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Amex Points /Hotels

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AyaMai
Frequent Contributor

Amex Points /Hotels

What the best way to use my AMEX points for hotels since I do not fly, I do road trips. Your suggestions are appreciated and thank you in advance.

Message 1 of 19
18 REPLIES 18
Hoben02
Frequent Contributor

Re: Amex Points /Hotels

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/redeem-amex-membership-rewards-points-for-hotels/

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Message 2 of 19
K-in-Boston
Credit Mentor

Re: Amex Points /Hotels


@AyaMai wrote:

What the best way to use my AMEX points for hotels since I do not fly, I do road trips. Your suggestions are appreciated and thank you in advance.


For hotels, you would basically just need to determine whether you get better value from moving your points to a loyalty program and booking an award stay with Marriott, Hilton, or Choice, or by using them to book a hotel with Amex Travel, Fine Hotels + Resorts, or The Hotel Collection (note that access to the last two depend on which card products you have).

 

There are a number of issues with the above TPG article, but unfortunately they closed comments a few years ago and no longer correct errors based on reader feedback provided.  When they state "it might be worth starting your search with Amex Travel and considering redeeming your points at a fixed value. In most cases the redemption rates aren’t spectacular (0.7-0.85 cents per point)" is incorrect.  Amex Travel is fixed at 1.0 cents per point, period (with exceptions where there is added value).  (Redacted.  See below posts.)  The value of the three hotel transfer partners can also vary wildly, and it's not that difficult to find bookings where you can get far better value than what is stated there.  My Marriott bookings have typically been around 2 cents per point the past few years; right now there is also a 25% bonus for transfers.  For Hilton, points are always at least 2 for 1 from Membership Rewards.

 

So take a look and see what the properties are going for where you're going via Amex Travel, and then compare with what they are going for when using loyalty points with the three hotel partners, factor in transfer ratio (and any current bonuses) and go with whatever is lower.  With The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels + Resorts, if eligible, there are additional perks and possible free nights included that can certainly provide better value as well.

Message 3 of 19
SpaethCo
Valued Member

Re: Amex Points /Hotels


@K-in-Boston wrote:

When they state "it might be worth starting your search with Amex Travel and considering redeeming your points at a fixed value. In most cases the redemption rates aren’t spectacular (0.7-0.85 cents per point)" is incorrect.  Amex Travel is fixed at 1.0 cents per point, period (with exceptions where there is added value). 

Your comment made me go look at this again to make sure I wasn't misremembering, but the only hotel bookings I see in the portal that are 1cpp are for FHR and Hotel Collection properties.   Everything else that is the standard "Lowest Rate Guarantee" options are all well below 1cpp.

 

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Message 4 of 19
K-in-Boston
Credit Mentor

Re: Amex Points /Hotels

I stand corrected!  Looks like they did change that at some point, then.  I haven't booked a hotel outside of the Marriott (or Starwood) websites in about 6 years since OTAs usually prevent one from earning elite nights or points and receiving elite perks.  Nice catch!

Message 5 of 19
redpat
Senior Contributor

Re: Amex Points /Hotels

The only way to get greater than 1 cent per point is with a bonus transfer to either Marriott or Hilton.

 

When Hilton transfer bonus was 1 for 3 I had some 2 cent redemptions. I will some transfer some MR points again if that comes up.  

As others have said it isn't a good use of MR points for stays if there is no transfer bonus.

 

 

Personal Cards: Amex Plat | Amex Delta Res | CSR | Citi AA Exec Business Cards: Ink+ | Amex BGR
Message 6 of 19
DONZI
Established Contributor

Re: Amex Points /Hotels

@K-in-Boston, my recent jaunt to Vegas with Hilton and MGM bookings via Amex Travel earned points with both FHR (Conrad & MGM) and HC (MGM).

 

IIRC, the Hilton booking (Conrad) was unique in that I was offered the prompt for Loyalty # no matter how booked -- standard or FHR.

 

In the past I think the pattern with Amex Travel was that if FHR or HC Hilton and Marriott would prompt for loyalty number and earn points but outside of those programs there was no earnings typically. I've added loyalty numbers for standard amex travel bookings for Marriott and Hilton via phone calls to get them to show in the Hilton and Marriott portals, but no earnings would occur.

 

The recent Conrad stay, in addition to FHR perks I also got a some Honors Gold hotel credit perk(s) - free water and there was an additional $75 hotel credit for onsite food/beverage purchases.

 

Aside from that, the MGM earnings/stays make sense as they're not partnered with Amex in the way Hilton and Marriott are.

 

I was tempted to book direct with the hotels but the FHR and HC perks outweighed the direct perks so I just opted to give it a whirl and confirm if I was going to be able to double dip.

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Message 7 of 19
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: Amex Points /Hotels

After reading the Points Guy article and the above posts, I'm thinking that it's pretty pointless to accumulate Amex MR points if one does not fly. 


Total revolving limits 741200 (620700 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 701 TU 704 EX 685

Message 8 of 19
DONZI
Established Contributor

Re: Amex Points /Hotels

@SouthJamaica, that maximum value approach by MR xfer to Airlines seems to be the main theme on the web. However the fallback "Invest with Rewards" via Schwab Plat. is reasonable for me. I cashed out much of my points back before the Schwab MR redemption dropped to 1.1%, but also have gotten good value with various offers such as an Amazon offer for $xx or xx% off (up to $xx) where 1 MR value was sky high.

 

I'm pretty new to the rewards and CB stuff but it is appealing to see established currency like chase UR and amex MR that are flexible plus offer potential for substantial increased value at times.

 

Amex IMO has very nice operation too. Transactions are handled fast both in and out and overall much smoother than any of the other FI I use other than Schwab. Since adding more earning potential with the Gold card I'm content allowing my spend to accumulate idle MR points. It's taken relatively low active benefit use to offset the card fees, although some of the passive benefits I consider worth the fees anyhow.

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[2023-10-01]=[EQ8|797]-[TU8|776]-[EX8|775]
Message 9 of 19
K-in-Boston
Credit Mentor

Re: Amex Points /Hotels

@DONZI those are excellent points about FHR and HC, as Amex is acting as a traditional travel agency for those properties.  (Similar to how the trick with Citi Prestige's 4th night free used to be that if you contacted Citi to do the booking rather than doing it online, you didn't have the OTA pitfalls.)  

 

For me, the issue is that I usually pay for mid-level (Marriott, Sheraton, Delta Hotels, etc.) and lower-tier (Courtyard, Four Points, Residence Inn, Aloft, etc.) properties and then make award bookings at the higher end of the food chain (Ritz-Carlton, JW, Design Hotels, Luxury Collection, etc.) rather than paying out of pocket.  The latter are the generally the properties that show up in HC and of course FHR (it's right there in the F).  But I will definitely have to give it a shot one of these days.

Message 10 of 19
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