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Hilton is one of the few transfer partners of American Express Membership Rewards. So naturally you might be wondering if it is ever a good idea to transfer your Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors. In this article, I will talk about if it is ever worth it to transfer your AMEX points to Hilton Honors and give you some examples of when it might make sense.
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Transferring Membership Rewards to Hilton
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 from a value perspective and here’s why.
Let’s assume a value of 1.8 cents per point your American Express points and a value of .5 cent per point for your Hilton Honors points.
With the old ratio you would be exchanging 1.8 cents cents per point in value for .75 cent per point.
However, as of 2018, the ratio is 2 Hilton points for every 1 Membership Rewards point transferred. So at a valuation of .5 cent per Hilton point, you are getting at least one cent per point when you transfer your American Express points over to Hilton.
So you are still often losing value on your transfer but you are just not losing as much value. Moreover, there are certain opportunities that can make this transfer much more lucrative and valuable for you. I’ll discuss those opportunities below.
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Sometimes you can find special bonus transfer rates from American Express to Hilton honors. For example, there is currently a special targeted offer allowing for a 50% bonus on Membership Rewards points transferred to Hilton Honors.
Such a bonus would allow you to capture a 1:3 conversion ratio of 1,000 Membership Rewards points to 3,000 Hilton Honors points.
So going back to the valuations used above, you would end up getting 1.5 cents per point of value from your Membership Rewards after you transfer them to Hilton. That is actually a very good ratio and is pretty impressive.
I’m not sure that I would transfer my points to Hilton on a speculative basis, but it honestly is pretty close to where that could make sense if you were someone who regularly stays the Hilton properties.
Another situation where it could definitely make sense to transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards to Hilton, is whenever you can receive outsized value for your redemptions.
Outsized value means that you are receiving more value for your points than you would normally expect. So if you value Hilton points at .5 cent per point, then you would consider outsized value to be something higher than that but usually much higher. For example, if you are getting anywhere near one cent point for your Hilton points then that would definitely be getting outsized value.
I’ve put together some articles on redemption rates that you can’t expect at top properties like Conrad properties, Waldorf properties, and the Curio Collection. The charts in these articles can show you that it is often possible to get outsized value at these top properties.
So if you were planning on staying at a property like the Hilton Conrad Maldives, then it could make sense to transfer your American Express points over because you would be getting so much value from those Hilton points.
This is especially true if you can take advantage of one of the special bonus transfer rates. If you were getting one cent per point for a top property with your Hilton points, then that would mean that you would be getting 3 cents per point with your AMEX Membership Rewards, which would be a fantastic use for your points.
Topping off redemptions
Another situation where it could make sense to transfer your Membership Rewards to Hilton would be whenever you need to top off redemptions.
Topping off just means that you don’t currently have enough points to make the full booking and you want to just transfer some points over so that you have enough points to complete your booking.
If it is a matter of being able to have a free hotel stay or not then it definitely can make sense to top off your points.
However, now that Hilton allows you to pay with cash and points, you need to think about that option and see if that makes sense or not. In some cases, you might feel that it is worth it to just pay for those points rather than use your valuable American Express Membership Rewards. But this will usually just come down to your preference and how you value your points and if you were trying to avoid using cash or not.
Transferring American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton used to almost always be a pretty bad idea. But now, with the new transfer ratio and with recurrent bonuses, it can often make sense to transfer your points over to Hilton. Just be sure to always examine your alternatives, such as purchasing points or utilizing cash plus points. And in the end, you should go with whatever benefits your travel goals the most.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.