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Amex Membership Rewards Improves Hilton Honors Transfer Ratio

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I love the Amex Membership Rewards program, which is the points currency accrued on cards like The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPENThe Premier Rewards Gold Card from American ExpressThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPENThe Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, etc.

The Amex Membership Rewards program has 20 transfer partners, including 17 airline partners and three hotel partners. Personally my favorite transfer partners are Aeroplan, Air France/KLM FlyingBlue, Etihad Guest, and Singapore KrisFlyer. Meanwhile I don’t find Amex’s three hotel transfer partners — Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, and Starwood Preferred Guest — to be especially valuable. Up until now the transfer ratios for those three partners have been as follows:

  • Membership Rewards to Choice Privileges at 1,000:1,000
  • Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors at 1,000:1,500
  • Membership Rewards to Starwood Preferred Guest at 1,000:333

There’s some good news when it comes to Hilton Honors transfers. Effectively immediately, Amex Membership Rewards points transfer to Hilton Honors at a 1:2 ratio, meaning that 1,000 Membership Rewards points can be converted into 2,000 Hilton Honors points.

This isn’t a promotional transfer bonus, but rather is the new fixed transfer cost. I suspect this change is partly related to American Express and Hilton getting even closer than in the past. Up until last year Hilton had credit cards issued by both American Express and Citi, while in 2018 Amex got an exclusive contract, and we should see a new portfolio of cards introduced this year. Just last month, Hilton Honors was dropped as a transfer partner for the Citi ThankYou program.

However, even with this improved transfer bonus, this still isn’t how I’d use my Amex Membership Rewards points. I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, while I think Hilton Honors points are worth under 0.5 cents each. So using my valuation, you’re still getting less than penny of a value per point by transferring Amex points to Hilton.

The only transferable points currency where I think transfers to hotel programs is worthwhile is the relationship between Chase Ultimate Rewards and World of Hyatt. Transferring points at a 1:1 ratio between those programs is a solid deal, in my opinion.

(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)

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