Hilton Aspire Annual Fee Increase Rumor
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is one of the better premium travel rewards credit cards out there in my opinion. While I almost never recommend a premium card to someone without doing detailed calculations, this is a card I have recommended to many people in the right situation. The annual fee is currently $450, but it also brings a pretty good range of benefits.
Aspire Has Outsized Value
If you play your cards right (pun intended 🙂 ) then you can get outsized value from the card, but spending $450 up front is a commitment. I personally think between the $250 Hilton resort statement credit, $250 airline fee credit, free night on approval & each year on renewal, Priority Pass and Hilton Honors Diamond status, a lot of people can come out ahead. But many also have Platinums or other cards with airline credits & Priority Pass and while the resort credit is nice, you are paying a portion of that up front via the annual fee when you get the card.
Honestly I think the most valuable benefit of the card (other than the annual free night) is Hilton Honors Diamond status. It’s rare that a single credit card sign-up can get you top-tier status with a major loyalty program, but this one delivers just that. Don’t get me wrong though. In many U.S. properties the Diamond status doesn’t get you much, but internationally I have been treated quite well. And at the very least domestically it gets you some breakfast/property credit which can add up if you stay at a lot of Hiltons. Let’s put it this way. I’d rather have Diamond status than not have Diamond status.
Is The Aspire Card Too Valuable?
When the card launched a few years ago, many touted some of the same arguments I made above saying that the card was almost too valuable. If you factor in the welcome offer, the first year value of this card is undeniable. And what’s too good to be true often is. Or at the very least we have seen banks rightsize their fees and benefits over the years when this is the case. Who else remembers the awesomeness that was the Citi Prestige back in the day? It was probably the best value in the space and they chipped away at it until it withered on the vine.
Hilton Aspire Annual Fee Increase Rumor Info
A new rumor on Reddit seems to suggest that Amex could be thinking about raising the fee on this card by $100 in 2023. Once again, this is a Reddit rumor, but one I thought was interesting. Here is what the poster wrote:
I heard from a Hilton corporate employee (works for Big 4) recently that the Aspire’s annual fee could be bumped by $100 next year and Amex is currently in talks for additional Hilton benefits to soften the blow. One idea being floated is allowing the primary card member to use the Centurion lounge. No guests without additional payment. This is a fairly credible source. I hope it doesn’t happen and always wondered how Amex made money on this. I have used the free night certificate for $900/nights.
Will This Amex Aspire Annual Fee Increase Happen?
While we have no way to know what American Express may be thinking, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them raise the annual fee on the Hilton Aspire. After all it wasn’t that long ago the annual fee on the Platinum cards was $450 instead of the $695 it is today. Perhaps the most direct competitor Amex has to this card is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant which carries a $650 fee today. So yes this is plausible.
When Amex has raised their fees over the years they have often added benefits alongside the price increase. The poster seems to hint at possible Centurion access and while that may seem like a stretch given the overcrowding at Centurion Lounges, that will soon change. On February 1, 2023 Platinum cardholders will be required to pay for their guests, meaning we may finally see lounges that don’t have lines stretching down airport corridors. As a customer I will miss the guest access, but I have to admit I have had more subpar Centurion experiences this year than good ones.
Price Increase With No New Benefits?
What if Hilton and Amex don’t add anything new to this card, but simply raise the annual fee by $100? I would argue that for the right person this card would still make a ton of sense. For example I recently used a few Hilton free night certificates at the Waldorf in Cabo which had standard rooms going for $900 per night. With my Diamond status I was upgraded to a $2,600 per night two bedroom villa that is probably the nicest hotel room I have ever stayed in. The breakfast benefits for my family were quite valuable as well. Is that anecdotal? Absolutely! But it is also confirmation that with all of the current benefits, as much as i wouldn’t like it, the annual fee of $550 would probably still be worth it.
Hilton Aspire Annual Fee Increase Rumor – Bottom Line
It’s never fun when annual fees or benefits change, but if they do raise the annual fee I hope American Express does add something of value to the card. I wonder how much overlap there is between Platinum and Aspire cardholders and if Centurion access would make a difference for many. That said, I think many have been waiting for something like this to happen, but we’ll have to see what American Express decides to do. Either way this rumor is an interesting one and was a reminder to me that in its current form and with its current annual fee the Aspire card is definitely worth a look.