Hilton Aspire Perks: How They Work

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.

Link: Apply now for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

I’ve had the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card for several years. This card has a $450 annual fee, 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 recently wrote about the basic benefits of this card that make it worthwhile, but in this post wanted to take a closer at how each of these work, since aspects of the perks can be confusing.

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.

Hilton Honors Diamond status posts automatically

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 Hilton Honors and have an agent remove your loyalty number and then put it back in your reservation, so the Diamond status shows correctly.

Receive an upgraded room as a Hilton Honors Diamond member

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, 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 Card airline fee credit
Receive an annual airline fee credit with the Hilton Aspire Card

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 used my Hilton resort credit at the incredible Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, it posted three days after the purchase hit my statement.

Hilton Aspire Card Hilton resort credit
Enjoy an amazing meal with your Hilton Aspire Card resort credit

Hilton Aspire annual free night reward

Just for having the Hilton Honors Aspire Card you receive an annual free night reward your first year and every subsequent cardmember year. This can be redeemed at virtually any Hilton Honors property in the world any day of the week, as long as there’s a standard room available (here’s the small list of excluded properties).

Hilton properties retail for up to 150,000 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 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 Free Reward has arrived!”

Hilton Aspire Card free night reward email

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

  • My first free night reward on January 9, 2019
  • My second free night reward on January 2, 2020
  • My third free night reward on January 1, 2021
  • My fourth free night reward on January 4, 2022
  • My fifth free night reward on January 4, 2023

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

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.

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. This is one of the all-around best cards for a Priority Pass membership.

Get a Priority Pass membership with the Hilton Aspire Card

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 toward the minimum spending requirement, while any spending that is reimbursed through airline fee credits or Hilton resort credits does count toward 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 toward the minimum spending requirement.

Reimbursed purchases count toward the Hilton Aspire Card spending requirement

Bottom line

The Hilton Honors Aspire Card is phenomenally valuable. I’ve gotten huge value out of this card for years, and look forward to continuing to get value out of this card for years to come.

Personally the free night certificate alone more than justifies the annual fee for me, and then the Diamond status, airline fee and hotel credits, and Priority Pass membership, are the icing on the cake.

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

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Written by jepayneiv

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