American Express Membership Rewards are a great program that have many options to redeem, personally I enjoy their transfer Partner options and use the Membership Rewards to top up points balances as and when needed.
Today I tried to transfer a small amount of points to Mrs Saverocity, to boost her balance ready to make a reservation and found out the following things about Membership Rewards Transfers:
Your Accounts Must Be Linked
You can Transfer to anyone, but they must be named on your account, this means they need to have a card in their name linked to yours, if you don’t have this set up already then it will take up to 7-10 business days to send out the card, and closer to 3 to link the account name – you don’t need to use or activate the card they send you, and they informed me it wouldn’t come with a Hard Credit Pull. Once you receive an email from American Express you are able to transfer into their Partner Program. American Express will be sending out a new credit card with the persons name on it, if you ask for a Green Amex there is no Fee, if you want Gold or Platinum they come with annual fees.
Federal Taxes and Fees
If you transfer to a US Domestic Airline, such as Delta, you have to pay a transfer fee of $0.0006 per point ($60 for every 100K points) there is a cap to the transaction fee of $99 so if you are planning to transfer a bunch of points its best to plan ahead and do it in one go so you can make use of the cap. There is no fee if you transfer to an International Partner (such as British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, or to a Hotel Partner.
You do not have to be related, but be careful
Chase, who have a similar program closed down many accounts last year for transferring to non spousal partners – this was started by people effectively selling their points and then transferring them into someone else’s account. American Express did inform me that they would allow transfers to non spousal partners (including friends etc) but be careful about adding too many people as it might appear that you are selling your points like the Chase people were.
Get Ready Now
If you are planning to use a Membership Reward transfer to boost your balances for an award, make sure the accounts are linked now so then the transfer can occur smoothly when you are ready to book. And allow as much time as possible for the points to post before you need to make your reservation.
Why I’m Doing it
A little background – I want to burn through both my Virgin Atlantic and Hilton Honors Points, as I only have Virgin for the purpose of transferring to Hilton, and the Hilton Points are about to become cut in half for value.
The plan is to transfer American Express Membership rewards to Mrs Saverocity in order to bump up her Virgin Atlantic Balance, then in turn Transfer those to Hilton to reserve a last reservation before the Devaluation D Day Occurs.
Current Balance Today
- Virgin Atlantic (VA) 76,590 (with 7509 more than may or may not post in time to cash in)
- Hilton Honors (HH) 43,886 (with no points activity occurring until we get back from our next trip in March – from March 15th-25th) Hilton Points are supposed to post to the account within 3-7 Business Days, and we have a deadline of March 28th… pretty tight, may not happen!
The plan is to make the reservation to book a 6 Night award in one of the nicest Hilton’s in NYC, probably the Conrad or Waldorf Astoria based upon my mothers preference, for her upcoming stay. The timing will be tight as we will be seeking to book on March 26th, so need all the points in place ready to lock in the reservation. The 6 night stay in their Top Category hotel (Cat 7, changing to Cat 10) will cost us 225,000 Hilton Honors points by using the GLON award, assuming we can get the Virgin Points Posted in time we will have:
84099 VA Points 43,886 HH Points
I’m took a chance today believing that those final 7509 VA points will post by March 26th, and decided that I should transfer some of My American Express Membership Rewards (MR) to Her VA account to top it off and transfer the maximum to HH. I thought if I transferred 6000 MR that would result in a balance of 90,099 VA points, these transfer to HH at a 1:2 ratio, meaning they would be worth 180,000 HH points (note they transfer in blocks of 5,000 only)
That would leave us with 223,886, a little over 1100 HH short of the 225,000 target, but close enough to hit with a little regular spend on her card this month.
POST Update American Express Membership Rewards Accounts Linked in under 48hrs!
3/1/2013 just 48hrs after calling American Express Membership Rewards I called back in today to ask if the accounts had been linked. Rather than waiting for the Amex Card to arrive I just checked in on them and it has indeed been done. I made the transfer of 6000 Membership Rewards points today which should show up in Mrs Saverocity’s Virgin Atlantic Account within 24hrs.
More good news – we had a posting of around 3000 Hilton Honors to her account also, which means once the final Virgin Points hit the account and we make the transfer to Hilton we will be over 225K! Now the only worry is how long they will take to show up and and slow the transfer from Virgin to Hilton is. In the past it has been about 2-3 days.
The only thing that can go wrong now is I load up the account with Virgin Atlantic Miles and send them over, but they don’t show up in Hilton until after the deadline of 03/28/2013; leaving me with a bunch of Hilton points worth very little to me..fingers crossed that doesn’t happen.
Post Update American Express Membership Rewards Points Transferred to Virgin Atlantic within 12hrs!
3/2/2013 Mrs Saverocity Virgin Atlantic miles balance increased to 82,590 now we are waiting on the 7,509 to post from the Bank Of American Virgin Atlantic card spend for last month – that will put us just over 90K and ready to engage the transfer. The closing date on the statement is 3/14/2013 if they post on that day we are good, since we fly to the Maldives on 3/15/2013… still pretty tight!