX account, I don’t see any offers for an upgrade with an AF waiver. Just an upgrade but it still shows the AF of $450. I’m thinking of downgrading to the regular Hilton Card (no AF), but then I’d also miss out on the 80k SUB with that card (I had it once, back in 2005 and closed it 2 ya when I opened my Surpass card).

If I can’t get any targeted upgrades to the Aspire card with no AF, can I just downgrade my Surpass card to the No fee version AND open up a no fee AMEX (on the same day) to get the 80k SUB? I have about 7k in Hilton points on this last statement of my Surpass card, so don’t want to just close it completely or I’ll lose those points (to my understanding). If I downgrade, I believe I won’t lose those points.


Unless you use a NLL application, there’s a good chance Amex will reject you for the SUB on the $0 AF Hilton card due to lifetime rules, since it’s only been 2 years since you cancelled the card.


what’s an NLL application? When I login my AMex account, I do see the 80k SUB offered for the $0AF card. not sure if that just shows up for everyone or if that means I am eligible for the SUB. Not sure what happens if I apply through that. it’s not like I can get that and “downgrade”. So I presume it would be a brand new card, independent and unrelated to my current surpass Card


Just because you see the offer, doesn’t necessarily mean you are eligible for the SUB. NLL=no lifetime language.

By the way, you will not automatically lose your HH points if you do not hold a Hilton card. Typically HH points expire after 12 months of inactivity.


Re: NLL thanks for clarifying. re: losing my hilton points, I was referring to the points I would earn on this last months statement from my Surpass Card. I have about 6k points pending. I understand if I cancel my Surpass card, those points would be forfeited and not credited to my HIlton Honors account. (not the points I already have in my Hilton Honors account)

Re: Offers I see, how far will it let me go if I’m not eligible for the SUB? Will it go so far as approving me for the card and then later saying, “here’s your card, but sorry, you didn’t get the SUB b/c xyz reason”.. Or will it actually make it clear before I finalize my application that I’m not eligible? Don’t want to waste a CC application and approval if I don’t get the SUB


Amex will give you a popup to let you know if you’re ineligible for the bonus.


No Lifetime Language


Saw this too late unfortunately. Nor sure if this is useful, but I checked a couple times this morning and it appears that the Aspire card has been completely removed from the Amex website (the other 2 personal Hilton cards are still there). I assume card takedown was their quick solution to stopping this. Since this was such a good offer, it’s a long shot but probably worth giving the links another try after the Aspire is back online. A card takedown might also be the reason people with upgrade offers saw them disappear or not work properly or got the popup.


True, but there are other links still available to apply for the Aspire… i.e. the Hilton website. No AF waiver though 🙁


OK, but what’s the point if there is no AF waiver? If I wanted the Aspire with the fee, I’d just wait for Amex to bring it back online.


I’m just saying that the card wasn’t taken down completely

Joel smith

For those of us who are stuck in 2/90 and who applied anyways… application said rejected, but obviously we can recon once one of our cards falls off. Do you think we will be able to keep the waived AF T&Cs or would you think the “correct” T&Cs get applied?


People who got denied and had to recon due to 5CC rule are still showing the waived AF, if that’s any indication.

[…] a notice came in from Nick Reyes at Frequent Miler: Aspire w/ first-year fee waived! Next, Miles To Memories shared: Hilton Aspire Card, 150K Offer with Waived Annual Fee. If you […]


Alot of people throw out the term “deal of the year”…this may have been it. Crazy good deal for absolutely zero fee. Thanks for the heads up.


I think your spot on – even with pop-up and no SUB ( but also no MSR) this is on par with Triple-dipping the FYF Amerprise Pt RIP

This deal also probably broadly available to most people (unless your 2/90 or @5 CC w/AmEx)

Only deal I can think that was better was
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards deal that ended 3.31.19 w/$200 cb with $1K spend x 10 AU – $2200 with $11k MSR.and it was a MC to boot.
But approvals are another story had to wait 3 days for UW -with EIN/SP didn’t apply the “business” in my name route for this one – as had a US bank biz acct already under EIN.

