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American Express Membership Rewards is currently running a promotion where you can transfer your points from their program to Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) with a 50% bonus. This promotion, however, is only available for Platinum or Centurion cardholders.
Typically, the transfer ratio from Membership Rewards to SPG is a pretty poor 3:1. So with this promotion you are ultimate getting a 2:1 transfer. Still not great since many airlines allow you to transfer at a 1:1 rate, but still better then before. Keep in mind though that Starwood points can be valued at a much higher rate than Membership Reward points. So if you are looking to enhance your SPG balance this could be a nice promotion for you.
Now, the real possibilities come if you are looking to transfer your Membership Reward points to an airline that is not currently a partner. So let’s say you ideally want to use your points on American Airlines. You can first transfer your Membership Reward points to Starwood and then through Starwood’s flexible transfer program transfer them to American Airlines. And remember, for every 20,000 points transferred from SPG to a partner airline, you get a 5,000 point bonus. So ultimately, transferring 40,000 American Express Membership Reward points will result in 25,000 American Airline miles. While you are still losing some value, depending on where you are looking to redeem your points, this might be a good option for you. You can learn more about transferring your Starwood points to a partner airline here.
If you have no immediate need to transfer points, I suggest holding off and seeing if a Starwood to airline partner transfer bonus pops up by the end date of this promotion – November 30, 2014. If that happens, that could make this promotion a little more in your favor and ensure to do not lose as much value through the double transfer. For example, back in July there was a promotion where if you transfer your SPG points to American or US Airways you’ll get a 20% bonus. While this promotion has expired, if it was currently going on that would mean your 40,000 Amex Membership Reward points would ultimately give you 30,000 AA or US Airways miles.
I personally will not be taking advantage of this promotion as I am still able to get a good value out of my Amex points by transferring them to British Airways Avios. But for some of you who are able to get a good value at Starwood or another airline, this could be a nice opportunity.