Amex 50% Transfer Bonus to Starwood Canceled Early

by on March 23, 2012 · 19 comments

in American Express, Starwood

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Update: The bonus cancellation was a mistake and Amex has reinstated the 50% bonus transfer until March 31. So now you can transfer Amex points to SPG points at a 2:1 ratio. Read this post to learn more.

It appears that the 50% Amex transfer bonus to Starwood, which was supposed to last until March 31, has been canceled. One TPG reader even called Membership Rewards directly and was told by a rep that the bonus was a mistake and Amex pulled it early. I’ve emailed my contacts at Membership Rewards and will update you all once I hear something.

The transfer bonus is gone!

While 2:1 wasn’t the best deal in the world, I know there are many people swimming in Amex points and this bonus gave a couple unique ways to use those points.

This was especially attractive if you wanted to take advantage of US Airways current limited time 50% bonus promo on hotel transfers. So 40,000 Amex would equal 20,000 Starwood which would transfer to 37,500 US Airways – a near 1:1 transfer to US Airways miles, which are generally better than the direct Star Alliance Amex transfer partners of Aeroplan, Singapore and ANA.

The other scenario I mentioned was to take advantage of Starwood’s Cash & Points redemption option. I can often get over 4 cents per Starpoint in value when I redeem for Cash & Points stays, so if you valued Starpoints at more than two times Amex points, this transfer bonus might make sense. Now, however, it’d be pretty hard to justify 3 Amex points per SPG point, even on some of the best redemptions.

I think it looks poorly on American Express to just pull the promo without telling anyone, especially when so many people were excited about it! If they publish an end date to the promotion, they should honor it. The standard 3:1 transfer ratio is awful, especially since Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Hyatt at 1:1 and their best properties can be booked for 22,000 points- vs. Starwood’s 30,000+. That means you’d need 90,000 Amex points to book a top tier Starwood hotel vs. just 22,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book any Park Hyatt in the world.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Rob

    Since my main spending cards are the AmEx charge cards, I’d love for a 1:1 transfer to happen, since both programs value each point at basically the same value, I don’t see why this doesn’t happen… Other than it would devalue the AmEx SPG card…

  • EK

    Wow. Was going to transfer points from AMEX business plat to SPG under this ratio and now they pulled the offer, which is their legal right. Still, not a good way to keep business as other offers are far better than this. I may just cancel as I have personal plat and the only reason to keep that now is the great rental car upgrades, the primary and secondary insurance coverage, and the lounges. Otherwise, SPG Amex and Hilton Amex will get my spend from here on out.

  • Dan

    AmEx has some rethinking to do. My spending capacity on an AmEx is about $15,000 annually. I want to get premium cabin tickets every couple of years for my wife and I, and 30,000 MR points just isn’t going to cut it. I do like several of the remaining transfer partners, but AmEx is the only way I could get points in those accounts. $175/yr is way too much to pay for that.

    AmEx has to up their game if they want to keep people paying their steep renewal fee.

  • T W

    With Amex losing transfer partners left and right, and the remaining partners being conpletely devalued, it seems like Amex’s best and easiest shot at staying relevant is to make a better tranfer ratio to SPG.

    As stated by TPG: Chase Sapphire/Hyatt transfers at 1:1.

    Amex needs to do the same if they want to compete with a rising star of a credit card.

  • Scott in ATL

    I was about to transfer 500,000 MR points to my Starwood account with this promotion. I was waiting until the last few days to see if Delta would make any announcements about “new” Medallion rules or a surprise bonus offer. This totally stinks to just pull a promotion and REALLY makes me reevaluate my focus on AmEx and the MR program. I have accumulated and transferred over 12 million points over the last 10 yrs but this just might be the last straw. Guess I’ll start paying attention to other card offers now.
    Thanks TPG for all the helpful information throughout the year!!

  • Jamison

    scott, xfer your 500,000 MR to avois and you’ll have 750,000 avois……

  • Scott in ATL

    Jamison…thanks for that reminder. It’s offers like this that I really haven’t paid attention to in the past…been so focused on Delta (live in ATL). But with all the probable Delta changes I need to pay attention to other options now. I have LOTS of catching-up to do. And this has reinforced the importance to diversify…I do it in every other part of my businesses….so now I need to enact this same strategy in my points and travel planning. Thanks Jamison and thanks TPG!!

  • Aaron

    NOOO.. i was just about to transfer this weekend!

  • Nick

    blergh. was going to xfer next week. a posted date of 3/31 should be honored regardless of whether it was a “mistake”. interested to see how amex responds if at all to this.

  • James

    Really interested to hear their response on this one. Did the institutional price for Starpoints just go up?

    These guys are getting their you-know-what’s handed to them by Chase. And for good reason, too!

  • Fred

    i was the one called called the MR rep. The only “explanation” that she could guess at was that Starwood was supposed to send the bonus to targeted customers only but somehow AMEX misunderstood and offered to everyone. I explained that I simply couldn’t “wrap my head around” the fact that it took AMEX three full weeks to figure it out?

  • Alison

    3/31 was the advertised end date to the promotion and Amex should honor it, even if it means they end up taking a hit. Fire the employee who screwed up the promotion or dock their bonus, honor your customers, and move on already.

  • Sean

    Now that it’s not available, I feel cheated. But then again, honestly, I wasn’t going to transfer at 2:1 either. My AmEx MR go to SkyMiles, Flying Blue, and BAEC during their promotions. And there will be more promotions for these airline partners.

  • Mark the Shark

    I had called AMEX yesterday and requested a transfer of points at 2:1, and while they wouldn’t do it at that point, they said they’d call me back. They just called me back, and said they’d honor the request. Personally, I highly value SPG points, as when I travel in Europe, using the cash and points option where hotels are hundreds of euros a night, and I pay 4,500 points and $90, it’s a steal! With the value of the Euro to the dollar (about 1.3 to $1), it works out very nicely.

  • The Points Guy

    Amex has corrected the mistake today and the transfer bonus is back on. Read more about it here: Thank you for being so on top of it!

  • The Points Guy

    Amex apparently thought the same and has reinstated the bonus:

  • The Points Guy

    You were definitely on top of it! Amex has corrected the mistake today and the transfer bonus is back on. Read more about it here:

  • MJLouise

    AmEx’s IT really needs to get their crap together. WTH.

  • Pingback: Good News: 50% Amex Transfer Bonus To Starwood Reinstated! | The Points Guy()

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