Updated on July 17, 2019
The Amex Hilton Aspire card is currently, hands down, the most valuable premium credit card in the American Express portfolio. Let’s break this post down into 3 sections:
- New Cardmember signup bonus
- Ongoing perks
- Why the $250 airline fee credit is so valuable (especially now)
The annual fee is $450, which may seem high, but the benefits easily cover the costs…
Here is the current signup bonus that makes this card worth applying for:
- 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after $4,000 spend in first 3 months
- Free weekend night certificate at most Hilton properties (you get one now AND every year after renewal!)
- Defined as Friday, Saturday or Sunday night
- Excluded properties listed here
- Yes, to repeat, you get one night NOW and every year you renew (not just upon renewal).
Here are the ongoing perks that make this card worth holding onto long term:
- $250 resort credit per cardmember year
- There is an extensive list of resorts where the credit can be applied (227 resorts as of today)
- $250 airline fee credit per calendar year
- Works on AA gift cards – read more below
- Annual free weekend night certificate at any Hilton property (worth $450+)
- Defined as Friday, Saturday or Sunday night stay
- Excluded properties listed here
- Automatic Hilton Diamond status (top-tier)
- It is pretty ridiculous that Hilton requires 60 nights (or 30 stays or 120k earned base points) in order to qualify for Diamond status… meanwhile Hilton gives it away for free so long as you hold the Amex Hilton Aspire card
- Arguably, there isn’t significant value of Diamond status vs. Gold. The key differences for Diamond members:
- Guaranteed Executive Lounge access – I wasn't granted lounge access during my most recent trip to Conrad Tokyo because the hotel was fully booked and I only have Hilton Gold status
- Possibility of suite upgrades
There are other perks (such as Priority Pass Select, 14x earning potential, etc.) that I will not cover since they are low value in my book.
$250 Airline Fee Credit
The $250 airline fee credit perk is based on calendar year (as opposed to cardmember year). Applying for any Amex card that comes with airline fee credits (e.g. Amex Platinum) generally allows for the $250 credit to be earned twice in the cardmember's first year. Be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you are targeted for the 100k signup bonus for the Amex Platinum Personal card – this charge card also comes with airline fee credit, but only $200/calendar year.
$250 Airline Fee Credit Works on AA Gift Cards
The $250 airline fee credit was intended for incidentals such as baggage fees. However, Amex continues to reimburse for gift cards for select airlines, including American Airlines. Be sure to first select AA as your airline and then purchase AA gift cards in $100 increments or less. There are reports that keeping the purchase at $100 or less is no longer necessary, but I recommend keeping this threshold just to be on the safe side.
**Make sure you select American Airlines as your Airline of Choice BEFORE you do this! This is easily done by using the American Express App, loading the Hilton card, then clicking Membership on the bottom menu.
Why Now Is the Ideal Time To Apply
Applying for the Amex Hilton Aspire card between mid to end of December allows you to use the $250 airline benefit 3x during the first cardmember year.
Is This Card a Keeper?
I plan to apply for the Amex Hilton Aspire card around 12/15/18 and yes, I do plan to keep the card long-term as long as the ongoing benefits do not get devalued. The annual free weekend night certificate alone is worth $450+ in my book. It allows for aspirational Hilton award bookings such as:
The $250 resort credit is just icing on the cake.
How To Signup
Below are 150K referral links from followers of this blog. Feel free to post your referral link in the comments section.
- 150k Signup Link 1
- 150k Signup Link 2
- 150k Signup Link 3
- 150k Signup Link 4
- 150k Signup Link 5
- 150k Signup Link 6
- 150k Signup Link 7
- 150k Signup Link 8
- 150k Signup Link 9
- 150k Signup Link 10
- 150k Signup Link 11
- 150k Signup Link 12
- 150k Signup Link 13
- 150k Signup Link 14
- 150k Signup Link 15
- 150k Signup Link 16
- 150k Signup Link 17
- 150k Signup Link 18
- 150k Signup Link 19
- 150k Signup Link 20
- 150k Signup Link 21
- 150k Signup Link 22
- 150k Signup Link 23
As mentioned above, be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you are targeted for the 100k signup bonus for the Amex Platinum card, which, similar to the Amex Hilton Aspire card, comes with airline fee credits ($200 per calendar year).
I just got mine! Doesn't the nice glossy package make you feel special?
Can you explain exactly how to get the X3 airline credits?
I get you can redeem 1st one between 12/15/2018-12/31/18 and the second one in 2019 (theoretically 1/1/2019).
But where does the 3rd one become available?
Would love to understand – thanks!
Cancel card within 30 days and annual fee gets refunded. So in theory if you cancel mid Jan 2020 then you have ~15 days to reap the benefit a 3rd time.
The link to the places where you can use the $250 resort credit and the link to the list of excluded properties for the weekend night free certificate are the same – is that correct or typo?
Fixed it – here’s the link http://www.hilton.com/resorts
Free weekend night certificate at most Hilton properties is upon renewal, right?
you get one now AND every year after renewal. I just updated the post to emphasize that.
Thanks for letting us sharing the referral link (and list followers’ links!!!). Here is my 150K referral link 🙂
Also, I am curious how long did it take you to get the card from the approved? Is Dec/15 the last date for us to get the card approved and use the airline credit by the end of the year?
2 biz days from approval to card receipt. I would say 12/29 is the very last day to charge through for the AA gift cards. It usually takes 2 calendar days for the charge to go from pending to post.
Great! Thanks for the tips! 🙂
You can purchase $250 AA eGC in one transaction and still get the credit. I tried $150, $200, and $250. All of them were credited.
My referral link – http://refer.amex.us/ERICCzQF2?XLINK=MYCP
Where is it stated that the free weekend night includes Fri and not just Sat and Sun? I have a free night from spending on Ascend last year, not Aspire. (I wrote to Hilton and got a boilerplate response. Didn’t call yet.) Thanks.
Pls try google first next time. Was first result:
For the purpose of Certificate redemption, a weekend night is defined as a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, unless specified otherwise on the Reward Certificate.
So I bought the airline AA gift Certs end of Dec 26 – and they have yet to credit me back. And when I called, they said that they will issue me a credit for the 2019 year not 2018 because it requires one billing cycle which lands in January! Anyone else have this issue?
Did you select American before you put through the charges? Did you stick with $100 or less charges?
Do you know if the AA eGC is still valid for the reimbursement? I’m hearing that it’s no longer the case and need to see if can contact Amex to see can switch to another airline.