Wednesday, September 1, 2021

30% bonus when you convert American Express Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors


This is kind of odd but welcome nonetheless - American Express' bonus for transferring Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy & Hilton Honors has returned only after a few months! Last seen for the month of June members now have all of September to convert Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors and receive 30% more points. The regular conversion ratio is 1 Membership Rewards Point = 1.2 Marriott Bonvoy points but with the bonus that is now 1.56 Marriott Bonvoy points. For Hilton it is 1 Membership Rewards Point = 1 Hilton Honors points but with the bonus that is now 1.3  Honors points.

All cards that earn Membership Rewards points are eligible for this offer and those cards are as follows:

This is a transfer bonus that many people American Express cardholders anxiously await for so they can convert their points as it represents a decent value proposition.  We value Marriott Rewards points around 1 cent each (in C$) so in effect you are getting 1.56 cents per Membership Rewards points converted. Now you might be saying well 1.56 cents for every dollar I spent isn't that great and when making that direct comparison it isn't - but that's an absolute minimum. You can easily pull value of over 3 cents per point with the Marriott Bonvoy program. Then you have to consider the points multipliers on the various Amex cards. For example, if all your Membership Rewards Select points earned on the American Express Cobalt Card were from the 5x eats and drinks category, you are in fact getting 7.5 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent or a 7.8% return! That's a good return and something to really consider especially given the fact that you can pull even more value out of Marriott Bonvoy than 1 cent per point. Those higher values are typically achieved when you take into account Marriott Bonvoy's benefit of redeeming points for a 5 night stay and only paying for four nights. Again looking at 5 points per dollar earning and getting 3 cents per Marriott Bonvoy point back you are looking at a return of 23.4%. That's talking about value!

Remember though that's only taking into account 5 points per dollar spending. Once you take into account non Eats and Drinks spend or the earn levels on the other cards the value drops but not to a point where it should be ignored. It really depends on how, when and where you as an individual want to be rewarded. You also have to consider now that cards like the Cobalt Card can now transfer points directly to airlines like Air Canada and British Airways - prior to August 16 that wasn't the case so the Marriott redemptoin was the best conversion option for the Cobalt Card. That's no longer the case and the best redemption will be the best for you - whether that's to Marriott or to one of the airline partners. Also if you take into account the 1 to 3 Membership Rewards points earned per dollar spent on The Platinum Card, you may be better off being converted to Aeroplan or British Airways as you can potentially pull more value out of those conversions.

Ultimately look at the big picture of when, where, how and who you think you might travel with in the future. I've said for the better part of my 20 years of doing this that for some Canadians, hotel programs can make better sense for a family than a frequent flyer program. Think about it - how much money would you have to spend to get four business class tickets for a family versus how much money you need to spend to get one luxurious hotel room? The latter in many cases will take less and then ask yourself this question that I have also posed for many years:  do you want 7-10 hours or luxury or 7 days of luxury? I know which I'd pick. Granted some of us our lucky in that we can potentially do both for our families but for most Canadians it will be one or the other. That being said if you are single traveller or perhaps even only two of you it is a bit more of grey area as to where to park your points and which bonuses to take advantage of. Do you convert your Membership Rewards points to Marriott right now for this bonus or wait and convert if and when they run a bonus to British Airways Executive Club? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you convert. And then you have one more thing to take into consideration and that's the ability to convert Marriott Bonvoy points to over 40 different airline loyalty programs - much more than the seven currently available through Membership Rewards.  So much to take into consideration!

Learn more about this promotion here.


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