From complimentary top-tier Diamond elite status to a free weekend night certificate to a $250 annual airline fee credit, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is a favorite among TPGers. If you’ve recently added this card to your wallet or you’re planning to do so soon, here’s a task list of items you should absolutely do in order to take full advantage of its perks.
1. Confirm Your Hilton Diamond Status
If you apply for the Hilton Aspire online, you’re asked to input your Hilton Honors member number during the process. If you did that, your account should be upgraded to Diamond status within days after the card’s arrival. If it doesn’t, dial the number on the back of your card and request the upgrade.
Diamond is Hilton’s top-tier elite status, and you can circumvent stay and spend requirements just by holding this credit card. It’s a fabulous perk that entitles the cardholder and a guest to free breakfast at almost every Hilton portfolio property, executive lounge access where available, space-available room upgrades and boosted bonus points on paid stays. We value Diamond status at more than $3,000 annually for frequent travelers.
You can learn more about maximizing Diamond status in this episode of Talking Points:
2. Choose Your Airline
The Hilton Aspire comes with an annual $250 airline fee credit that can be used to offset a wide variety of airline fees such as checked bag fees, change fees, inflight food and beverage purchases, and even some airline gift cards. Just like the airline fee credits that come with The Platinum Card® from American Express, you need to choose one airline each year to use exclusively for your fee credit, though that shouldn’t stop you from maximizing this benefit on an annual basis.
Once you receive your card, log in to your American Express account online, surf to “Benefits,” and select your airline of choice. While you may be tempted to select the airline you fly the most, think twice before doing so. If you already have elite status with an airline, or you have an airline credit card that takes care of bag fees, you may not need the credit on that carrier.
Instead, consider any upcoming trips you have planned on airlines that you don’t fly on frequently. If you can foresee that you may need a credit for things like checked bags and inflight food, that airline may be a better pick. As a Delta Diamond Medallion member, I typically select Delta Air Lines and then purchase electronic gift cards in $50 increments.
3. Plan Your Free Weekend Night
With the Aspire Card, you’ll receive one weekend night at almost any Hilton property worldwide after opening your account, and then again each year on your cardmember anniversary. You’ll also receive a second weekend night when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year. As long as the property is eligible and there’s a room available, there are no exclusions to this benefit, so even infrequent travelers should be able to take advantage of this perk and save hundreds of dollars a year.
Just keep an eye on your email. You’ll receive one email informing you that your weekend night reward number and booking instructions will arrive within eight to 14 weeks. The second email has that very information, which you’ll need to apply to a new reservation.
To maximize this perk, I’d recommend scoping out some of Hilton’s most aspirational properties (a few are suggested below). Certain hotels charge upwards of $1,000 — or 95,000 Hilton points — per night. If you’re able to supplement an award stay with a free weekend night, all the better.
- Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
- Conrad Koh Samui
- Conrad Tokyo
- Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa
- Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
- Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
- Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem
For example, I’m spending 380,000 Hilton Honors points (95,000 points per night x 4 nights) to stay five nights at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, since Hilton throws in the fifth night for free on award stays. I then called Hilton and manually redeemed my Hilton Aspire free weekend night certificate for a sixth night, and I’ll request to remain in the same room across those stays when I arrive at the property.
Given the lofty 150,000 point welcome bonus (after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership) on the Hilton Aspire, a couple that can each apply can get nearly there on the welcome bonus alone. For an aspirational trip such as this one, it may then make sense to purchase the remaining 80,000 points to secure the stay.
4. Enroll For Free Airport Lounge Access
If you don’t already have Priority Pass Select membership via another credit card, login to your American Express account online, head to “Benefits” and click the “Enroll Now” button for Priority Pass Select.
You’ll then be able to create an account via an app and have access to your digital membership card. This entitles you to airport lounge access at over 1,200 facilities around the globe, though you won’t be able to access most Priority Pass non-lounge spots such as restaurants after August 1, 2019.
5. Book a Hilton Resorts Stay
Once you have your Hilton Aspire in hand, you have one year to enjoy a $250 statement credit for purchases made directly with participating Hilton Resorts. This renews each anniversary year, but it doesn’t roll over from one year to the next.
Even room rates are included in this credit, as are onsite food and beverages and incidentals charged directly to your room. You can visit Hilton.com/Resorts for a full list of participating properties, or check out our guide to “5 Ways to Use the Amex Hilton Aspire’s $250 Resort Credit” for some of our top suggestions. I’d personally recommend putting the $250 toward an extended stay at the resort where you’re cashing in your free weekend night, making it easy to keep track of where you’re using each perk.
Hilton makes it easy to extract far more than $450 in value from the Hilton Honors Aspire Card each year, easily surpassing the annual fee. Even if you’re an infrequent traveler, complimentary Diamond status, a $250 annual airline fee credit and a $250 Hilton Resorts statement credit are excellent perks available to cardholders.
For more information on the Hilton Aspire, check out the following posts:
- Credit Card Review: Hilton Amex Aspire
- New Hilton Amex Cards Launch With Bonuses of up to 100k Points
- Maximizing Redemptions With Hilton Honors
- 5 Great Ways to Use 150,000 Hilton Honors Points
- Putting the Hilton Aspire Card’s Benefits to Use on a Trip to Puerto Rico
- 5 Ways to Use the Amex Hilton Aspire’s $250 Resort Credit
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, please click here.
Featured image of Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.