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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.
Now through November 30, 2013, American Express Membership Rewards is offering a 20% bonus when transferring points to the Choice Privileges program if you’ve got a card that accrues them, such as the Premier Rewards Gold, Platinum or Business Platinum cards.
Normally points transfer at a ratio of 1 Amex point to 1 Choice point, which isn’t terribly exciting, but at least with this promo, you can transfer 1,000 Amex points to get 1,200 Choice Privileges points instead. This bonus is hard-coded so there is no need to register for it.
A few years ago, American Express offered a 50% transfer bonus to Choice Privileges, but haven’t had any since, so if you’ve been considering moving some points into Choice Privileges but were waiting for a bonus to do so, now is probably the time.
As you can see, the values for transferring Choice Privileges points to any of its airline partners, which include Air Canada, American, Delta, Spirit and Aeromexico, are pretty poor at a ratio of 5 or 6 to one, so I’d suggest not going this route, even taking into account the 20% bonus.
In terms of hotel redemptions, when it comes to redeeming Choice Points, you can use them for award nights at over 6,000 of their properties. Choice award nights require between 6,000 to 35,000 points per nigh,t so with the 20% bonus it comes down to 5,000-30,000 Amex points, which is still a lot considering you can generally get much more value out of your American Express points by transferring them to the program’s 16 airline partners.
However, an example of a decent redemption is for the Clarion Hotel in Cork, Ireland, where the lowest refundable rate was running for 150 EUR ($200) per night in October. However, award nights at this hotel are also available for only 8,000 Choice Privileges points. Since American Express points must be transferred in 1,000 increments, you would need to transfer 7,000 points for an award night here, which would give you a value of 2.85 cents per point.
However, that’s one of the best values for Choice Privileges points I’ve found, so I wouldn’t recommend just transferring to Choice without a specific hotel redemption in mind. You’ll probably also get more value out on an international stay such as one in Europe, so take a look at those hotels if you do want to take advantage of this. As always with transfer bonuses, do the math for yourself and figure out if the specific redemption you’re interested in makes sense for you.