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American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card is a premium hotel rewards credit card offering complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond elite status. The card has a high $545 annual fee and offers $400 Hilton resort credit, $200 flight credit annually, anniversary Hilton Free Night Reward, and other travel benefits, including cell phone protection.
Because of the high annual fee, I want to closely examine whether the Amex Hilton Aspire card is worth it and explore product-changing and closing options within the Amex Hilton Honors card family.
Hilton Aspire Card Benefits
Let’s recap the Amex Hilton Aspire Card benefits that come with the $545 annual fee:
Keeping Hilton Aspire Card
Remember that existing card holders and those who applied for the card before October 19, 2023, pay the old $450 card’s annual fee until the next renewal in 2024. Therefore, try to use and maximize the card’s benefits this year and next year as much as you can. Here are some ideas:
- Use the previous $250 Hilton resort credit benefit until December 31, 2023.
- Use the previous $250 airline credit until December 31, 2023.
- If you already used the $250 airline credit, use the new $50 flight credit through December 31, 2023.
Keeping Hilton Aspire Card For Military
If you are an active military member, you can request Amex to waive the annual fee on the Amex Hilton Honors Aspire card. You can enjoy all the Aspire card benefits with a $0 annual fee. Check out the following blog post.
Downgrading Hilton Aspire Card
American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card is the top card in the Amex Hilton Honors family, and thus, you cannot upgrade the card. You can, however, downgrade the card to the following Hilton credit cards:
- American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card
- American Express Hilton Honors Card
It’s important to understand that if you downgrade your Aspire card to one of the other Amex Hilton Honors credit cards, you will not be eligible for that card’s future welcome bonus. In contrast, Amex sometimes offers an upgrade bonus, allowing you to earn bonus Hilton Honors points when upgrading back to the Aspire card without a hard credit pull. See the following blog post.
Closing Hilton Aspire Card
You can request Amex to close the card if you cannot maximize your American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card benefits yearly to justify the card’s high annual fee.
Should you decide to close your Amex Hilton Aspire card, here are a few important things to note:
- You must close or downgrade your card within 30 days of the statement closing date to receive a full annual fee refund. After that, the only way to receive any type of refund is to downgrade and receive a prorated refund.
- You will not receive the anniversary Hilton Free Night Reward in time because Amex does not issue the free night reward until 8-12 weeks after your posted annual fee date.
- Remember to ask for a retention offer before closing the card.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you decide to downgrade or close the card, there are a few things you may want to know before closing the card. Check out the FAQs below.
Do you lose Hilton Honors points if you close the Aspire card?
No, once the Hilton Honors points are transferred to your Hilton Honors account, you won’t lose those points if you close the Aspire card.
Do you lose Hilton Honors Diamond elite status if you close the Aspire card?
You can keep your Hilton Honors Diamond elite status until the next renewal date. For example, you earned Hilton Honors Diamond status because of the Aspire card in February 2023. You request to close the card in June 2023. In that case, you can keep the Diamond status for the rest of 2023 until the next status renewal date, February 2024. After that, you must stay or earn enough points to reach the Diamond status.
Do you lose the Hilton free night reward if you close the Aspire card?
As an Amex Hilton Aspire cardholder, you receive one Hilton Free Night Reward every account membership year. Once the free night reward is awarded in your Hilton Honors account, you can keep it even after your Aspire card is closed. However, Amex does not issue the anniversary Hilton Free Night Reward until 8-12 weeks after your posted annual fee date. You’ll be penalized for the late payment if you wait for the free night reward in your Hilton Honors account.
Furthermore, Amex only prorated the annual fee if you downgrade the Aspire card.
You must close or downgrade your card within 30 days of the statement closing date in order to receive a full refund of the annual fee. Thereafter, the only way to receive any type of refund is to downgrade and receive a prorated refund.Amex Annual Fee Refund Policy
Is the Hilton Aspire Card Worth It?
Everyone’s travel lifestyle and needs are different. The Aspire card has a high $545 annual fee with rich benefits such as annual $400 Hilton resort credits, complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond elite status, and $200 flight credits.
But for those who don’t frequent Hilton hotels and resorts each year, keeping track of and maximizing the Hilton resort credits can be challenging. While you can maximize the $200 flight credits each with this trick, another Amex statement credit needs your attention each calendar quarter.
On the other hand, the card offers top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond elite status each year. Diamond status perks are more beneficial overseas than in the U.S. Hilton properties because you only receive food and beverage credits in the U.S. However, you get a full complimentary breakfast at international Hilton properties.
Furthermore, the Aspire card also offers one Hilton Free Night Reward every account membership year. The free night reward can be greatly worth redeeming for a luxury Hilton hotel and resort.
In conclusion, the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card comes with a high $545 annual fee with great perks only if you frequent Hilton stays yearly. Otherwise, it can be challenging to keep track of all the Amex Aspire card statement credits and try to maximize them yearly to justify the card’s annual fee.
I have two Hilton Aspire cards in my family and will close one when the next high annual fee is due. We do not frequently stay at Hilton each year to use the Aspire card benefits; therefore, having one Aspire card should be enough and work for our family’s travel lifestyle now.