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Good News: 50% Amex Transfer Bonus To Starwood Reinstated!

by on March 23, 2012 · 15 comments

in American Express, Starwood

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Update: The 30,000-point bonus is no longer available. The bonus is now 25,000 points for the Starwood Amex business and personal cards.

As I wrote earlier today, the 50% Amex Transfer Bonus to Starwood points that was supposed to run until March 31, 2012, had been pulled early. A lot of TPG readers wrote in about it to let me know and ask if anything could be done about it.

I emailed my contacts at American Express looking for some answers, and they responded immediately that they would look into it. It turns out the cancellation was a mistake, and the bonus has been reinstated. You can see it hard-coded into the transfer ratio on the Membership Rewards transfer page in the screenshot I just took below.

As you can see in the calculator, the transfer ratio is back to 2:1 for the promo.

Props to Amex for fixing it quickly–good things can happen if you speak up!

This bonus is 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.

This is also another good chance take advantage of one of my favorite point redemption methods, Starwood Cash & PointsI can often get over 4 cents per Starpoint in value when I redeem for Cash & Points stays, so if you value Starpoints at more than two times Amex points, this transfer bonus might make sense. Plus, Cash & Point and award stays now count towards SPG elite status and Starwood added a ton of benefits to Gold and Platinum status.

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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  • Scott in ATL

    This is GREAT news!! I value my Starwood points highly because of the Cash and Points and now especially because those stays count toward elite status. Thanks TPG!!

  • Mommy Points

    This whole thing sounds crazy….it was a mistake to release it, it was a mistake to cancel it. Geez! Good job playing a part in getting it back!

  • Fred

    it is hard-coded but notice that it doesnt have the usual “hooplah” and red fonts saying Limited Time Bonus Offer like it did the other day and like it is currently for BA promo. they are allowing those of us who expected it to be there thru 3-31-12 to get the bonus but they arent trying to attract new members to get in on it. of course they will since the rate is set at 500=1000. my point is that i think they really did want to cancel it but bowed to the pressure and the compromise was — allow it but now flaunt it

  • Modernhaus

    If i want to use my MR points to fly LAN to South America, should I transfer to BA with the current 50% bonus deal or Starwood with the 50% deal and then get the 2:1 LAN transfer bonus? Sorry, I realize I should be able to figure this out on my own, but just curious if I’m missing anything?

  • milevalue

    LAN has a region-to-region chart. The US – Chile, Uruguay, Argentina costs one price. The US – Peru, Bolivia, Brazil another. And the US – Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela a third price. BA’s chart is distance based, so it depends on where your home airport is and where you’re going.

  • milevalue

    I value Avios at 1.70 cpm. So with the 50% MR to Avios bonus, I value MR at 2.55 cpm. That means, I would have to value SPG points at 5.1 cpm to transfer from MR to SPG even with the transfer bonus. And I would have to value US miles at 2.72 cpm to make the MR to SPG to US transfers worthwhile.

    I don’t value SPG points or US miles that highly, so these aren’t a good deal for me. But if you value SPG or US more highly than I do, or Avios less highly than I do, this could be a great deal!

  • EK

    A follow up to this morning. It took 4 calls to get through to someone who could help me and the first call started out with the CS telling Amex’s computers were down and I could not cancel at this time, but to call back in an hour. I tried throughout the afternoon to no avail. I called tonight at 930 p.m. and finally got CS. When I said I wanted to cancel my Plat Business they immediately gave me to a “Business Customer Service Relations Specialist.” This is the person whose job it is to keep me. I have three Amex personal cards (SPG, Hilton Surpass and Plat) and redeem enough off of Personal Plat alone to fly several times, as well as the dollars I spend with SPG Amex and the Hilton…I just book a dozen stays this afternoon. The CS Specialist informed me that at 930 p.m. tonight the deal was indeed cancelled. She went to the website and CONFIRMED this. I didn’t have the laptop open in front of me, so I didn’t catch the error…my bad. However, she did apologize and offer to set me up with Business Gold as it has a “great points redemption system.” I explained I could not justify keeping my business spend on this card with a 450 fee when the reality is that Amex cannot be counted on to honor what has been written on their site. I further explained that according to T&C Amex was well with their rights to “pull the offer” just as I was well within my rights to cancel my card before the annual fee comes due next month. We had a very pleasant conversation and I cancelled Biz Plat. I will move everything I need to into SPG tonight but from here on out I will limit my MR spend to minimal as this vehicle continues to be devalued and has become unpredictable. Kudos to TPG for helping to persuadde Amex to honor their 31st date. I do love the rental car benefit, the lounges, and the $200 airline incidentals benefit which justifies Plat’s fee. I will just diversify my spend like Scott from ATL so that I am not counting on MR to help fly my family of four to Japan next year. Again, thanks to everyone who helped Amex to change their minds…for now.

  • EK

    And…all points sitting safely in my SPG account. Thanks TPG and community again!!

  • arcticbull

    Either way it’s seriously doubtful because for every 1 MR you transfer you get 1.5 Avios, or 0.5 SPG => 1.25 Lan KM. Remember LAN uses km and not mi, and their redemptions cost more as a result. Let’s look at some sample routes:

    JFK-LIM-CUZ (Distance=3629mi+364mi o/w)
    (LANPass) Requires (24000 Y / 50000 J) LP => (19200 / 40000) SPG, (38400 / 80000) MR
    (BA Avios) Requires (24500 Y/49000 J) BA => (16333 / 32666) MR

    The only reason to convert to LAN km is if they have award availability in their own program that they aren’t releasing to their oneworld partners, and really only short flights at that (such as LIM-CUZ).

    Now don’t take my word for it. Play with the charts:
    http://www.lan.com/en_us/sitio_personas/lanpass/como_canjear/tabla_premios.html

  • baxterboy12

    I need to book 2 award tickets to the Congo on ET this week. Are both transfers instant?

  • Modernhaus

    Thank you! This is very helpful.
    In the equation above, did you take into consideration that SPG transfers to LAN at a 1:2 ratio? So that 38,400 MR=19,200 SPG=38,400 LAN. It seems like AVIOS still comes out pretty far ahead in this scenario. Wow, is this a situation where AVIOS is superior to another program?!

  • arcticbull

    Hmmm, maybe you’re right I think I did that calculation wrong. Let’s look at the LANPass one step-by-step.

    This reward requires 24000Y / 50000J LANPass km
    SPG:LANPass is 1:2, with a 25% transfer bonus for 20kSPG, so let’s say 1:2.5
    That means we need (9600Y / 20000J) SPG
    MR:SPG is 1:0.5
    That means we need (19200Y / 40000J) MR

    So Avios is still better here, in raw numbers and because they don’t require you to book a round-trip but rather require you to book segment-by-segment. This means unlimited number of layovers, and you can make them as long as you like I guess. I guess LANPass MAY make more sense depending on the exact award, so once again it’s important to do the calculations before you book.

    Sorry for the confusion!

  • BP

    Has anyone checked to see if the MR to SPG transfer is available to Canadian Amex holders? thanks

  • Bcred

    I looked on line and couldnt see anything. :(
    I’m a little peeved that Amex will give perks like this to the US but forget about us in Canada.

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