American Express Hilton Aspire Card Perks Review
I was recently approved for the American Express Hilton Aspire card. I applied for the card because I have an upcoming stay at the Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina in Key West and I wanted to take advantage of the perks the card offers. And after digging into the Amex Hilton Aspire card deeper this card’s perks, in my opinion, are the most valuable in the premium card market. It is like when the Citi Prestige was first launched, it is too good to be true!
Update: With some changes to the perks offered by the card I figured it was time to re-crunch the numbers. We can then see if the Aspire card is still hands down the best perks card out there.
Updated last 12/25/19
Amex Hilton Honors Aspire Perks Review
I am not going to spend time reviewing the entire card. This article is more to focus on the perks during the first year and beyond. The sign up bonus is alright ($400 value) and the earning structure is actually less valuable than the Ascend in my opinion. But, it is all of the perks that come with the card where American Express really outdid themselves!
Let’s get the less meaningful perks out of the way:
- Priority Pass Select Membership – Free access for you and 2 guests.
- This is less valuable since everyone and their brother gives it out these days. And even the lower end Surpass card has a better Priority Pass membership for some. Update: This has been devalued some with American Express‘ recent changes. You can no longer gain access to restaurant Priority Pass lounges.
- $100 property credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad for two plus night cash stays.
- I hate spending money on travel so I wouldn’t be using this since it is only good on paid stays. And this perk eliminates the possibility of other discounts and offers that Hilton is offering. That means you only get a fraction of the $100 in true value.
- Free night after $60,000 in spend
- Don’t do this – spend $15,000 on the American Express Surpass card instead!
Now for the perks that make this card a no brainer:
- Diamond status
- I almost put this in the less meaningful perks since you can get Gold status for $355 less with the Hilton Surpass card and Gold status is not that much different in the United States. But internationally Diamonds get treated a lot better than Gold so I left it on there.
- $250 Property credit
- It only works at Hilton resorts. Be sure to check the participating hotels before using the perk. It covers most of the properties you would want to use the perk at. The credit is supposed to work towards the room rate and/or incidental charges. Comped drinks on the beach anyone?
- $250 Airline Fee Credit
Should work the same as the American Express Platinum credit. So most airline gift cards will work.This perk is per calendar year too so $500 in the first year! Update: You can no longer purchase gift cards with the credit.
- Free weekend night certificate
- This is a very valuable perk which will save you up to 95,000 points ($380). The cert does come with some restrictions. The room must be booked on a weekend night (Friday-Sunday) and there must be a standard room award available. They also have a list of hotels and resorts that are excluded, mostly time share/vacation rental places.
The Brass Tacks
This all sounds great but let’s crunch some numbers. Remember that I am not including the sign up bonus or the less meaningful perks of the card. I am focusing on the really valuable perks.
Hilton Honors Diamond Status – $95
I value this at $95 since that is what you could get Hilton Honors Gold status for by signing up for the American Express Surpass card. The American Express Hilton Aspire card saves you that annual fee. You will probably get more than $95 of value out of the status but I am going to under promise and over deliver.
$250 Property Credit – $200
I am discounting this $50 because it forces you to spend money on site at the resort. Resorts usually have higher prices versus outside restaurants and bars. You can use it for cash stays as well, if that is your thing, which would bring it closer to 100% in value.
$250 Airline Credit – $125
I am discounting this 50% since gift cards no longer work which makes it more difficult to use for some. There are still a few tricks left but they take a little more effort. I plan on using mine on Spirit Airlines since I fly often enough that it will cover my seat fees. So even though I will get the full value out of my credit I will still greatly reduce the value for these purposes.
Free Night Certificate – $380
This one is the most subjective perk since you could get over $1000 in value if you use it at a super high end property, like the Conrad Koh Samui. But I will value it at Hilton’s top end points redemption, 95,000 points. Hilton points are worth $0.004 each placing the value at $380.
Total Value $800 in perks ($925 in the first year) for a $450 annual fee!
That is still a great return and profitable overall if you max out the perks. Most premium cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the American Express Platinum, struggle to give you break-even value for the annual fee. This card PAYS YOU to keep it. The first year is even more profitable since you get the airline incidental fee twice. American Express really brought their A game with this offering!
Get the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card while these perks are still intact because I don’t see them lasting long. I envision a Citi Prestige level gutting in the not so distant future. Although I hope I am wrong. I guess I was completely wrong here; the perks have remained mostly intact nearly two years later. Good thing for us!
This may be the best long term keeper on the market…what do you think?