35% Amex Transfer Bonus To Virgin Atlantic Ends Tomorrow = 80% Bonus to Hilton HHonors!
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here
Just a reminder that the current transfer bonus of 35% from American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying ends tomorrow, December 29, 2012 at 11:59pm ET (I confirmed the end time with Amex).
The normal transfer ratio is 1:1, so with this bonus, instead of transferring 1,000 Membership Rewards points to 1,000 Flying Club miles, you’ll get 1,350 Flying Club miles instead, and points transfer instantly. The bonus will be hard-coded into the transfer page, so you won’t have to register or do anything special, just transfer miles as you normally would. Past bonuses have been in the 15-25% range, so 35% is pretty good in my opinion- especially if you know how to leverage your Flying Club miles.
For instance, flying roundtrip from New York to London on an award ticket in Upper Class requires 80,000 miles plus $1,300. To end up with 80,000 miles, you’d only need 59,260 Amex points with this transfer bonus and while those $1,300 in taxes and fees are pretty hefty, that’s still a pretty significant discount on tickets that can go for $4,000+ miles. An economy ticket will still cost you $700 in taxes and fees, but only 25,926 miles instead of the usual 35,000. That’s almost like flying a domestic roundtrip. Have a look at the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s redemption requirements here.
Also remember that Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles transfer to Hilton at a 2:1 ratio. This is a great way to make even more of those Amex points, which transfer to Hilton HHonors directly at a ratio of 1 Amex point to 1.5 HHonors points. With this promo, however, 1 Amex point = 1.35 Virgin miles = 2.7 HHonors points, 80% more than transferring directly from Amex.
I actually took advantage of the transfer bonus and favorable Virgin-to-Hilton ratio to transfer 100,000 Amex points into 270,000 Hilton Honors points, plus I've got my two bonus weekend nights from signing up for the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card. I had some business expenses to put on my card - so I will earn Hilton Diamond status for next year through spending on it, so I plan to explore Hilton's loyalty programs and hotels next year and take advantage of its elite GLON reduced award rates. Those 270,000 points from this transfer are enough for an 9-night stay at GLON rates at a Category 6 property like the Hilton Los Cabos in Mexico or the Conrad Punta del Este Resort in Uruguay.
I still have a bunch of Amex points left, so I'm probably also going to take advantage of the 30% Amex transfer bonus to British Airways that's live until January 14, 2013, for future redemptions but I usually like to wait until the last minute to decide and I'm in no rush just yet.