Amex Hilton Aspire Card Military Lending Act | Free Diamond Status 2021

I will show you how to get your 1st $550 annual fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards course
The Amex Gold card is annual fee waived for military. It's even better than the Amex Platinum for everyday spending on dining and groceries.

Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Thank you for supporting my independent, veteran owned site.

The Amex Hilton Honors Aspire card offers free Hilton Diamond Status for active duty military members and their spouses. The annual fee of $450 is also waived, thanks to the American Express Military Lending Act policy.

Free Diamond Status at Hilton Hotels for Military
  • American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card
  • $450 annual fee waived for US military servicemembers and spouses
  • Complimentary Diamond Status at all Hilton brands (suite upgrades, breakfast, check in gifts, etc)
  • 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points welcome offer after $4000 of purchases in the first 3 months
  • 1 weekend night reward after opening your account and every year on renewal
  • $250 Hilton Resort Credit
  • $250 airline fee credit (similar to the AMEX Platinum, also free for military)
  • 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points at Hilton properties
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Full review of Amex Aspire card

American Express currently offers 3 Hilton Honors personal credit cards and 1 business card. Together, you could earn 400,000+ Hilton points if you acquired all 4 cards and met the minimum spend on each. That's more than enough for a 6 night stay at any of the top Hilton properties.

Upgrade Amex Surpass to Amex Aspire

You can upgrade the lower tier cards (Surpass and the plain Hilton Honors Cards) to the higher tier Amex Hilton Aspire card after 1 year of card membership. The military annual fee waiver is still applied.

This allows you to get up to 3 Amex Aspire cards per person. A married couple could have 6 Aspire cards and earn 6 free nights annually in addition to 6x $250 credits at Hilton properties. That's $1500 per year of credit. And again, you pay no annual fees on any of these cards as a military servicemember or spouse.

If you and your spouse each opened up your own cards, you could earn over 1,000,000 Hilton Honors points in just a few months. Looks like you'll need to take some more leave!

Earning 1 Million Hilton Honors Points

Late in 2020 I earned over 1 million Hilton Honors points thanks to these cards and multiple TDY stays at Hilton properties around the world. Screenshot of me becoming a Hilton Points Millionaire™:

One million Hilton points is enough for 100 nights at some of Hilton's properties, like the Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi or 50 nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest Old Town in Romania.

Plus, even if you book the cheapest room in the hotel, you will probably get upgraded because of your automatic Diamond status through the Hilton Honors Aspire card.

Some of these welcome bonuses are at all time highs. You should apply for these cards when the bonuses are high because Amex only allows you to get bonuses on their cards once per lifetime.

Amex Hilton Honors Aspire

The perks of the Amex Hilton Honors Aspire include:

Free Diamond Status at Hilton Hotels for Military
  • $450 annual fee waived for US military
  • Complimentary Diamond Status – room upgrades, free breakfast, and more!
  • 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points welcome offer after $4000 of purchases in the first 3 months (worth up to 18 nights of stays!)
  • 1 weekend night reward after opening your account and every year on renewal
  • $250 Hilton Resort Credit
  • $250 airline fee credit (similar to the Amex Platinum, another free card for military)
  • 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points at Hilton properties
  • No foreign transaction fees

If you add up the 18 nights stay (worth at least $1500), the 1 weekend reward night ($200), $250 resort credit, and $250 airline fee credit this card can easily give you $2200 of value in the first year PLUS the annual fee of $450 waived!

The free weekend night award can be cashed in at luxury properties that would normally cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars a night.

That's $2650 of value from this card alone. Apply for the Amex Hilton Aspire card here.

Amex Hilton Honors Surpass

The benefits of the Amex Hilton Honors Surpass include:

  • Learn how to apply for the Amex Hilton Honors Surpass card
  • 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points as a welcome offer after spending $2000 in the first 3 months
  • Plus, earn a $150 credit after your first purchase with the card in the first 3 months
  • Earn a weekend night award when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • $95 annual fee waived for US military
  • 12x Hilton Honors points at Hilton properties
  • Upgrade this card to another fee waived Aspire card and get all the benefits of the Aspire card x2
  • Learn how to upgrade to Amex Aspire cards

One tip I have is you can upgrade this card to an Aspire card. You can reap double the benefits, such as resort credit, airline fees, reimbursed, AND get an additional weekend night free annually. You will still pay no annual fees if you are an active duty US servicemember.

Learn how to apply for this card here. (Note this card used to be called the Hilton Honors Ascend card, but AMEX changed the name to Hilton Honors Surpass card in July 2019.)

Amex Hilton Honors Card

Hilton Hotels Diamond Status for Military

This card has a welcome offer of 8,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months of Card Membership. This is an EASY way to add to your Hilton Honors points stash.

Plus you can a $100 statement credit with your first purchase on the card in the first 3 months of account opening.

Learn how to apply for American Express Hilton Honors card.

Amex Hilton Honors Business Card

This card's best benefit is a welcome bonus of 130,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months. Amex stopped waiving business card annual fees for military servicemembers in January 2020, but this card only has a $95 annual fee.

The annual fee is low enough that it might be worth paying for a year or two just to get the welcome bonus.

Learn how to apply for the Hilton Honors Business Card.

One tip is that you can apply for this card even if your business doesn't make much money. Even if you only sell a few items on eBay or Craigslist, you should qualify for a business credit card. Driving for Uber or any of the other “gig” economy jobs qualify as businesses as well.

Use your Social Security number instead of a employer tax identification number and select “sole proprietor” from the list of corporation types.

Hilton Honors Diamond Status Perks

The tangible perks of Hilton Honors Diamond Status include:

  • Executive lounge access (free food and drink)
  • Late check-out
  • Room upgrades up to 1-bedroom suite
  • Complimentary breakfast at ALL Hilton Hotels

When I check in at any Hilton around the world, I have always been upgraded as a Diamond member. When we stayed at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton, we were upgraded to a deluxe king room but more importantly we had access to the executive lounge.

Hilton Edinburgh Carlton

Free happy hour, free espresso machine, free breakfast, and a nice place to relax and get some work done while on the road. Make sure you leave a nice tip for the wait staff, since you're eating and drinking for free!

Enjoying some Mary's Milk Bar ice cream in Grassmarket Edinburgh looking up at the castle

Another excellent perk of Hilton Diamond status is the free breakfast. One of the best hotel breakfasts I ever had was at the Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest Old Town. My god it was good!

Sorry for the gratuitous photos of a hotel buffet breakfast, but just look at that bacon!

Amazing bacon and sausage for breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest Old Town. Free for Hilton Diamond members!

What are your favorite perks of the Hilton Honors Aspire card? What was the best upgrade you received as a Hilton Diamond member?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.