The best use of Membership Rewards points is to fly long-haul business or first class with one of it’s airline partners, and the value proposition of transferring points to hotel partners such as Marriott or Hilton, even with a 25% bonus remains rather poor. Still, given that international travel is not likely for quite some time, you may wish to take advantage of this bonus offer and redeem points for stays at Marriott or Hilton properties within Australia.
Transfers to Marriott Bonvoy
With Australia issued Amex cards, the standard transfer ratio between Amex and Marriott is 3:2 (3 Amex points = 2 Marriott points). However, if you transfer points between now and 31st December 2020, you will receive a 25% boost, improving the transfer rate to 6:5 (6 Amex points = 5 Marriott points) as you can see below.
Earn a limited time 25% bonus on transfers from Amex to Marriott Bonvoy
Note that to be eligible for the bonus, you must transfer a minimum of 600 Amex points, additionally, transfers are not instant and it may take up to 3 business days for the points to be credited ito your Marriott Bonvoy account.
Transfers to Hilton Honors
With Australia issued Amex cards, the standard transfer ratio between Amex and Hilton is 2:1 (2 Amex points = 1 Hilton point). Until 31st 2020 December though, the 25% transfer bonus promo improves the transfer rate to 8:5 (8 Amex points = 5 Hilton points) as you can see below.
Earn a limited time 25% bonus on transfers from Amex to Hilton Honors
With Hilton, you must transfer a minimum of 2,000 points to be able to take advantage of this offer, and like Marriott, these transfers may also take up to 3 business days.
Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points
Every hotel in Marriott’s property portfolio is assigned a Category between 1 and 8, with Category 1 being the least expensive and Category 8 the priciest.
Back in the day, Marriott had a fixed rate award chart and redeeming points for a free night stay was pretty straight forward. This changed in September 2019 with the introduction of peak/off-peak pricing as you can see below:
Marriott Bonvoy Redemption Chart
Since then, a free night at Marriott can cost anywhere between 5,000 – 100,000 points depending on the property and whether it’s attracting off-peak, standard or peak pricing at the time of your stay.
A free night at JW Marriott Macau, Category 5 property can set you back up to 40,000 points
Check out my full review of Marriott Bonvoy Program if you would like to learn more about it.
Redeeming Hilton Honors points
Hilton stopped publishing award chart few years ago. This doesn’t mean hotels are able to name their own price, rather, the erstwhile fixed rate chart has been replaced with a system where award price closely reflect the cash price while still subject to a cap.
In other words, you fork out more points during busy times such as school holidays, long weekends and Christmas-New Year period when lots of people are travelling, hotel occupancy is high and cash prices are through the roof, and fewer points during less busy or quiet times. That said, the most you will pay for a free night (standard rooms only) at vast majority of Hilton hotels is 95,000 points.
The best way to find out the number of points needed for a free night at your desired hotel, is via a tool called Points Explorer. Once here, just enter the location in the box and hit search,
Use Points Explorer to see the cost of an award night
which brings up all the Hilton properties in that location and their price range. For instance, you can search Bali, home to one of the cheapest Hilton properties where a free night costs just 5,000 points.
Redeem 5,000 Hilton points for a night at Hilton Garden Inn in Bali
or the perennial favourite, but prohibitively expensive Maldives, where a night at Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi will set you back a cool 120,000 points.
Redeem 120,000 Hilton points for a night at Waldorf Astoria, Maldives
If you want to learn more about redeeming Hilton points, I suggest you spend some time playing around with Points Explorer, it is loads of fun 😉
On the face of it, a 25% transfer bonus sounds like a deal. Trouble is, the transfer rates from Amex to Marriott and Hilton are so bad to start with, that even a 25% bonus barely moves the needle. So unless you have Amex points coming out of your ears, I suggest you save them for the time when you are able to redeem them for long-haul flying in premium cabins with one of its airline partners.
If you don’t have a Membership Rewards Points earning card and are interested in getting one, check out this post where I have written about a number of Amex cards offering welcome bonus of up to 200,000 points.
Are you planning to take advantage of this transfer bonus offer? Leave a comment below.