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Edit: These bonuses seem to be targeted and may vary on the Amex card that you have. Feel free to report your experience in the comments
I personally think the American Express Membership Rewards program is great – for airline redemptions. However, when it comesto their hotel transfer ratios, I don’t see a lot of value in transferred 2 Amex to 1 stinking Starwood point or even a 1: 1.5 ratio to Hilton. This is in comparison to Chase Ultimate Rewards program that allows instant 1:1 transfer to Hyatt, where you can get top rooms at any Park Hyatt in the world for 22,000 points. Now that’s amazing value.
However, Amex just announced several new transfer bonuses on their hotel partners, but none of them really have me excited:
1) Hilton 25% Rebate Until June 30, 2012, which means 1 Amex = 2 Hilton points. This still isn’t as good as taking advantage of the current Virgin Atlantic 25% transfer and then transferring those Virgin miles to Hilton at a 2:1 ratio as I highlighted in this post.
2) Starwood Preferred Guest 25% Rebate until June 30, 2012. Considering Amex just had a 50% Starwood transfer bonus, which I took advantage of, this one isn’t really exciting me either (though the 750 Amex = 333 SPG is a 44% bonus, which isn’t too far off.).
3) Choice 25% Rebate until June 30, 2012. Normally the ratio is 1:1, however now 750 Amex = 1,000 Choice. They ran a 50% bonus back in October, so this 33% bonus has me yawning a bit. When I covered the 50% bonus I noted a logical way to play this deal would be to transfer to Southwest in order to help qualify for the annual companion pass, which is an amazing benefit. Otherwise, if you want to use these points for free hotel rooms, do the math before jumping into a transfer.
There are also some discounted hotel gift card options, such as 9,600 points for $100 gift cards with Fairmont, Hyatt, Mandarin Oriental and Marriott, Ritz-Carlton.
That’s getting just a smidge over 1 cent per point in value, which isn’t really great in my opinion. I personally get more value from taking advantage of lucrative airline transfer promotions, like the current British Airways 50%, but these might make sense for you are rich in Amex points and looking to save on hotel spend.
n There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.
There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.