In an earlier article I explained that Amex Membership Reward Points earned from UK cards can be transferred to a wide range of different loyalty programmes. That piece focused on the airline transfer partners, so now it’s time to look at the other options, including the American Express Membership Rewards hotel transfer partners.
Club Carlson is the loyalty programme for hotel brands like Radisson, Radisson Blu, Park Plaza, Park Inn, etc. There are Club Carlson hotels all over the world, but the main focus is in Europe.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to Club Carlson Gold Points at a rate of 1 Amex MR Point to 3 Gold Points. The minimum transfer is 3 Points.
To book a night at Club Carlson hotels using Gold Points, you need between 9,000 – 70,000, depending on what Category the hotel is in. This means that you can effectively book a night at the lowest Category Club Carlson Hotels for 3,000 Amex MR Points (3,000 Amex MR multiplied by 3 = 9,000 Club Carlson Gold Points). Similarly, the highest Category Club Carlson hotels can effectively be booked for 23,334 Amex MR Points.
When cash rates are high for Club Carlson hotels, transferring Amex MR Points across to Gold Points and using them to book can result in good value. As a general rule of thumb, you want to be getting at least 1p of value from each Amex MR Point as an absolute minimum, so bear that in mind when deciding whether to transfer or not.
Hilton Honors is the loyalty programme for hotel brands like Hilton, DoubleTree, Hampton, Embassy Suites, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, etc. Hilton Honors is one of the largest hotel loyalty programmes in the world, offering a variety of hotel options in most parts of the globe.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to Hilton Honors at a rate of 1 Amex MR Point = 2 Hilton Honors Points. The minimum transfer is 200 Points.
To book a night at Hilton Honors hotels using Hilton Honors Points, you need between 5,000 – 95,000 for a standard redemption. This means that you can effectively book a night from just 2,500 Amex MR Points (2,500 Amex MR multiplied by 2 = 5,000 Hilton Honors Points). At the top end, you’ll need to transfer 47,500 Amex MR Points to get 95,000 Hilton Honors Points.
I don’t generally recommend transferring Amex MR Points across to Hilton Honors. That’s not because it’s necessarily a bad deal in and of itself, but because you can frequently buy Hilton Honors Points for under 1p each when they are on sale. Given that I believe you should looking to get 1p+ of value from your Amex MR Points, you would be better off simply buying the Hilton Honors Points you need (when there’s a 50% sale), and saving your Amex MR Points for something else.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is the loyalty programme for hotel brands like Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, W and Aloft. SPG is relatively small compared to Hilton Honors, with a focus on the North American market, but partners with Marriott Rewards – creating the largest hotel loyalty programme in the world. I’ll return to the link with Marriott shortly.
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to SPG at a rate of 2 Amex MR Points = 1 SPG Starpoint. The minimum transfer is 400 Points.
To book a night at SPG hotels using Starpoints, you need between 2,000 – 35,000, depending on the Category the hotel is in. This means that you can effectively book a night from just 4,000 Amex MR Points (4,000 Amex MR divided by 2 = 2,000 SPG Starpoints). At the top end, you’ll need to transfer 70,000 Amex MR Points to get 35,000 SPG Starpoints.
Like with Club Carlson, when the cash rates for a particular hotel are relatively high, transferring Amex MR Points across to SPG Starpoints and using them to book can result in good value.
Additional SPG Info
SPG is also unique in the way it partners with 30+ different airline loyalty programmes and offers the opportunity to transfer Starpoints across to most of them at a 1:1 rate. This means that you effectively transfer Amex MR Points indirectly (via SPG) to even more airline partners than you can directly from your Amex MR account.
For airline loyalty programmes that partner directly with Amex MR, this doesn’t make any sense because transferring direct is at a 1:1 rate, whereas via SPG it ends up being 2:1 rate (2 Amex MR = 1 Starpoint = 1 airline loyalty mile). It can make sense to do this for some high value airline loyalty programmes, like (Alaska Mileage Plan) that you can’t transfer UK Amex MR Points directly to.
You get 5,000 bonus airline miles too when transferring SPG Starpoints in batches of 20,000 and there are sometimes additional transfer bonuses too, which can sweeten the deal further.
I mentioned that Starwood Preferred Guest now partners with Marriott Rewards, since Marriott bought Starwood. SPG Starpoints can be transferred across to Marriott Rewards at a rate of 1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott Rewards Points. So you can indirectly transfer Amex MR Points to Marriott Rewards at a rate of 1 Amex MR Point = 1.5 Marriott Reward points.
Marriott Rewards is the loyalty programme for hotel brands like Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Ritz Carlton, AC Hotels, Protea, etc. You will find Marriott Rewards hotels all over the world.
To book a night at Marriott Rewards hotels using Marriott Rewards Points, you need between 7,500 – 45,000 Marriott Reward Points for a standard redemption (up to 70,000 for Ritz Carlton). This means that you can effectively book a night from 5,000 Amex MR Points (5,000 Amex MR divided by 2 = 2,500 SPG Starpoints, multiplied by 3 = 7,500 Marriott Rewards Points). At the top end, you’ll need to transfer 30,000 Amex MR Points to get 45,000 Marriott Rewards Points.
Other travel related transfer partners
Aside from airline and hotel loyalty schemes, there are a couple of other transfer partners too.
Club Eurostar is the new loyalty programme from Eurostar.
As you can see above, the transfer ratio is 1,500 Amex MR Points to 100 Club Eurostar Points.
Club Eurostar is interesting because all Eurostar destinations require the same number of Points – making destinations in the South of France like Avignon and Marseille potentially very good value.
For trips to Paris and Brussels though, I would normally recommend paying cash if you want to save your Amex MR Points for redemptions when you’re clearly getting more than 1p per Point.
It is also possible to book Eurostar tickets directly using your Amex MR Points, rather than transferring across to Club Eurostar first, though the rates are the same and the terms are considerably more restrictive, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
Nectar Points are usually only worth 0.5p, so transferring Amex MR Points across is almost always a bad deal.
The only good thing about transferring to Nectar that I can think of, is that the minimum transfer is 1 Point, which can be useful if you want to transfer out your last few Amex MR Points before closing your account.
As you can see, there are LOTS of great places you can transfer your American Express Membership Reward Points.
We’re going to take closer look at each option and really break them down for you over the course of this series, so that you can get the best possible value from your Amex MR Points.