There has been a LOT of news, promotions and changes related to American Express and some of their partners in the past week or so. I’m bit behind in posting about all of these so I’ve consolidated the major announcements below with my quick thoughts on each.
1. There will be no limits on transfers to Delta SkyMiles from American Express – Earlier this year, I posted about a new policy that Delta was going to institute starting January 1st that you would only be allowed to transfer 250k American Express Membership Rewards Points to Delta each year but now Delta is rescinding that announcement.
Delta apparently entered into a new contract with American Express so this seems to be the most likely reason this restriction will no longer be implemented. It was a terrible policy to begin with because 250k is too low a limit to cap transfers at annually – that wouldn’t even cover two business class tickets to Asia or Australia and it literally just covers enough for two business class tickets to Europe. I don’t transfer to Delta often but it is nice to see this policy not enacted.
2. American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass Credit Card 80k Bonus – I first saw this at Doctor of Credit, but American Express increased the bonus on the Surprass credit card to 80,000 HHonors points over the standard offer of 60,000 HHonors points. Here is a link to the offer.
Here are the key details of the offer –
- 80,000 HHonors Points after spending $3,000 in 3 months
- You earn Hilton Gold Status for having this card (i.e. free breakfast, bonus points etc.)
- Annual fee of $75 NOT waived in the first year
- This card earns 12x points at Hilton hotels, 6x at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations and 3x everywhere else.
In short, this is a decent offer but not one to jump on unless you need Hilton points. Remember Hilton points are severely devalued and 80k points doesn’t even cover one night at a top end hotel (though can cover 2 nights at mid tier hotels potentially). I still think the Citi Hilton Reserve is a better offer with two free nights. There is also a no fee Hilton card from Amex that currently offers 50k points + $50 statement credit.
3. New Point Earning Structure on American Express Business Gold Rewards Card – Previously, this card offered 3x points on airfare, 2x points on gas, advertising, hardware/software purchases and shipping and 1x elsewhere but now American Express will let you choose which category earns the 3x bonus points! This is a great change as I (and I imagine may others) don’t spend a lot on airfare so it is great to have a different choice to earn 3x points at. The following categories are eligible to be chosen for 3x points and the ones you don’t choose will earn 2x points.
- Advertising in Select Media
- Gas Stations
- Airfare (when purchased directly from the airline)
- Hardware, Software and Cloud Computing purchases from select vendors
I actually don’t spend a ton on any of those categories so I will most likely choose the gas station option since I already earn 2x airfare from my Sapphire Preferred card.
4. American Express & SPG Team Up for 500 Point Bonuses on Mobile Bookings – If you book your next Starwood stay via their mobile app and pay with an American Express Card (like the SPG Amex) you will earn an additional 500 Starpoints for the booking. Here is the link for more information on this promo.
This bonus can used for up to 3 times and stays must occur between now and March 31, 2015. Make sure to register for this promotion (members are not automatically enrolled).
5. New American Express Partner Air Bnb – Amex has teamed up with Airbnb to allow customers to use Membership Rewards points for Airbnb gift cards. The gift cards are available in $100 and $250 increments and cost 10,000 & 25,000 MR points respectively, yielding a value of 1 cent per point.
I personally won’t use this option and I don’t recommend it either unless you are a heavy user of Airbnb and cannot find any other way to use your MR points. I use my MR points for flights by transferring to British Airways most often. For example, it cost only 10,000 British Airways Avios to fly from JFK to Antigua and I guarantee that flight will always be over $100 (try closer to $300). That obviously is a very specific example but similar values are out there for flights with BA’s program and I’ll take a several hundred dollar flight instead of a $100 credit to Airbnb.
6. $5 for Downloading American Express Mobile App (Targeted) – Some customers are eligible to receive a $5 statement credit for downloading and logging into the American Express app on your phone – tablets/iPads will not work for the purpose of this promotion. Many people reported getting an email about this from Amex but it doesn’t hurt to try and replicate this offer if you didn’t get the email.
If you ever logged into the Amex mobile app, you will not be able to get this $5 statement credit. You must download the app between now and 12/31/14.