December 27th, 2012
Update: The Virgin bonus ends on 12/29!
Originally posted on 11/27:
Related: Get A 30% Bonus When You Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points Into British Airways Avios
Currently through 12/29 you can transfer Membership Rewards points into Virgin Atlantic miles with a 35% bonus, so 1,000 AMEX MR=1,350 Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic miles are subject to insane fuel surcharges and therefore aren’t really worth much to most people, but they can be converted into Hilton points at a 1:2 ratio.
The minimum transfer is 10,000 and transfers higher than that must be done in increments of 5,000.
Bear in mind that between 12/03 and 01/14 you’ll be able to transfer Membership Reward points into British Airways at a 30% bonus. 1.3 BA Avios will likely be more valuable than 2.7 Hilton points for most people. Of course for others 1 Air Canada Aeroplan miles or 1 Singapore mile or 1 Air France Flying Blue mile or 1 Delta mile may be more valuable than 1.3 BA Avios. Which is of course the beauty of a transferable currency with multiple transfer options.
Hilton points aren’t worth much, they’re nothing like other high-value hotel points like Starwood Starpoints or Hyatt points. But they’re worth something, perhaps about a quarter of a Starpoint or a third of a Hyatt point.
There are currently 2 Hilton properties in Israel, the Hilton Eilat Queen of Sheba hotel in Eilat and the Hilton Tel Aviv.
The Eilat Hilton costs 40,000 points per night and the Tel Aviv Hilton costs 50,000 points per night. If you have a Hilton card which gives automatic Silver Elite status or automatic Gold elite status (which can in turn be matched to the awesome Hyatt Diamond status mind you) then you also get 15% off 4 night awards stays, 20% off 5 night award stays, and 25% off 6+ night award stays. Thus a 6 night stay at a top-tier category 7 Hilton would cost just 37,500 points per night with the 25% off instead of 50,000 points per night.
The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is slated to open in August of 2013 and is slated to be one of the finest hotel in the entire country. Waldorf hotels are priced above all 7 Hilton categories and cost between 50K-70K per night in low season and between 60K-80K per night in high season. And they do receive the same 15%-25% point discount if you are elite. A Waldorf Astoria Tel Aviv is also in the works.
At any rate, say that you value Membership Rewards (MR) points at 1.6 cents each.
-If you transfer 15K MR you will receive 20,250 Virgin, which you can transfer into 40K HH. That’s like getting Hilton points at 0.6 cents each.
-If you transfer 26K MR you will receive 35,100 Virgin, which you can transfer into 70K HH. That’s like getting Hilton points at 0.5943 cents each.
-If you transfer 52K MR you will receive 70,200 Virgin, which you can transfer into 140K HH. That’s like getting Hilton points at 0.5943 cents each.
-If you transfer 63K MR you will receive 85,050 Virgin, which you can transfer into 170K HH. That’s like getting Hilton points at 0.5929 cents each.
-If you transfer 100K MR you will receive 135,000 Virgin, which you can transfer into 270K HH. That’s like getting Hilton points at 0.5926 cents each.
If you value MR points at more or less than 1.6 cents each you’ll have to rerun the numbers to see what you would be “paying” for the Hilton points.
Need some Membership Rewards points? You can always call American Express to borrow some.
-The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card comes with 25,000 points for spending $2,000 and the first year is free. That will net you some 70,000 Hilton points.
-The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 25K points as well and now is a great time to signup as you can get $200 of airline fee credits (or airline gift cards in $100 increments) in December of 2012 and another $200 in January of 2013.