Personally I see plenty value to give up a 5/24 slot – will be 4/24 when this hits CR then I have one slot left till 10/2020.

Think that a refresh for Hilton cards is coming or a minor change like hit the Delta cards with benefit changes and possibly an AF hike across Hilton cards (would love to see Centurion access like Reserve -now that we are Pt free ATM till we upgrade a Biz card.


This deal was, at least, comparable with the USB cash rewards one. $500 in airline credits, $500 in resort credits, give or take $750 in HH points, and 1 or 2 FNCs with HH diamond to top it off? If you could maximize the HH points and FNCs, even better than the USB deal. I’d also argue that this one required less work, as finding 10 AUs to add could be problematic, I’d imagine.


Thanks for the heads up! I’m a Hyatt guy, but with a $0 AF for the first year, agree this is a no brainer. Even at lol/24 (I know it’s not specifically an AmEx thing) I was approved instantly.

Movie Mikey

Approved for the 150k points and the first year $450 fee waived. Thanks Nick!


Wife’s said preapproved, showed the no annual fee, but she got the message “Thank you for applyong, we’ll get back to you within 14 days”. Weird, because she always gets instantly approved. Anyone else getting that message? If so, are you waiting or calling?


Ok. She called and they said pending. But she got approval email now. All good.


Same for me. Normally get approved, saw “pre-approved”, got the 14-days message. Going to wait.


Watch your email. She got hers within a couple hours.


Hah, I checked my email and right on cue… approval!


Interesting datapoint, I have an upgrade offer from my Surpass card for 150,000 points, and I was logged in to my Amex account when I clicked through the link to apply. It told me I was pre-approved for this offer with the annual fee waived, but when I actually applied, I got the popup box many others have gotten telling me I am not eligible for the sign-up bonus.


Same here. Wonder if it would work if I cancel the Surpass first? I’ll probably just take the upgrade offer, since I missed it the last time and it won’t take a spot, but would have been nice to save the $450.


I applied for the Aspire, and when I was approved, I canceled the Surpass. I just got my card in the mail and the first year waived language is on the cardmember agreement.


I already have the card and the annual fee just posted. Can I close the existing card and open this one, just to save the $450 fee? (Obviously I won’t get the welcome bonus)


Call and ask if u want to keep the card .
Do a Deal Deal !!!



Can I refer my wife to get this card and get referral in addition to her card bonus?


Does the not eligible pop up appear after you apply or when you first navigate to the page? I was able to get to the offer via my Amex login, just trying to figure out if I could get burned after I submit the application.


on the final step if you are subj to that penalty, the site gives you an option whether you still want to proceed. You can stop the process at that point.

Erika Hamilton

Are people still getting the free night certificate on sign up or only after the first year now?


You mean the $250 spend credit is based on Calendar Year?

The fear in my little mind is, this obviously is a leaked targeted offer link. Based on how AMEX treated such in the past, even months down the road, I am not comfortable to say the Welcome bonus would stick even after issued.
The other benefits should stay I believe.


Resort credit is based on Membership year, same with the Free weekend night credit. Now the Airline credits are Calendar year so $500 for first 12 months for airline.

FWIW, if you don’t get the pop-up and have never gotten the SUB for the Aspire card, shouldn’t be an issue – I got the pop-up but applied anyway as the other benefits are worth it esp FYF and 13 months as a Diamond before cancelling.

FWIW I logged in and requested Card member Agreement under account options.

I downloaded pdf of personalized Card member agreement with Name, CL, Acct ending in XXX/ Show’s $0 AF for first year, as well as all the other T&Cs.

The card member agreement that is in place is in essence a contract, and DFA (dodd frank act) as prohibits them charging one penny more than the agreement at sign up for personal cards – that is why PC usually have to wait one year.

