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This past summer, American Express inked an exclusive credit card agreement with Hilton Honors that changed up the Hilton co-branded credit card landscape and resulted in new American Express Hilton cards that will be coming out this month. Now it seems like American Express and Hilton are taking their relationship one step further and changing the transfer ratio for American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors.
The new transfer ratio
In the past, the transfer ratio between American Express Membership Rewards and Hilton Honors was 1.5 Hilton points for every 1 Membership Reward. This was not a very compelling ratio but now the ratio will be 2 Hilton points for every 1 Membership Rewards point transferred.
Unfortunately, this still doesn’t pose a very strong value proposition. If you value Membership Rewards at 1.8 cents per point and Hilton Honors at .5 cents per point, you’re still losing value when you convert your Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors. While that drop is not quite as bad as it once was, it’s still not as competitive as say, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt.
But it won’t always be so bad. I recently redeemed Hilton Honors points at about .8 cents per point. In that case, I would be converting Membership Rewards to 1.6 cents worth of Hilton point per Membership Reward, which would not be a bad way to use Membership Rewards at all.
One thing to look forward to is a future bonus transfer promotion. American Express typically offers temporary bonuses when transferring points to Hilton and now that the ratio is more favorable, these bonuses may make more sense to jump on. Imagine a 33% bonus in the example above — that would be fantastic value.
Overall, transferring Membership Rewards to Hilton still probably only makes sense when trying to top off for award redemptions on in those cases where you can really cash in on value. In fact, transferring points to hotel partners rarely makes economic sense unless you’re topping off for an award or transferring to a program like Hyatt or for a Hotel + Air package with Marriott. Still, I’ll take program improvements anywhere I can find them at this point and this at least has some potential.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.