American Express’ bonus for transferring Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy & Hilton Honors has returned! Last seen right around this time last year, cardmembers now a month to convert their Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors and receive 25% or a 30% bonus respectively. This offer is available from September 15 to October 15, 2022
Update #2: The offer is now showing on Amex’s website
Update #1: Looks like Amex is delayed in announcing this on their site – it should be up sometime this morning!
Which cards can I convert from?
All cards that earn Membership Rewards points are eligible for this offer and those cards are as follows:
- American Express Cobalt™ Card
- American Express® Gold Rewards Card
- The Platinum Card®
- American Express Green Card
- American Express Business Edge™ Card
- American Express® Business Gold Rewards Card
- Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The regular conversion ratio is 1 Membership Rewards Point = 1.2 Marriott Bonvoy points but with the bonus that is now 1.5 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.
This is a transfer bonus that many American Express cardmembers anxiously await so they can convert their points as it represents adecent value proposition. We usually value Marriott Rewards points around 1 cent each (in C$) so in effect you are receiving 1.5 cents per Membership
Rewards point converted. For Hilton it is less, with a value around 0.65 cents or with the bonus around 0.85 cents. Now you might be saying well 1.5 cents for every dollar spent isn’t that great and when making that direct comparison it isn’t – but that’s an absolute minimum.
Value in the conversion to Marriott
You have to consider the points multipliers that you receive on the various Amex cards. For example, if all your Membership Rewards points were earned on the American Express Cobalt Card from the 5x eats and drinks category, you are in fact earning 7.5 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent or a 7.5% return with this bonus! That’s a very good return and something to consider given the fact that you can pull even more value out of Marriott Bonvoy than 1 cent per point. We’re talking two to three times that and sometimes even more. If you take our Fort McMurrary example from our article A look at how The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card can provide huge value that redemption has a 2.67 cents per point value. If we go back to 5 points per dollar earning and receiving 2.67 cents per Marriott Bonvoy point when you redeem you are looking at a return of 16.7%. That’s value!
Value in the conversion to Hilton
It is well known in the points and miles circles that conversions from American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors carry less value than conversion to Marriott or Amex’s airline partners. That being said there is still some potential in Hilton conversions especially if you are a Hilton loyalist and need to boost your Honors balance for your next great redemption. Seeing that we don’t have Hilton Honors co-brand credit card in Canada, American Express Membership Rewards cards are the best option for earning Hilton Honors points on your purchases.
We have one occasion seen redemption value of Hilton Honors points upwards of US$ 0.8 cents per points. Convert that to C$ and add in this 30% bonus and you are looking at 1.35 cents per point in value. With the Cobalt’s 5x points you are looking at 6.76% return on that spending. That’s not too shabby.
Remember in the numbers above we are only taking into account 5 points per dollar spending. Once you bring in non Eats and Drinks spend and/or the lower earn rates the other American Express cards provide your overall value will drop but not to a point where these bonuses should be ignored. It really depends on how, when and where you as an individual want to be rewarded.
You also want to consider that Membership Rewards points can be transferred directly to airlines like Air Canada, Air France KLM and British Airways which can provide even more value per point if redeemed for business class or first class tickets. Actually, let me correct myself here, even on economy class tickets now as Air France KLM adjusted their redemption rates where you should be able to get at least 1.8 cent per Membership Rewards point. In fact in our article Confirmed! Air France KLM Flying Blue’s 15,000/20,000 mile Transatlantic redemptions are here to stay we have an example of an economy class reward with 3.57 cents per point value for Membership Rewards Points (4.76 actual value in Flying Blue Miles). Take that 3.57 and multiply it by the Cobalt’s 5x points for a ~17.9% return!
Another consideration is the ability to convert Marriott Bonvoy points to over 40 different airline loyalty programs – much more than the seven currently available through Membership Rewards. If you happen to need ANA Mileage Club miles, Emirates Skywards Miles, JAL Mileage Bank Miles, Turkish Miles&Smiles miles and so forth – Marriott Bonvoy is your primary route to getting more of those miles outside of actually flying with those airlines.
Wrapping it up
Ultimately you have to 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 21 years of doing this that for some Canadians, hotel programs can make way more 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 versus how much money you need to spend to get one luxurious hotel room? The latter in
many cases will take a lot less and with a bonus like this available it makes the reaching that goal even easier. Then ask yourself this question that I have also posed for many years: do you want 7-10 hours of 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.
On the flip side, if you are single travelleror perhaps even two travellers it is a 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 do you think you can get better value using your points for flights? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before you convert.