I app’d the new Gold card last Oct 2018 when it was FYF (2 days before reboot launch) Card member agreement $0AF first year then $195 ($95 for SPG card) both AF just billed at Card member agreement (even tho now AF are $250 and $125 – but next year they will be at those rates. Not sure they can claw back HH points after transfer or DL Skymiles after transfer, MR definitely


Thanks, I’d been debating a Hilton card for a while and this pushed me over the edge to get it. Looking forward to the benefits, and this probably will re-align my stays for next year.


Got the pop-up… So if I apply today with no SUB, would I be eligible for the SUB later if I’ve had the card before without SUB? Or would I likely never qualify for the card’s SUB again anyways?


I’m seeing the I won’t get the welcome bonus pop-up. The exact wording is:
MATTHEW, based on your history with credit card balance transfers, American Express welcome offers, introductory APR offers, or the number of Cards you have opened and closed, you are not eligible to receive the welcome offer.

I can’t find the reddit link where they’re discussing this message. I opened a Chase business card within about 2 months ago but no new Amex card for a long time.


Don’t feel bad – both me and P#2 got the same message – but we have opened 7 AmEx cards since 7.1.19 – so I was’nt surprised at the pop-up. If I had to guess since this wasn’t a public link that it was more targeted to AmEx virgins.


My player 2 just got approved with no message about not getting the bonus. And the thing is she applied for a personal platinum way after I did (and cancelled more recently). The last application I had with Amex was maybe 2 years ago. Oh well, at least 1 of us got it.


Been Busy I see ..


LOL, CaveDweller, nah were just two ducks floating on a pond but the water is kinda of muddy – 😉 but our little webbed feet are churning away – 30+ cards past 30 months but we’ve stayed at 5/24 or below.

Almost freaked out after seeing the AmEx shutdowns post from Reddit that coincidence with today Aspire link. Thinking it was a Honeypot – but the Pop-up eliminates a great majority of Churner’s


My waters are really Muddy 10 years doing this !! Chase loves and Hates me Amex loves everything living BUT a one niter only deal . Citi and Barclay”s are True Love for this week..
Keep Going But Be Careful !!


I got pop-up, too. >_<

Paula Walker

Thank you Nick, Was able to get the offer with no annual fee for first year. I was debating about this card anyway, this sealed the deal.


being an amex card means that the PP from this card excludes reasturants i assume..?


With the Green card $100 Lounge Buddy credit I’m Confused . Can u just find the Lounge and use ur Green card OR do u have to get a reservation ??


You have to buy with LoungeBuddy, paying the lounge directly won’t count.


I checked every airport I’m going to and their not there . Useless to me but they claim their coming there soon .

Charles W Fastner

OUCH! To good to be true – My wife applied since I already have the card, got a message saying she wouldn’t qualify for the offer based on balance transfers, new card offers, cards opened, cards closed, and one other thing.

At least it’s pre credit pull so no hit to 5/24 as she’s still under.

Crazy thing is she has only EVER had 2 amex cards (none opened in last 90 days), and has only closed 1 the Amex Plat (she got 100K) –> I’m guessing those who hit the 100k and bailed in Y2 might not be eligable.

Charles W Fastner

Thanks for the clarity – I had her bail when it said we didn’t qualify so she’s still under – I’ve been playing it down lately as I’ve got my eye on some chase plastic and have been in 5/24 hell for a long time.


Add a data point. I was denied and didn’t carry my MB Platinum all the way through year 1 after they offered the prorated refund in January.


Anybody try upgrading a Surpass card?


Jesus. Just got the green card. How soon can i take a hit of the bing again?


I just got the Green card an hr ago in the mail 45k not worth the risk lots of time .


Also just got green card in mail. Tried anyway and got the pop-up.


Thanks with the Green I should have enough for 3 years airfare and I don’t mess with the banks !!!


Worked for me. Saved the $0 fee first year page just in case. Thanks. Will come in handy for Moorea and Bora Bora next year.

Neil S

Not seeing the $0 first year offer even in incognito mode. Link to landing page?

Neil S

Awesome, that worked. Thanks Nick!!!


Got it! Thank you for sharing.


Just got it, thanks for the tip! Had to go incognito to see the no annual fee for the first year offer.