American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are two of my three favorite transferable points currencies (along with Chase Ultimate Rewards).
Of those three transferable points currencies, the only “direct” transfer that can occur between them is from American Express Membership Rewards to Starwood Preferred Guest. The catch is that the transfer ratio isn’t especially lucrative — 1,000:333. Admittedly Starpoints are a bit more valuable than Membership Rewards points, but certainly not three times as valuable.
Through November 30, 2014, Membership Rewards is offering a 50% bonus on points transfers to SPG. This offer is available exclusively for US Platinum and Centurion cardmembers. That makes the transfer ratio 2:1 instead of 3:1.
The promotion is hard coded into the transfer ratio, meaning there’s no limit to the number of bonus points you can earn.
By my personal valuation, Starpoints are worth ~2.2 cents each, while Membership Rewards points are worth ~1.8 cents each.
I certainly don’t think it’s worth taking advantage of this promotion in general, unless:
- You have a specific use in mind, and the numbers make sense
- You’re really Membership Rewards “rich” and really Starwood “poor”
Under what circumstances could it make sense to transfer points?
If you have a specific Starwood hotel booking in mind and no other way of redeeming points for it. Starpoints can be incredibly valuable for hotel redemptions, so if you can find a hotel where you can get 5+ cents per point of value, it could make sense to transfer points (as much as it pained me, I redeemed points for five nights at the St. Regis Bal Harbour last Christmas).
If you have the need to transfer points to an airline which partners with Starwood but not Membership Rewards. One of the great things about Starpoints is that you can convert them into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points you transfer you get a 5,000 point bonus. In other words, if you converted 40,000 Membership Rewards points into 20,000 Starpoints, you could then convert those into 25,000 airline miles.
For example, Starwood partners with Alaska and Japan Airlines, both of which have great programs. Both are more lucrative for longhaul premium cabin redemptions on Emirates than Emirates’ own Skywards program, which is a Membership Rewards transfer partner.
Emirates A380 first class
I’m excited to see two Membership Rewards transfer bonuses announced in two days (yesterday a 35% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic was announced). While I realize it’s unlikely, I wish we’d see a transfer bonus to one of my four preferred Membership Rewards transfer partners — Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles, or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
Do you plan on transferring points from Membership Rewards to Starwood Preferred Guest under this promotion?