Congrats to all the early adaptors into getting the Hilton Aspire Card! As my O-5 friend called and said to me that this card might even outshine the AmEx Platinum card for military! Right off the bat the $450 annual fee is waived (for Active Duty Military per MLA and SCRA), meaning the $250 Airline Credit and the $250 Hilton Resort credit pays $500 annually just to have this card in your wallet! The free night as well as the Diamond Status are just the cherry on top!
Getting the Card
Easiest way to get the card is to make sure you have less than 5 credit cards in your AmEx account, then applying here. There are no referral bonuses from having the card, or to upgrade the Ascend/Surpass, yet. This lack of referral links has been confirmed by three readers who currently have the activated card in hand. I was able to get the card in 2 business days via UPS by simply asking for expedited shipping for free. I was over 5 cards so I had to wait for a phone call to close one of my accounts.
Second easy way is to product change your Ascend/Surpass (by forfeiting the 100k sign on bonus) into the Aspire. Reader RWHR had this experience:
I already had the Hilton surpass which on my amex account said amex ascend. A couple of days ago, I went to all cards and saw the option to upgrade my ascent to the aspire. I did so and I upgraded it about 24 hours later.
I applied for the Aspire card in order to capture the 100k bonus, but I chose to close my Surpass/Ascend card to get under the 5 max. Not sure if I made the right call by closing my Surpass. I should of upgraded that Surpass to an Aspire in order to have double the $500 credits as well as the 100k points with the first aspire. I feel like an idiot!
For those with a current Ascend/Surpass, I would not be so quick to product change the Ascend to Aspire before getting the 100k bonus on applying directly for a new Aspire, in case it makes you ineligible in some quirk. I would wait till the 100k hits then do the Ascend to Aspire upgrade with the second card.
Another note worthy thing is the new card came with a different HHonors number despite entering it in the application. This can be corrected by simply calling in and merging the HHonors accounts.
$250 Airline Fee Credit
You can read all the terms and conditions here. The credit for $250 will work exactly like the AmEx Platinum $200 airline credit and PRG $100 credit. You will need to pick an airline for the year and then have till Dec 31 each year to spend it. No word if AA Gift Cards or United Gift Registry (when it is back up) will work. From the terms and conditions:
Card Account is eligible for up to a total of $250 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Card Account. Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges
$250 Hilton Resort Credit
Now this $250 credit follows the card membership year, so you only get a reset of the credit when one year has passed since getting the card. Note this is different than the $250 Airline Fee Credit. This also only works at the Hilton Resorts found on this site here. The military leave staycation ones I can see are:
- Hilton Okinawa Chatan Resort
- Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort (Next to Hale Koa)
- Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton
- Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront
- Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
- Hilton Niseko Village
- Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
- Hilton Pensacola Beach
- Cape Rey Carlsbad, a Hilton Resort
- Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center
- Hilton San Diego Del Mar
- Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa
- Hotel Karlan San Diego – a DoubleTree by Hilton
- DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego – Del Mar
- Beach Village at The Del, Curio Collection by Hilton
From the terms and conditions this $250 can be used for:
Incidental charges (including charges made at restaurants, spas, and other establishments within the hotel property) must be charged to your room and paid for with your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card at checkout
When you pay your bill these credits should post on your credit card account unlike the $100 property credit which gets deducted from your bill.
$100 Property Credit
The $100 credit is only activated according to the terms:
When you use your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to book through HiltonHonors.com/aspirecard or by calling Hilton Honors at (855) 292-5757, for a two-night minimum stay at Waldorf Astoria® Hotels & Resorts, and Conrad® Hotels & Resorts
So if we pair this up with the $250 resort we can squeeze out $350 of free shit at the following hotels:
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
Trianon Palace Versailles, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Conrad Bora Bora Nui
The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Las Casitas, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Waldorf Astoria Park City
Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah
Conrad Koh Samui
Ho’olei at Grand Wailea
Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
Conrad Punta Del Este
Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay
Waldorf Astoria Jeddah, Qasr Al Sharq
Note that the majority of these hotels are stupid expensive, with the exception of:
- $116 a night Punta Del Este, Uruguay
- $155 a night Algarve, Portugal
- $159 a night Nusa Dua, Indonesia
- $249 a night Paris, France
A two night stay at the Conrad Punta Del Este would cost you $116 a night or $232.80 with tax:
Then you would get $100 in property credit for being a 2 night stay at a Conrad, then a $250 credit for being a resort. You would get paid $117.20 to stay two nights in Uruguay. People have gamed this using the Fine Hotel and Resorts $100 credit on AmEx.
Unfortunately it would cost you $1,686 to fly there, but at least you get $250 towards that with the airline credit if United ever opens up the registry again!
I have had diamond status for over a year now with my clever back matching. With Diamond, I got a suite upgrade in Iceland and free cupcakes and sparking white wine in Manhattan! At the Palmer House Hilton I was able to get lounge access as well as a two bathroom suite (a unique room indeed). Best part of Diamond Status is 48 hr room guarantee. I was even able to get a hotel during the BRK shareholders meeting in downtown Omaha when it was all booked up for normies.
Other diamond benefits include: 50% more points per stay, as well as free breakfast at Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Hotels, lounge access, and a welcome amenity. All the benefits are listed and valued here.
Free Annual Weekend Night(s)
The free weekend night is nice, but not worth spending $60k to get another free night! From the terms:
The Annual Weekend Night Reward will be issued in the form of a redeemable code and sent in an email from Hilton Honors to the email address listed on your Hilton Honors account. You will receive the reward email within 8-14 weeks after opening your Card Account and each year within 8-14 weeks after your Card Account anniversary date. This benefit is only available to the Basic Card Member on the Card Account. The Annual Weekend Night Reward can be redeemed for one weekend night standard accommodation, double occupancy, subject to availability at properties in the Hilton portfolio, excluding those listed at HiltonHonors.com/weekendreward. A weekend night is defined as Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. To redeem the Annual Weekend Night Reward, Card Members must call 1-800-446-6677 and mention the code provided by Hilton Honors. The Annual Weekend Night Reward expires within one year from the date of issuance and must be redeemed on or before the expiration date. An Annual Weekend Night Reward will be forfeited if not redeemed on or before the expiration date. Card members are only eligible to receive this benefit once per year of your Card membership. You are only eligible to receive the Annual Weekend Night Reward once per year of Card membership, and you are only able to receive this benefit with an upgrade to the Hilton Honors Aspire Card one time.
More rules than a strip club to use one of these things and they can be found here. I have no experience in using the free night, but I guess the CitiBank card holders of the Hilton card got them before.
Card Upgrade Strategy
Well I fumbled on canceling the Surpass before I realized that I should of upgraded it to an Aspire, but the no-fee Hilton AmEx is currently offering 50,000 HHonors for a mere $1,000 spend. I should get this one and in a year move it up to another Aspire to get another $250 resort, $250 travel credit.
For those who haven’t had the Surpass or the Ascend use this link here:
It is nice to have another $450 card hitting the market that we get the annual fee waived. I say it’s going to be good churns for 2018 as the Marriott SPG elite card will be the next one to look out for!