American Express Membership Rewards offering 50% transfer bonus to Starwood Preferred Guest through March 31, 2012

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.


  1. I used spg points for Oktoberfest, where I can get a free night for 10,000 spg points, and the rate of the hotel is around 400 euros, so the math tends to work well in that case.

  2. For a hotel with lowest price just over $500 but points and cash for 4800 spg is that good use of Amex transfer?

  3. @ Robert — Well you’d be paying 4,800 points plus $90. Those 4,800 SPG points would take 10,000 Membership Rewards points. Given that you’re saving $410, I’d say that’s a great use of 10,000 Membership Rewards points.

  4. Wow, doesn’t that show how low the value of Amex Rewards points have become. Put your spending on an SPG Amex and you get a point for every dollar. Even with double or triple point categories, Amex Member Reward points are barely worth it now

  5. Lucky, you have American Airlines on the brain. It’s “AMEX Membership Rewards” 🙂

  6. “I suspect we’ll see another Delta SkyMiles transfer bonus soon”

    Lucky, are you talking about transferring Delta SkyMiles to Starwood? (I couldn’t believe it and even if they do, I was thinking it would probably be 20k SkyMiles for 1k SPG points, LOL). And if so and if by “another” you mean that it has happened before?

    I am just under 100k sky pesos and would like to turn them into something useful…the only transfer/exchange I could find (perhaps not resourcefully enough) is through but I think the cost is too high. Also looked at transferring from Delta then to hotel points then to other airline miles, but couldn’t find anything.

  7. @ TheBeerHunter — Whoops, looks like I left out a word. Thanks for the heads up!

    @ Loma — I was referring to a Membership Rewards transfer bonus to Delta SkyMiles.

  8. I cannot locate this promotion at the Amex redemption site of AMEX Germany. Would anyone know if those Amex transfer promos are global promos or (again) only US-focussed? Appreciate any advise. Will try to remember to call Amex hotline during business days…

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