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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.
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.