(Rumor) Amex Aspire Card Annual Fee Going to Increase & Why The Card Is Such A Good Value!

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Hilton Aspire Annual Fee Increase Rumor
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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.

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos

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.

Hilton Aspire Annual Fee Increase Rumor

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.

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomerhttps://milestomemories.com/
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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17 COMMENTS

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17 COMMENTS

  1. AmEx told me I’m not eligible for the signup bonus because I currently have the no annual fee Hilton AmEx (and received that sign up bonus five years ago). I am shocked!!

    • FIVE YEARS AGO! Dang! Did you ask if there was an upgrade offer for turning you no fee Hilton Amex into a Hilton Aspire card?

      • I can upgrade but no potential for the signup bonus cause I’ve already received one lifetime Hilton Amex bonus. This is a first.

  2. Has anyone noticed when using the digital check in with Hilton they now give you paid upgrade options. I checked in to a Dallas, TX Canopy at 11PM the app showed about 20 rooms available with 15 of them being paid upgraded rooms ranging from $20-40 extra. Oddly half of the paid upgrades offered were disability rooms for hearing impared and wheelchair access which is probably illegal to charge extra if someone needs those rooms. When i saw this new update it was basically kind of validation of how Diamond status does not get you anything. If there are 15 available paid upgrades room at 11PM then why would they not upgrade my room to a higher class as a Diamond member as the app makes it clear there are tons of upgrades available. I also think Diamond free breakfast no longer exists as every place I checked in to only offers a dining credit which can be applied for a discount on the breakfast. For Canopy it’s a $15 credit.

  3. Hilton tells me, that I been a Diamond for 23 years and the one thing that I have learned, is Hilton is no longer Hilton. I recall when most good Hilton’s had a Tower lounge, gone. Some still have a Executive Floor, I just stayed twice at the JFK Hilton, once on the 6th floor, the next on the Executive Floor, the only difference, on the sixth, I had to carry my two bottle of water up, on the Executive Floor, they were in the room. Then you look at the Delta Reserve Card ($550.00) which gets you into the Skyclub and a ton of MQM’s. That’s real benefits, if you fly Delta. I have 1,550K plus miles on Delta & I am Platinum and the card push’s me ahead of other Platinum’s, on the upgrade list. That’s what I call real benefits!

  4. This wouldn’t shock me at all considering how they increase the Bonvoy Brilliant by $200 up to $650 without any real benefit. Sure you’re getting an 85k certificate which is nothing without accumulating additional Bonvoy points too bring it to a 100k. The $300 dining credit that come in monthly increments are designed for breakage…the $300 Marriott credit was much more useful, hence the reason they removed it.

    And the Platinum status means nothing because now anyone with the card now has it…which makes Bonvoy Platinum about as useless as Hilton Diamond…unless traveling internationally.

    If they increase the rate and the only additional benefit you get is access to the Centurion lounge then I’d consider it a loss as the Centurion lounges are much too crowded as is…no need to start allowing even more folks. Time will tell but there isn’t much they can do to justify an increase on this card other than tossing in another free night cert which isn’t going to happen.

    • Agreed. Raising the fee would make sense given what they’ve done with their other premium products. Centurion access wouldn’t probably be a big thing for most people in this hobby, however I wonder how much crossover they have among the wider population between Platinum and this card. I suspect there is at least some.

  5. I used to have the AMEX Platinum a couple of years ago and found the Centurion Lounges less than stellar so dumped the card after they raised the annual fee. I have earned free Hilton nights in the past with my Surpass card and somehow have had Hilton Diamond status for the last couple of years with that card. This fall I was considering the Aspire card but was advised by AMEX during the online application process that I would not be eligible for the bonus points incentive even though I have not received a sign up bonus during the last 24 months. So I didn’t follow through with getting the card. I suspect it was because I currently have two open AMEX Hilton cards. Both my wife and I earned free nights for our spend with the Surpass card this year so I don’t think I will pursue the Aspire card in 2023, especially if the fee is increased.

    • Hey Jeff. I too have Diamond status since 2019. I got it from the Aspire card and it has been extended numerous times through Covid but should expire in February. I’m deciding whether to apply for a new Aspire or to just upgrade one of my other Hilton cards. I use the Diamond status quite a bit so I think it’s time to grab this card one way or another.

      As for Centurion Lounges, they used to be great but have been so overrun this past year that it hasn’t been any fun. Long lines and when you get inside packed wall to wall with people.

  6. I’ve never had this card but have had all the other Amex Hilton cards. When I recently tried to apply, it said I was NOT eligible for the sign up bonus! Is it worth trying to call in? Should I just upgrade my Hilton Honors card instead?

    • You can call to see if they have an upgrade offer for you. There might be something in your credit profile (or with amex directly) that suggests you churn cards for SUBs, so if you have never had the card, putting some spend on other amex cards could get you out of popup jail.

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