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One of the truly big positives of the AMEX Membership Rewards program is that American Express frequently likes to offer bonuses when cardholders transfer points across to a number of its partner loyalty programs (for example, there’s a bonus for transfers to Avios right now), but these bonuses should come with a health warning – not all of them are a good deal.
American Express Membership Rewards offers transfers to just three hotel loyalty programs and one of these is Marriott Bonvoy. Right now AMEX is offering a 30% bonus on all Membership Rewards points transferred over to Marriott by 31 October 2019 but this is a “deal” that almost everyone should be ignoring.
Before I even consider the math behind this transfer bonus the fact that AMEX has already offered bonuses of between 40% and 50% for transfers to Marriott Bonvoy this year should give you a good idea that this is unlikely to be an offer you should be considering.
I value Membership Rewards points at 1.5 cents each and, as valuations go, this is probably one of the more conservative valuations you’ll see (you’ll find them valued at an incredible 2.0 cents each on one particular site but I wouldn’t take any valuation that site offers too seriously).
When it comes to Marriott Bonvoy points I struggle to value them at anything higher than 0.7 cents each and, because Marriott properties appear to be jumping on the Resort/Destination/Amenity fee bandwaggon and because we’re about to see peak-pricing introduced, this valuation is very likely to drop to 0.6 cents in the near future.
So, with this transfer bonus seeing AMEX Membership Rewards points converting to Marriott Bonvoy points at a ratio of 1 to 1.3 we’re essentially being asked to convert points worth 1.5 cents each into points worth 0.91 cents (at best!)
It shouldn’t really shouldn’t take any more explaining for readers to see that this probably isn’t the best use of Membership Rewards points.
Yes, there will probably be individual cases where even when you’re getting 0.91 cents of value out of each Membership Reward point the deal is worth considering (when the cash cost of a Marriott booking is hugely inflated and when an award booking is available instead) but for most people this is a deal that should be ignored.
If you’re rolling in more Membership Rewards points than you’ll ever be able to use (and are short some Bonvoy points for your next award booking) then it’s probably no big deal if you transfer over some points while this offer is on….but when you can still get a 40% bonus on transfers to Avios and when AMEX often offers good bonuses on transfers to Virgin Atlantic and Flying Blue why would you waste points on a transfer to Marriott Bonvoy at a rate as poor as this one?