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- Two of Hilton’s rewards credit cards – the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card, and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card – offer cardholders high complimentary elite status.
- While plenty of hotels offer low levels of status, these two Hilton cards offer higher levels, which come with a variety of perks including complimentary breakfast during your stay at a Hilton hotel.
- Here’s how to take advantage of free hotel breakfast at Hiltons.
There are plenty of hotel credit cards out there that offer elite loyalty status as a benefit to cardholders. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card offers Silver status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers Platinum status in IHG’s program.
However, only Hilton offers credit cards that give a level of status high enough to include one of my favorite hotel perks: free breakfast.
One of Hilton’s credit cards offers the cardholder complimentary Gold status, while the other offers the highest level of status: Diamond. Just by having one of the credit cards open and attached to your account, you’ll be upgraded to that level of status and receive benefits on every qualifying stay. Both Gold and Diamond status qualify for complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, and more.
Each property handles the complimentary breakfast benefit differently. Some remove breakfast purchases from your bill when you check out, while others simply print a bill with a $0.00 total.
Here are the two cards, and the perks they come with.
With an annual fee of $95, including the first year, the Hilton Ascend is the best mid-range option in Hilton’s line-up.
The Ascend offers complimentary Gold status, a potentially a stellar deal. The free breakfast alone can make up for the annual fee in just a few days – hotel breakfast is expensive, often costing over $20, but sometimes it’s the only option.
If you spend $40,000 on the card within a calendar year, you’ll be upgraded to Diamond status. In addition to the same benefits you’d get from Gold status, Diamond gets you higher priority for room upgrades, executive lounge access, and more. Regardless of how much you spend, the card also comes with 10 free day passes to Priority Pass airport lounges.
When you open an Ascend card, you can earn 125,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months. You’ll also get a free weekend night’s stay if you spend $15,000 on the card within a calendar year.
The Ascend earns 12x points on Hilton purchases, 6x points at restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets within the US, and 3x points on everything else.
The Aspire is the premium Hilton card, and even though it has a $450 annual fee, including the first year, it offers an absurd amount of potential value to blow that away.
The card comes with complimentary top-tier Diamond status without any spending requirement, getting you those room upgrades, executive lounge access, and more, in addition to all the benefits of lower tiers such as free breakfast.
It features up to a $250 airline fee credit per calendar year, and up to a $250 Hilton resort statement credit each card member year – right away that’s $500 in value. But it doesn’t stop there. The Aspire also offers up to $100 in Hilton on-property credit every time you book a stay of two nights or longer at a luxury-level Hilton property – you just need to book through a specific website for cardholders.
Cardholders also get a free weekend night reward each year – regardless of how much you spend – and a second if they spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.
The Aspire, naturally, has the highest rewards earning rate of the Hilton cards: 14x points per dollar spent with Hilton, 7x points on flights booked wit the airline, car rentals, and at US restaurants, and 3x points on everything else.