AMEX Is Offering Bonuses Of Up To 50% On Transfers To Hilton Honors [Targeted]


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One of the main reasons I’m such a fan of American Express Membership Rewards is that we often see AMEX publish offers that allow its cardholders to get outsized value out of their Membership Rewards balance.

AMEX Transfer bonuses to the likes of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and JetBlue are not uncommon, and now we’re seeing a range of transfer bonuses on offer to the Hilton Honors loyalty program.

My Membership Rewards account has been targeted for a bonus of 30%…

…but the ever-reliable Doctor of Credit has seen bonuses as low as 10% and as high as 50%.

The Math

I value Membership Rewards points at 1.5 cents each and I value Hilton Honors points at 0.4 cents each and those valuations are key to working out just how good (or bad) this transfer offer is.

Under normal circumstances, 1,000 Membership Rewards points convert to 2,000 Hilton Honors points and, as that’s essentially $15 worth of points converting over to $8 worth of points, I don’t see it as a good deal.

But do the transfer bonuses make any difference?

Here’s the math for each of the transfer bonuses that’s currently available:

  • 10% Bonus: 1,000 Amex points –> 2,200 Hilton Points ($15 worth of points –> $8.80)
  • 20% Bonus: 1,000 Amex points –> 2,400 Hilton Points ($15 worth of points –> $9.60)
  • 30% Bonus: 1,000 Amex points –> 2,600 Hilton Points ($15 worth of points –> $10.40)
  • 40% Bonus: 1,000 Amex points –> 2,800 Hilton Points ($15 worth of points –> $11.20)
  • 50% Bonus: 1,000 Amex points –> 3,000 Hilton Points ($15 worth of points –> $12.00)

The math would appear to indicate that even if you’ve been offered the 50% bonus this isn’t a deal you should be considering…but that’s not the whole story.

Can This Be A Good Deal?

It’s important to remember that miles and points valuations are subjective (you may value your balances differently to me) and they’re only a guideline – they don’t form a hard and fast rule.

As such there will certainly be times where taking up the opportunity offered by one of these transfer bonuses will make a lot of sense.

If you’re rich with Membership Rewards points and low on cash (and Hilton Honors points) it could make a lot of sense to transfer over some Membership Rewards points to make a Hilton booking that would otherwise eat up yet more of your cash reserves – at times like this individual points valuations are essentially meaningless because the primary aim is to preserve cash (anyone who tells you otherwise should be politely ignored).

There may also be times when a Hilton Honors booking offers such great value the math shown above goes out of the window.

Take this example of the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills where a room can be booked for 95,000 points or $695 + taxes:

95,000 Hilton Honors points would require a transfer of 32,000 Membership Rewards points (assuming a 50% transfer bonus) which, by my valuation, are worth $480.

The cash rate for this room for the same date (once the taxes and fees are added in) comes to over $840.

If you wanted to/had to book this hotel on this particular date a Membership Rewards transfer to Hilton would be a no-brainer.

Bottom Line

If you don’t have an obvious and immediate use for any Hilton points you would generate by transferring over some Membership Rewards points this is an offer you should probably ignore.

If you have an upcoming need to make a Hilton award booking you just have to work out the value you’d be getting from any transfer you make to see if the offer you’ve been targeted for is any good – I shall be passing but I can see this being useful for others.

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