Analysis: 3 current Amex –> Airline/Hotel transfer bonuses (Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, Hilton)
You know what is better than Transferable Currency?
Bonuses for transferring that currency! American Express Membership Rewards has three bonuses available now. Let’s take a quick look at each.
Virgin Atlantic is giving a 30% transfer bonus. While I’d never speculatively transfer, you can find some great uses for Virgin Atlantic miles. The most notable use is to use for round trip first and business class flights on their partner ANA. Booking Delta transcons from LAX/SFO-JFK can be a good deal as well. Always find availability before transferring miles…. but luckily Amex transfers are (generally!) instant.
Next , JetBlue is offering “even money” transfers. Since JetBlue prices awards based on ticket cost, it’s not a fantastic place to spend your Membership Rewards. My thought is that if you need to “top off” your JetBlue account for an award you are close to, go for it. Else, save your points for better redemptions!
Lastly, Hilton is offering a very bizarre 2,010 points for 1,000 Membership Rewards instead of the usual 1.5: 1 rate.
Is this a deal? Well, it’s better than a poke in the eye and similar to what Citi’s ThankYou has offered a few times on transfers. It would seem that below this people just aren’t bothering and 2:1 is probably a bare minimum baseline anyway, considering that a Hilton point is only worth about 4/10 of a cent. So even at this rate, you aren’t getting even a penny in value for your MRs, which is horrific on the face of it.
That said, Hilton points can be worth over a penny each if you happen to be able to find a room that would otherwise be very expensive available for points and for 5 nights (5th night is free on awards). Do the math, but never ever take less than 2 cents a point in value, or you’d have been better off earning cash back instead of Membership Rewards points.