Through March 31, 2012, American Express is offering a 50% bonus on the transfer of Membership Rewards points to Starwood Preferred Guest. The usual transfer ratio for Membership Rewards to Starwood Preferred Guest is 3:1, so through this promotion it’s 2:1.
I’ve always found the transfer ratio from Membership Rewards to Starwood Preferred Guest to be pretty interesting. Both credit cards are issued by American Express, though the transfer ratio between the two is awful. Compare that to Chase Ultimate Rewards points, where the points currency can be transferred at a favorable ratio to just about any of the other programs that feature Chase affiliated cards, including United, Korean Air, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, etc.
Anyway, is this a deal worth taking advantage of? I’d say no, unless you have a specific use in mind where you’ve crunched the numbers and the ratio works out favorably.
I’d say that a Starwood Preferred Guest point is worth about 50% more than a Membership Rewards point nowadays, so even through this offer you’re not getting a good deal (you’d be breaking even if a Starwood Preferred Guest point were worth twice as much as a Membership Rewards point).
Now, if you do want to use your Membership Rewards points for hotel stays, making a transfer to Starwood may be the best option, though typically you’re best off using Membership Rewards points for transfers to airline mileage programs. Keep in mind Starwood points can also be transferred to about two dozen airline programs at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points you transfer you get a 5,000 point bonus, meaning you’re really earning 1.25 miles per Starwood point.
So to break down the math on that, in order to get 25,000 American miles through this offer you’d have to transfer 40,000 Membership Rewards points to Starwood Preferred Guest. That would net you 20,000 Starwood points, which can be converted into 25,000 American AAdvantage miles.
I suspect we’ll see another Delta SkyMiles transfer bonus soon, which would be a much better use of Membership Rewards points in my opinion.