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Some American Express cardmembers are spotting a surprise in their Membership Rewards accounts. The issuer is offering a targeted transfer bonus of 50% on Membership Rewards points transferred to Hilton Honors. The promotion, which has been extended from a November expiration, is valid for targeted customers through Dec. 31, 2018.

While in the prior promotion, there were two tiers (a 1:2.6 conversion ratio or a 1:3 conversion ratio), there appears to now be one — 1,000 Membership Rewards points to 3,000 Hilton Honors points. TPG staffers who were targeted for the transfer bonus only reported seeing the 1:3 conversion ratio. The standard Amex-to-Hilton transfer rate is 1:2, so if you’re targeted for the 1:3 bonus, you’ll get 50% more Hilton points than usual.

As a general rule, Membership Rewards points are better redeemed for airline transfers than for Hilton stays, since TPG only values Hilton Honors points at a measly 0.6 cents per point. That being said, there are specific cases where this transfer bonus could be particularly valuable for your upcoming travels, especially since resort fees are waived on award stays.

Take the Hilton Waikoloa Village, for instance. This is TPG Family Editor Summer Hull’s go-to property for Hawaii stays, especially over holidays and winter breaks when cash prices are at an all-time high. During those peak months, a Palace Tower room can go for $634 per night, plus a $40 daily resort charge. This equals $674 per night, even before taxes are taken into consideration. 

In comparison, a standard award night at this property only costs 60,000 points, with no additional taxes or fees. Furthermore, Hilton Honors elite status members are eligible for a fifth night free — and status is complimentary for all Hilton credit card holders.

Put it all together and a five-night stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village costs $3,859.39 at the lowest Hilton member rate, while an award stay of the same duration would only cost 240,000 Hilton Honors points for a traveler with Hilton elite status. Assuming you were targeted for the 1:3 Amex Hilton transfer promotion and transferred 80,000 Membership Rewards points to Hilton for this redemption, you’d get a value of 4.8 cents per point — more than double TPG’s current 1.9 cent per point valuation on Amex points.

Other high-end Hilton hotels also present solid value with this Amex transfer promotion. The Conrad Maldives offers a fantastic opportunity for aspirational travelers to cross the Maldives off their bucket list in style without breaking the bank. You’ll notice that a cash stay here carries an additional 10% service charge per stay, before taxes.

Even at the lowest promotional cash rate for the Conrad Maldives over peak season, taking advantage of the China National Holiday sale rate — which requires payment in full three months before the vacation date — the all-in cost for five nights would be $10,211.68.

In comparison, a five-night stay for a Hilton elite member during the same timeframe would cost 380,000 Hilton Honors points for a Beach Villa room after factoring the fifth night free. That would require just 126,667 Membership Rewards points with the 1:3 transfer bonus — an incredible 8.1 cents per point value.

Dubai is another bucket-list destination, and the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah offers a posh home base from which to enjoy some of the world’s most spectacular New Year’s fireworks displays. Note that this is another property that carries a 10% service charge per stay.

All-in, a five-night cash stay would cost $10,363.33 at the Hilton Honors member rate without advance payment, or $8,951.46 for a pre-paid booking. On the other hand, a five-night award stay would cost 280,000 Hilton Honors points, or 93,334 Membership Rewards points if transferred at the 1:3 promotional ratio. That’s up to a whopping 9.6 cents per point in redemption value.

If you weren’t targeted for this Amex transfer bonus, one of the best ways to earn Hilton Honors points and score elite status is by signing up for one of Hilton’s co-branded Amex cards. The issuer increased its welcome bonuses on all its Hilton cards across the board, beginning at 75,000 points  (after spending $1,000 in the first three months) for the basic, no-annual-fee Hilton Honors American Express Card, and topping out at 150,000 points on the premium Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (after spending $4,000 in the first three months). These offers are worth between $450 and $900 based on TPG’s latest valuations, and are one of the best card options for frequent Hilton customers, earning between 7-14x points per dollar at Hilton properties. Furthermore, all Hilton credit card members enjoy complimentary elite status, including even cardholders with the no-fee Hilton card.

Featured image of the Conrad Maldives courtesy of the hotel.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Sept. 13, 2018, though that two-tiered transfer bonus had an expiration date of Nov. 30. The text of the post has been updated to reflect the new end date of Dec. 31.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

This card is currently offering a welcome bonus of 150,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your card at U.S. Supermarkets, U.S. Gas Stations, Eligible Airfare, Eligible Car Rentals, and U.S. Restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74%-26.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Good,Excellent
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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