Hilton's high-end Aspire card includes an annual benefit that can reimburse up to $250 in expenses at resorts. Here's how it works.

Hilton Aspire resort creditHotel del Coronado/Facebook

  • The Hilton Aspire Credit Card from American Express is one of the best hotel credit cards in terms of the value you get for the annual fee.
  • One of the many perks it offers is up to $250 in resort credits toward purchases at Hilton properties each year.
  • The resort credit on this card can be lucrative, but there are some stipulations that limit its use.
  • For example, it doesn't apply to every Hilton hotel; only designated "resort" properties. It also won't cover nonrefundable or prepaid room rates.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

If you're looking for a hotel credit card with benefits that can make your vacation a lot more comfortable, look no further than the Hilton Aspire Credit Card from American Express. While it does charge a $450 annual fee, you'll get a ton of value in return.

Cardholder benefits include up to $250 in airline fee credits each year, automatic Hilton Diamond status, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, and a free weekend night award. You also get up to $250 in resort credit each year to cover incidentals charged to your room, but there has always been a lot of confusion over this credit.

If you're considering signing up for the Hilton Aspire card but want to make sure you can utilize the resort credit before you do, here's everything you need to know.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.

Read more: Hilton Aspire Amex review

Hilton Aspire card details

Welcome bonus: Earn 150,000 HIlton Honors points when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months

Rewards rate: Earn 14x points on paid Hilton hotel stays, 7x points on flights booked with airlines or through AmexTravel.com, car rentals from select companies, and at U.S. restaurants, and 3x points on other purchases

Cardholder benefits: Qualify for a $250 annual airline credit, automatic Hilton Diamond status, a free weekend night, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, and a $250 resort credit

Annual fee: $450

Get up to $250 per year toward resort incidentals

The resort credit on the Hilton Aspire is good for travel incidentals charged to your card at Hilton resort properties. The fine print for this card states that advanced purchase and non-refundable room rates don't apply, but that incidental charges like dining, spa treatments, and other on-site spending with a Hilton property do. Your resort credit card also cover your nightly room rate provided it wasn't nonrefundable or prepaid.

Keep in mind that you also need to charge incidental charges to your room for them to qualify. Specifically, Hilton says that "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 in order for them to be recognized as Hilton Resort purchases."

This credit can only be used at Hilton "resort" properties

Also be aware that you can only use the Hilton Aspire resort credit at Hilton "resort" properties, all of which are listed on this website. In total, the Hilton Aspire resort credit can only be used at 242 resorts worldwide, which is not a lot considering the Hilton hotel brand has nearly 6,000 properties across 17 different hotel brands worldwide.

This detail trips a lot of people up since it's easy to assume any Hilton on a beach is a "resort," for example, even if that's not the case at all. Before you rely on receiving this resort credit, it's best to look up the resorts the credit actually works for using the Hilton website.

You may have to wait 8 to 12 weeks for credits to post to your account

While your credit may post faster, the Hilton terms and conditions state that it may take 8 to 12 weeks for the resort credit from this card to post to your account. If you're tired of waiting or worry your credit isn't being applied for some reason, you can also call American Express customer service and ask them to expedite your credit.

I did this myself when my resort credit didn't post after I spent money on dining at two Hilton resort properties in Phoenix and Sedona, Arizona last year. Fortunately, they applied the credits to my account right away once I called in so I didn't have to wait until until after my credit card bill was due to get reimbursement.

The bottom line

The Hilton Aspire card from American Express is easily one of the top hotel credit cards on the market today, but you have to make sure you can use its benefits if you hope to maximize its value. That means taking advantage of the points you earn, but also having a plan to use cardholder benefits that can be tricky to use such as resort credits and airline fee credits.

The $450 annual fee this card charges is steep, but you can easily glean a ton of value every year, and especially the first year, if you maximize your Hilton Aspire rewards and cardholder perks. After all, you're being asked to pay $450 per year in exchange for up to $250 in resort credits, up to $250 in annual credit for airline incidentals, a weekend night at any Hilton property, automatic Hilton Diamond status, and a complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership.

Click here to learn more about the Hilton Aspire card.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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