Reminder: Amex/Starwood and US Airways Promos Ending March 31

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Just a friendly reminder that two current promotions are ending this Saturday, March 31.

1) American Express Membership Rewards to Starwood 50% bonus. This means you get 1 Starwood for every 2 Amex points, instead of the normal 3 Amex to 1 Starwood ratio. While I’d love to see a 1:1 transfer ratio, I’m not going to hold my breath for that. I find Starwood points to be extremely valuable – especially when I use them for Cash & Points. I’m currently writing this post from Le Meridien Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia where I used 1,600 points and $30 per night when the regular room rate was $150 a night. So 1,600 SPG points saved me $120, or 7.5 cents each. Not only that, Starwood now counts award and cash & points redemptions towards elite status and I got a 500 point amenity, free daily breakfast and an upgrade to a nice suite. Plus they just launched new benefits for 50, 75 and 100 nights so I’m really digging Starwood right now and am trying to get towards the 75 night level. Even though I prefer using Starpoints for expensive European stays, it made a lot of sense in this case so I recommend taking a deeper look at the Starwood Preferred Guest program if you haven’t in the past.

2) The second promotion ending Saturday is the US Airways 50% bonus on hotel transfers. I generally recommend using hotel points for hotel stays, but with this promotion you can take advantage of the Amex to Starwood 50% and in essence convert Amex points to US Airways at a near 1:1 ratio. US Airways has a pretty good frequent flyer program with great redemptions like 40,000 roundtrip offpeak awards to Europe in coach, 90,000 mile roundtrips to China/Japan/Korea/Hong Kong in business class and 110,000 miles roundtrip in business class to Australia/New Zealand. Those same redemptions with current Amex Membership Rewards Star Alliance partners Aeroplan, ANA and Singapore may very well cost a lot more in miles and fuel surcharges/fees.
SPG poinst normally transfer to US Airways 20,000 points = 25,000 Dividend miles, so with this promo you get 37,500 miles.

Whether you take advantage of these promotions or not depends on your current point balances and what you want to get out of your points. I personally have about 750,000 American Express Membership Rewards points and lots of airline miles in assorted programs, so I wanted to increase my Starwood balance. I decided to move 200,000 Amex to Starwood and instantly got 100,000 SPG points in my account. I have plans to do New Zealand/Australia in the spring and I want to take advantage of the US Airways 110,000 mile awards so I transferred 40,000 SPG to US Airways, which will net me 75,000 Dividend Miles. I already have a nice balance there from the past couple Grand Slams and Buy Miles promos, so I’ll have enough miles for me and a couple companions if I so choose to be nice to my friends.

I feel good about it because I padded my Starwood and US Airways accounts and still have enough Amex to take advantage of any other transfer bonuses that may come up (like the current British Airways 50% bonus until May 31, 2012). I always preach that diversification is the key towards getting max value from miles and points and I feel that I’ve accomplished that in a smart way by leveraging these promos to lower my exposure to Amex Membership Rewards (wow, I’m starting to sound real Wall Street!)

What are your plans with these promos?

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