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What’s This Card Worth? Assessing Hilton Honors Amex Aspire Card Value

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Hilton Amex Aspire

All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire, Surpass, and Business cards has been collected independently by Miles to Memories.

Hilton Amex Aspire

On a whole, I’m a hotel free agent, opting for whatever chain – if any – which best aligns with my family’s travel goals.  But if I had to pick one, I’m probably more loyal to the Hilton chain than any of the others.  In my view, they provide the best combination of footprint, elite benefits, brands we prefer, variety, and consistency, among other traits.  Not coincidentally, we’ve held many different Hilton credit cards over the years, probably the Hilton Business card the most.  I had the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire years ago, but my wife has never picked up an account.  She’s in the early stages of considering the Hilton Amex Aspire, so I figured it’s a great time to assess the card’s benefit values.  Here’s where I’m at with the card.

Note:  As with previous valuation articles, I’m not taking into account a bonus point welcome offer for the Hilton Amex Aspire.  I’m specifically focusing on the card’s ongoing benefits for individuals who decide to pay the annual fee.  New cardholders eligible for the signup bonus should add their customized value to year one as they deem appropriate.

Free Night Reward

Upon approval and every card anniversary year, Aspire holders receive a free night reward.  I consider Hilton’s certificates as the best version available.  They’re basically uncapped certs, good at the vast majority of Hilton Honors properties, with only a few exclusions we have no interest in, anyway.  Bare minimum, we’d get $500 value out of this cert, and probably much more.  Nonetheless, we wouldn’t pay the full, out-of-pocket price for such a stay.  But we’d pay about $250 for such a flexible cert.

Annual Benefit Value:  $250

Hilton Resort Credit

As part of the Aspire refresh and annual fee hike not too long ago, the card’s resort credit increased from $250 to $400.  But as with a few other credits, Amex made them slightly more difficult to fully consume.  The previous $250 credit was fully available to redeem throughout the year.  With the $400 version, cardholders receive two $200 credits to use semiannually.  While this may not be a huge deal to some, it definitely takes away some of the credit’s flexibility.  We don’t stay at Hilton resorts that routinely, either.  Still, it’s a great dollar-for-dollar value if and when we do.  We’ll stay at such resorts, but probably not enough to consume all credits.  For these reasons, we’ll only get through about half of these credits.

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Annual Benefit Value:  $200

Flight Credit

Gone is the Aspire’s previous $250 annual credit for airline incidentals.  It’s been replaced by a $200 version, doled out in unhelpful $50 quarterly increments.  On the bright side, it’s redeemable for a wider variety of purchases, including flights, and cardmembers are no longer stuck locking in one airline for the credit.  Regardless, like other Amex cards offering such a credit, we’d have no trouble using this one.

Annual Benefit Value:  $200

Hilton Honors Diamond Elite Status

I’ve enjoyed simply buying into top-tier status with Hilton via the Aspire, and my wife will, as well.  More importantly, we’ve routinely received solid recognition as Hilton elite members, even at the Gold level.  I finally came to consider the daily elite food and beverage credit a clear winner, and we’re routinely upgraded across Hilton brands.

While it’s hard to place an exact value on the upgrade portion, doing so with the F&B credits is easier.  We periodically receive $20 daily F&B credits on our Hilton Garden Inn stays.  HGI is our favorite brand, but we collectively stay in higher-level Hilton brands more often, where the daily credit’s in the $30-50 range.  We wouldn’t necessarily spend this amount in properties otherwise, but we enjoy how we receive the credit on award stays – our primary option for hotel visits.  Still, I’m conservatively valuing this benefit based on 20 or so nights in Hiltons last year.

Annual Benefit Value:  $300

Hilton Amex Aspire Benefits – Everything Else

Long story short, we value everything else zero.  We don’t use Clear, are unwilling to fork over paid nightly rates for the $100 on-property credit at Waldorf and Conrad properties, and can achieve National Car Rental Emerald Club Executive elsewhere.  We buy relatively cheap phones, so we don’t need that insurance (which plenty of other cards provide, anyway).

The Aspire offers some solid point earning rates, but they’re not special enough for us to put spend there.  Likewise, the big spend bonuses at $30k and $60k each earn another free night, but we’d rather do that at the $15k level with the Surpass or Business versions.

Hilton Amex Aspire – Conclusion

Even with the recently-hiked $550 annual fee, the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express is a clear win for many, including us.  Despite the benefits we don’t care about, the Aspire would give us a minimum value of $950.  For our situation, this card is an easier long-term hold decision than the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex (I talk about that in a different article).  But I could easily see us holding both, perhaps dividing and conquering between the two of us.  That said, given our overall tendency to stay in Hilton brands more often, the Aspire’s superior value is magnified even more.  Indeed, as I write this, I question why it’s taken us so long to get back in the Aspire game.  We’ll be returning posthaste.

How do you value the benefits of the Hilton Amex Aspire in your situation?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Appreciate the honesty…many times I feel that bloggers are in it to sell up…this I feel is not the case here. I have the aspire and agree with most of what you say. I may not value the fb credit at $300 as we do not stay at hiltons that much but definitely value them. Currently am using it. That said, I do value the cell phone coverage…saving us as we need it…Apple phones routinely have cracked glass, break etc and this is great. Thanks for the review and enjoy reading here as always.

    • Mumum,
      Thanks for chiming in! I definitely agree many value cell phone coverage from a variety of cards. I’m glad the Aspire’s working for you!

  2. For a card that has a $550.00 annual fee and no longer has a Priority Pass benefit makes it a nonstarter for me.

  3. […] Even with the recently-hiked $550 annual fee, the Hilton Honors Aspire American Express is a clear win for many. “Despite the benefits we don’t care about, the Aspire would give us a minimum value of $950. For our situation, this card is an easier long-term hold decision than the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex”. ➡️ Read more […]

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