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Some American Express Membership Rewards cardholders are being targeted for an increased Hilton transfer bonus of up to 50%. Others are being targeted for a 30% transfer bonus, but some folks have had success calling AMEX and getting matched to the higher bonus.
Normally you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio. But with the best bonus offer, you can transfer points to Hilton at a 1:3 ratio. That means 1,000 American Express Membership Rewards points would earn you 3,000 Hilton points.
This offer can be valuable, especially if you combine it with Hilton’s 5th night free on award stays for elite members (which you can easily get, along with lots of other money savings perks, with one of the AMEX Hilton credit cards). But in general you’ll get more value by transferring your AMEX Membership Rewards points to airline partners.
This offer is targeted and expires on December 31, 2018.
A 1:3 transfer ratio might seem amazing at first, but Hilton points are not the most valuable points (usually worth ~0.5 to ~0.75 cents each). So while the standard 1:2 ratio is rarely a good deal, this improved 1:3 bonus transfer rate can make sense if used strategically. There are also many other ways to earn Hilton points.
How to Get The Most Out of This American Express Hilton Promotion
Where we really see this offer shine is when it is used on high-end hotels in combination with Hilton’s 5th-night free perk.
The reason that redeeming points on high-end Hilton hotels is so good, is because award stays don’t carry the resort fees or mandatory service charges required by cash stays. Some of Hilton’s fanciest hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah charge a 10% service charge on top of the cash price. Since a standard room generally goes for $500 to $600 per night, this is an extra $50 to $60 you can save by booking with points.
If you have any tier of elite status with Hilton, you can also take advantage of the 5th-night free perk, which allows you to book 5 consecutive award nights for the cost of 4. These must all be booked with points to get the 5th night free. With an expensive room from a premium hotel, this extra free night can significantly improve the value of your points.
An easy way to maintain elite status is with one of the American Express Hilton cards. Even the no annual fee Hilton Honors American Express Card earns automatic Silver elite status which is enough to enjoy this amazing benefit.
For example, at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah I found a room for $661 per night with the Hilton Honors discount. All-in, with taxes and service charges, this room came out to ~$3,848 for 5 nights. You could also stay in this same room for 70,000 Hilton points per night. When you use the 5th free night perk, we can book an award stay of 5 nights for the cost of 4 nights, which is 280,000 Hilton points (70,000 Hilton points per night x 4).
Under this promotion, you can get the points you need to book that award by transferring 94,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points. So this ~$3,848 reservation would cost just 94,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points if you transferred them during this 50% bonus promotion. That comes out to a value of ~4.1 cents per Membership Reward point, which is exceptional for a Hilton award!
Should You Transfer to Hilton With This Promotion?
American Express Membership Rewards points are some of the best in the industry. We often see the best value by transferring these points to one of their many airline partners. Normally transferring to Hilton (at the 1:2 ratio) would not be a smart use of the points, but with this improved transfer bonus, it could potentially be worth it.
I would only recommend transferring if you have a specific redemption in mind and you have run the math to ensure that it is worth it. You can usually get ~1.75 cents to ~2 cents of value from a Membership Reward point, so only transfer to Hilton if you are able to get more than that value for the redemption you are considering.
An even better way to earn points is with the insane welcome bonuses currently offered by the AMEX Hilton credit cards. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card currently comes with a 125,000 Hilton-point bonus after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. If you travel with Hilton often this card, or one of the other AMEX Hilton cards, really makes sense to have.
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