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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Update: This appears to be a targeted offer. Log in to your Membership Awards account and click through to the SPG transfers page to see if you’re eligible for the bonus.
Last October, American Express Membership Rewards offered a 50% bonus on transfers to Starwood, and it looks like the bonus is back on for 2015. Through October 31, you’ll earn a bonus on every transfer of 1,000 points or more, giving you 500 Starpoints per 1,000 Amex points, rather than the usual 333.
To take advantage, initiate a transfer through Membership Rewards by the end of the month. Cards that earn Membership Rewards points include The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express and The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express.
Should you Transfer?
TPG values Membership Rewards points at 1.9 cents each and Starpoints at 2.5 cents each. Since you’ll be transferring points worth 3.8 cents in exchange for points worth 2.5 cents, on the surface this doesn’t seem like a great deal. However, you can get far more value than 2.5 cents from each Starpoint if you’re careful about your redemptions, especially for hotel stays during expensive periods, such as San Francisco during a trade show or Sydney on New Year’s Eve.
You can also get excellent value from SPG’s Moments program, which allows you to redeem Starpoints for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as a round of golf with a pro, suites at a New York Knicks game, or Starwood’s new Hear the Music, See the World concert series. Also, you’ll still be able to transfer Starpoints to Amtrak once Ultimate Rewards transfers end on December 8, though you’ll probably get better value for your Starpoints by transferring to an airline or redeeming for a hotel.
Ultimately, if you’re often able to get more than 3.8 cents in value for your SPG points or if you have a specific redemption in mind, this transfer makes far more sense during a bonus period than it does during the rest of the year. Of course, you can also boost your balance significantly by signing up for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, which offers 25,000 bonus Starpoints after $3,000 in purchases in the first three months.