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Earlier this year, American Express completely revamped their fleet of co-branded Hilton cards. When they did so, they introduced a top tier, mega perk card called the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. It’s loaded with benefits which I’ll list, but I thought I’d peel off the 5 major ways that the Amex Aspire is worth the $450 a year it charges, and how you can end up WAY ahead on value.
Here are the 5 benefits I think outweigh the $450 annual fee
- 150k Hilton Honors welcome bonus after $4k spend
- Weekend Night Certificate
- You get your first 8-14 weeks after sign up, then annually ( 8-14 weeks post anniversary date )
- $250 Airline Credit
- Annual based on calendar year.
- $250 Resort Credit at qualifying hotels
- Top Tier status as long as you’re a cardholder – Diamond Status
Let’s take a look at these in a further detail.
1) A free Weekend Night Certificate
This can be used at pretty much any property in the world and is credited to your account within 8-14 weeks of account opening. You’ll get another certificate each and every year you keep your card. Whether you’re looking to add an extra night to a weekend trip, check out your local Hilton property and staycay, the certificate can add a lot of value to a stay. Especially when teamed with the aforementioned Diamond status – a free night with executive lounge access, an upgrade, and free breakfast? Yes, please.
You could use it at the Conrad Bali
2) -Limited Time 150k Hilton Honors Welcome Bonus
The first two perks are ongoing, but for a limited time, Amex is offering a welcome bonus of 150k bonus after $4k spend in 3 months. 150k points is an all-time high. We utilized just 56k a night to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok which was an incredible property in the heart of the city. Team this welcome bonus with the weekend night and you’ve almost got yourself a 4 night stay at an incredible 5 star hotel in one of the Asia’s coolest cities.
3) Top Tier – Diamond Status
If you are a Hilton loyalist ( forget about the 30 stays/60 nights a year normally required ) this perk makes your life much easier and rewarding. But even if you’re just planning a week or two vacation in the next 12 months, having Top Tier status can save you more than the annual fee alone. With room upgrades, guaranteed executive lounge, and free breakfast – the $450 fee could be paid back to you in just a week’s vacation.
4) – $250 Hilton Resort Credit.
The incredibly crazy thing about this credit – not only does it take care of incidentals charged to the room, it applies to the room rate itself. You can go here to search which hotels qualify for the resort credit and remember the credit is based on your “award year” which is determined by when you signed up for Hilton Honors.
One of my favorite hotels is the Hotel Del Coronado outside San Diego. It’s a legendary hotel and carries hefty charges per night ( $350+). It also just so happens to be a Hilton Resort ( part of the Curio Collection ) and I could use this resort credit to offset a weekend stay there. In fact, I could use my Free Weekend night and team it with this credit to get a huge savings ( plus free breakfast )
5) $250 Annual Airline Incidental Fee Credit
I just wrote an article about how to utilize and maximize the airline fee credit associated with the Amex Gold card. I’d highly recommend reading this post as this fee credit is essentially the same. Each year ( Jan 1st to Dec 31st ) you’ll get $250 back on purchases made with your selected airline that Amex codes as incidental.
If you were to apply now and get approved you’d actually get $250 between now and December 31st, and then a fresh $250 for 2019. That’s $500 right there in the first 12 months of card membership.
- 14x points on purchases made at participating Hilton resorts
- 7x Hilton points made on flights booked with the airline or Amex travel
- bookings directly with car rental companies
- US restaurants
- 3x on all other purchases
- no foreign transactions fees
- Priority Pass select
- you + two guests
- $100 Hilton On property credit at select resorts ( booked via hiltonhonors.com/aspirecard