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50% bonus converting American Express Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy

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Some readers have been getting emails from Amex informing them of a new conversion bonus via the Membership Rewards program.  IT APPEARS TO BE TARGETED.

Until 31st December, you get 9 Marriott Bonvoy points for every 4 Membership Rewards points. The usual exchange rate is 3 Bonvoy points = 2 MR points.

Simplified … the usual 1.5 Marriott Bonvoy points per 1 Amex point is increased to 2.25 Marriott Bonvoy points per 1 Amex point.

This is a 50% bonus (if your brain isn’t functioning this afternoon!).

You need to transfer at least 1,000 Membership Rewards points.  Standard points credit within five working days although the rules say that the bonus points can take up to eight weeks.

This is a surprisingly good deal.  I value a Marriott Bonvoy point at 0.5p.  On that basis, via this offer you are getting 1.125p per Amex point as opposed to the usual 0.75p.

The offer runs until 31st December.

American Express membership rewards marriott bonvoy bonus

This offer also works well for airline miles

Marriott Bonvoy has 40 airline partners.  Not only does it have the biggest range of airline partners of any hotel scheme, it also has the most generous conversion rate.

Take a look at the full list on the Marriott Bonvoy site here.

In most programmes, including Avios and Virgin Flying Club, you receive 1 airline mile for every 3 Marriott Bonvoy points you convert.

If you convert in chunks of 60,000 Bonvoy points, you receive an additional 25% bonus – you get 25,000 miles instead of 20,000.

Let’s see what that means:

You convert 26,667 Amex Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy under this offer

You receive 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points in your account

You transfer those 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles

You receive 25,000 airline miles

This means that you receive 0.94 airline miles per Membership Rewards point.

Obviously this is not a good deal for those airlines which are already Membership Rewards partners at a 1:1 rate.  However, if you collect miles in an airline programme which is NOT a UK Membership Rewards partner, this is a great opportunity to convert them and get virtually 1:1 on the transfer.

Membership Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy transfer bonus

And don’t forget the 35% transfer bonus to Avios …..

At the moment, Avios is giving a 35% bonus if you transfer Marriott Bonvoy points.  We wrote about this offer here.

If we go back to the calculations above:

You convert 26,667 Amex Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy under this offer

You receive 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points in your account

You transfer those 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points into Avios

You receive 25,000 Avios plus a 35% bonus for a total of 33,750 Avios

This means you are getting 1.26 Avios per American Express Membership Rewards points.  This is the equivalent of a 26% transfer bonus into Avios.

Membership Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy transfer bonus

Except ……

Amex is saying that the 50% bonus on the Amex to Marriott transfer could take up to eight weeks to arrive.

This is no good if you want to transfer to Avios, because the 35% Avios bonus offer ends on 2nd December.

This means that you are taking a big gamble that Marriott will actually add your bonus earlier.  This is not a gamble I would be happy taking unless (until?) other readers start to report that the bonus is going on quickly.

Here’s a warning though ….

Whilst some HFP readers seem to have received this offer, many others have not.  This includes Rhys and all of my family.  This offer is not mentioned anywhere on the Membership Rewards websiteHere is the page which shows their hotel partners and the conversion rate.

The small print of the email sent to cardholders today says:

“This offer is non-transferable”

If you make a transfer without receiving the email, you have no grounds for complaint if you do not receive the bonus – it is almost certainly targeted.

Don’t waste your time ringing American Express to ask if it is targeted or not – unless your plan is to record the conversation (you need to ask the permission of the agent first) and use it as leverage later.  The call centre staff usually do not know about these things but will tell you their best guess to get you off the line.  Some readers have already reported being told by the call centre that it is NOT targeted – I don’t believe them …..

PS.  It is worth remembering that you can buy up to 10,000 Membership Rewards points per year at 1.5p per point.  This cannot be done online and requires a telephone call to Amex.  If you were looking to convert Amex points to Bonvoy and then onwards to an obscure airline scheme where it is hard to accumulate miles cheaply, this could be worth a look.  It is also worth a look if you need to transfer enough Amex points to get your Marriott Bonvoy account up to a multiple of 60,000 Bonvoy points in order to get the 5,000 bonus miles.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (98)

  • rob says:

    Classic nightmare situation. I emptied my balance to Marriot yesterday. Any chance that will count for the bonus or not?


  • TGLoyalty says:

    targeted via email?

  • Grant says:

    Rob, given your no doubt well intended advice that this is targeted runs contrary to the advice of Amex CS, at least in their two separate responses to me, would you be able to illicit any official response from Amex please.

    • Rob says:

      I wouldn’t trust that either though 🙂

      We had a little ‘discussion’ with Amex last week about the closing date for a particular deal. They claimed I was wrong and insisted we change an article. I then proved they were wrong by doing the thing that wasn’t meant to be possible any longer and showing it was possible ….

      The problem is the stupid ‘8 weeks’ rule. If the bonus was instant we wouldn’t need this discussion because we’d know by Monday whether it worked or not.

      However …. the ‘8 weeks’ rule DOES suggest targeting. Why doesn’t Marriott just gross up all incoming Amex UK transfers immediately? Because, 8 weeks after the offer closes, Amex will compare the list of targeted members with the list of people who made a transfer and tell Marriott which accounts should receive the bonus ….?

      • Grant says:

        Maybe, but word from an official Amex spokesperson who was then quoted on a high profile miles and points website would hold a lot more clout when arguing the toss down the line!

  • Fraser says:

    Any clarification on how the Hilton transfer bonus works? I got the targeted (?) email but when I clicked through and set up to transfer, it showed at the standard rate not the bonus rate. Do they get added later, and why does the confirmation page not show rhe bonus rate?

    • Rob says:

      Keep the email, you should get the bonus by the due date but if not you have proof you are due it.

    • The Original Nick says:

      I’m waiting for my 50% bonus for Hilton too. But as Rob said, keep the email like I am doing.

  • BJ says:

    If the points do not arrive in time for BA conversion bonus then there may be another next March if BA reverts to usual timescale. I would not do this transfer to Flying Blue, there have been better opportunities to get those.

  • jason says:

    i have sent 1200, will report back

  • youngtraveller says:

    I got the email and was about to do the transfer but on the transfer page it still says the old conversion of 2 Membership Rewards points = 3 points, am I safe to transfer or should the Offer transfer rate be displayed?

  • Bonglim says:

    Slightly o/t about the idea of recording get phone calls.
    I would say that the individual/ customer has an expectation of privacy; so Amex cannot record your phone call without telling you/ getting your permission.
    The organisation (AMEX) do not have the same expectation of privacy and so you are allowed to record the conversation with or without permission.

    This was a specific problem related to a GP colleague having their consultation covertly recorded and put online. The legal advice is that the recording was allowed. Publishing online was not directly against the rules, apart from a slightly complicated issue of the medical advice being intellectual property. It could be considered a breech of trust which are grounds for removing the patient from the list; but they are allowed to make, keep and use the recording for themselves without it being considered against the rules.

    • Anna says:

      This seems rather disrespectful to the GP (and also many people are terrified of being thrown off their GP’s register as they are an increasingly rare species!), unless the GP was doing something very unethical. But in any case, if the person recording was hoping to pursue the GP for something illegal, they would be risking any future court case by giving it publicity which might jeopardise the right to a fair trial.