A 40% Bonus Still Isn’t Good Enough When Converting American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton

american express dining

US members of American Express Membership Rewards can take advantage of a 40% bonus when converting to Hilton Honors. The promotion will run until June 15th, 2021. You must log into your Membership Rewards account to see the offer – it may be targeted.

Why 40% Isn’t High Enough to Be Tempting

You can normally convert 1,000 MR points into 2,000 Hilton points. With this bonus you would convert 1,000 MR points –> 2,800 Hilton points.

You can regularly buy Hilton points for 0.5 cents. This puts an upper limit on how you should value a Hilton point. Unless you have reached your annual limit for buying points, you can always just go buy them, saving your MR points for a more lucrative use…  But to be honest, it’s been awhile since I regularly received 0.5 cents in value from a Hilton point, but since some other InsideFlyer contributors have a more bullish view, I’ll go with 0.5 cents for the purposes of this analysis.

When you receive 2.8 Hilton points in exchange for 1 Membership Rewards point, you would be receiving 1.4 cents per MR point in value.

Airline Transfer Partners

There are many ways of spending your Membership Rewards points, but the best options tend to be conversions to airline miles. Here’s the current list of travel partners…

I’m not an expert on every single one of these partners, but I do know that:

  • You receive roughly 1.3 cents in value from JetBlue points
  • Virgin Atlantic miles are worth 1.3-1.4 cents (and can be worth much much more when redeeming in ANA First Class to Japan)
  • Avios – British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus – can easily be worth 1.4 cents or more
  • ANA, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Krisflyer miles are all worth well in excess of 1.5 cents

All of the above ignores the fact that conversion bonuses to airline programs also come around occasionally.

But if cents per point calculations make your eyes glaze over, you could simply dream of a First Class seat on your preferred airline…

ANA First Class seat – photo courtesy of ANA

The Bottom Line

Combining a generous 0.5 cent valuation (of an Honors points) with the 40% bonus does bring this offer much closer to acceptability than the Marriott version of this promotion.

But it is still not a good idea to speculatively move your MR points over to Hilton, unless you need the points for a specific, high-value, fifth night free, redemption opportunity.

What do you use your American Express Membership Rewards points for? Let us know in the comments section…

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