175,000 bonus points + 1 free night: Hilton Aspire Card Review

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A few weeks back, I wrote about how I booked my second trip to the Maldives in 2 years. Thanks to the Hilton Aspire card, I’ve been able to use my free night certificates to book stays at some amazing properties in the Hilton portfolio, be it in the Maldives, Rome, Hawaii or Koh Samui. Late last year, American Express revamped the Hilton Aspire card and the Hilton Surpass card.


While the Aspire card now has an annual fee of $550, it’s packed with benefits and is offering a fantastic limited time welcome bonus as well. Similarly, Amex has also increased limited time offers on the no annual fee Hilton Honors card and the Hilton Surpass card. You can read all the details here. These limited time offers expire on April 17, 2024.


With this offer, you’ll earn a welcome bonus of 175,000 Hilton Honors points and one free night certificate. Once you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months of card membership, you’ll earn 175,000 Hilton Honors points as a welcome bonus. Moreover, you’ll earn a free night certificate which will be valid for one year after issuance. This benefit is fantastic because you don’t need to meet any minimum spend. You earn one free night certificate once you’re approved. You’ll earn another each year, as long as you simply pay the annual fee and renew the card each year.


For me, I’ve found the top tier Diamond status to be of great value. You’ll earn top tier Diamond elite status for simply keeping your card active. Here are the benefits:

Executive lounge access
Complimentary breakfast (or breakfast credits at hotels in the US)
100% bonus points earned on stays
Room upgrades based on availability
Premium Wifi
48-hour room guarantee
In my experience, I’ve mostly been upgraded during a majority of my stays. A few of them have been suite upgrades as well. Thanks to Diamond status, I’ve enjoyed complimentary breakfast during my stays outside the US.


If you frequently bank stays with Hilton, then this card is fantastic for building a nice stash of points. You’ll earn 14x Hilton Honors points for each dollar you spend at eligible hotels in the Hilton portfolio. You’ll earn 7x Hilton Honors points for each dollar you spend on flights booked directly with airlines, car rentals booked directly with select car rental companies, bookings with AmexTravel.com. Moreover, you’ll also earn the same 7x points on purchases at US restaurants (including takeout and delivery). On all other purchases, you’ll earn 3x Hilton Honors points on each dollar spent.


Post revamp, Amex has made changes to the credits offered on the card.


In my opinion, this is a huge improvement. Previously, one had to jump through hoops to often use the ‘airline fee’ credit that the card offered. Now, this credit is simpler to use. You get $50 each quarter and all you need to do is spend that with any airline. This is really simple to use and I’ve written a detailed post here on how the credit works.


You can now earn a $400 resort credit. However, this credit is split into two chunks of $200 each mid-way through the calendar year. You’ll earn $200 between January and June. You’ll earn another $200 between July and December each year. Bear in mind that any property that has the word resort in it may or may not qualify. Before you plan on using the credit, you need to check this link in order to confirm whether it’s a qualifying property.


You’ll earn a statement credit of up to $189 when you pay for a Clear membership with your Hilton Aspire card.


When you book a minimum 2-night stay with Conrad or Waldorf Astoria properties, you’ll earn a $100 credit. You’ll need to book via this link in order to earn the credit.


With this new benefit, you’ll earn complimentary National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive status as long as your card account is active. You’ll need to enroll in order to activate the benefit.


Like me, if you frequently stay at Hiltons, then this card is great to carry in your wallet. I can rack up a ton of points thanks to corporate stays and then use the free night certificates and points to book high-end properties in the Hilton portfolio. If you stay at Hiltons every now and then and aren’t quite sure about paying a $550 annual fee, then you can opt for the Hilton Surpass card instead. The Hilton Surpass card is also offering a limited time welcome bonus of 155,000 Hilton Honors points. Bear in mind that these limited time offers are slated to expire soon on April 17, 2024.

Which is your favorite co-branded hotel credit card? Tell us in the comments section.

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