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Does it make sense to redeem Amex membership reward points for Westin in Maui?

Does it make sense to redeem Amex membership reward points for Westin in Maui?

Old Jan 6, 12, 10:33 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Programs: AA Platinum, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 171
Does it make sense to redeem Amex membership reward points for Westin in Maui?

I'm targeting the Westin at Maui taking advantage of the 5th night free SPG promotion. Total SPG points cost is 48,000. I have about 32k SPG points, so I need to transfer Amex membership rewards points to complete the remaining16,000.
Amex is charging at a rate of 1,000 points for 333 SPG points, so I need to spend approx. 47,000 Amex to top off my SPG account. At the end of the day, I would have 48,000 SPG points to redeem for a $400 a night hotel for 5 nights. The total cost would be 32,000 SPG points and 47,000 membership rewards points.
Does this deal make sense even though Amex is not getting me a 1-1 transfer ratio?
mromero07 is offline  
Old Jan 6, 12, 11:54 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: NYC
Programs: AA EXP, Hilton GLD, Marriott Plat, NEXUS/GE
Posts: 2,873
At that transfer rate, it might make sense to just buy SPG points ($560 for 16k points) or do cash-and-points.

For some perspective, if there were a 50% delta transfer promotion, you could transfer 67k MR points to DL and have a roundtrip from North America to Europe in business class. At the valuation of buying them above, this values a roundtrip to Europe in business class at around $800.

I'm pretty sure I'd pay $800 to go to Europe in business class. Would you?
FlyerChrisK is offline  
Old Jan 7, 12, 8:32 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: ATL
Programs: AA GLD Skymiles DM, a+ rewards lifetime elite, AS, Marriott plat, PC plat, HH gold
Posts: 1,241
Welcome to Flyertalk! You just missed a promotion (expired 12/31/11) that transferred at 750 MR per 333 SPG which makes it a much better value. I took advantage of the promotion and got the 5th night free in an oceanview for 14,500 SPG a night at the Westin Maui.

You might want to wait for another promotion for MR to SPG. Also if you have an amex platinum make sure you call to get the free Gold SPG status.
turkeyRIOO is offline  
Old Jan 7, 12, 9:42 am
  #4  
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Programs: AA Platinum, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 171
Thanks for the replies. We might wait a little since we're not going until September. I'm sure something will come along before then, and we might even just do Priceline. I'm a relative rookie to travel hacking but I know MR points are very valuable to just blow them away.
mromero07 is offline  
Old Jan 7, 12, 11:20 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 4,888
NO imho......I think I receive at least once a year a time share 5-7 night promo deal for the Westin Maui that is not for the original old tall buildings but nearby. Total cost if I remember is a little over $500. I have never done any of these time share offers.

Get a SPG amex credit card if you have time and money to spend. 1 point per dollar...and many promos come with a 20,000 to 30,000 bonus offer....although they may have a minimum spend requirement now to trigger bonus.

Last edited by Centurion; Jan 7, 12 at 11:39 am
Centurion is offline  
Old Jan 7, 12, 11:38 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 158
Do you have the SPG Amex? Since your trip is not until September you could rack up a good amount of spending on the card to make up a good chunk of the difference. If you don't have the card, a sign on bonus could even make up a lot of the difference. Best sign-on bonuses have been 30K points - but only 10K of it is instant and guaranteed to be there in time. Not sure if you're traveling with a significant other who could also apply?

I think there is more than one Westin in Maui but I stayed in one that was nice - it was great because it was a timeshare and had a kitchenette which helps if you don't want to eat out every meal of the day.

PM me or reply to this thread if you need a referral for the card. Honestly, its a great card with a lot of airline transfer partners.
Palaimo is offline  
Old Jan 7, 12, 12:01 pm
  #7  
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Posts: 171
No, I already did the Amex SPG card (thanks for offering to refer me). Actually the 32,000 points is as a result of getting the actual card. I can't really rack up SPG points by then because I'm currently doing the Amex OPEN Business Gold promotion (spend 10k in 5 months, get 75,000 MR points) so all my spending and my wife's is going towards that card, but depending on what offers are out there in a couple of months when I'm done with this promotion I may go back to the SPG card to keep adding up points.
mromero07 is offline  
Old Jan 7, 12, 3:18 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Francisco
Programs: Amex MR, SPG Gold, HHonors Gold, AS MVP
Posts: 518
Eh, I might dissent just a little bit from the general consensus. It definitely is not a great use of MR points, but it's not terrible if you think of it as those 16,000 points buying two nights at $400/night, and it's actually even a little better than that because your existing store of Starpoints could not quite even buy three nights. Looked at it that way, it's $800/47000 MR points which values the MR points at 1.7 cents each, which is actually pretty fair.

Still, the other commenters are right that this should not be your first choice. Spend some money on the SPG Amex (preferably at a Starwood property, which gets you 4X -- 5X if you're Starwood Gold), and hope for a repeat of the transfer bonus. If you can get to the point where you only need to spend, say, 5,000 MR points to top up your Starpoints you'll be getting a lot better value.

Actually, I just thought of something.... You never mentioned if your wife has already got the SPG Amex. If not, having your wife get that card should be a key component of your strategy. Then you could transfer her Starpoints from the signup bonus over to your account. It does sound like you might want to wait a couple months to signup, because 15K of the bonus only comes after $5k spend in 6 months. But you get 10K on first purchase in any case.
taliesin is offline  
Old Jan 7, 12, 3:30 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 158
Also, not sure if you can do this but consider the Ameritrade offer discussed here. You wouldn't be able to use the entire bonus before your trip since (If I remember correctly) you need to keep the money parked for nine months, but half of the bonus posts fairly quickly. This could be another way to add a few thousand points to your stash.

Lastly, consider going out to lunch / dinner at star wood hotel restaurants? You'll get extra points on those transactions with your SPG card. Just make sure the restaurant is actually owned by the hotel.
Palaimo is offline  
Old Jan 8, 12, 8:21 am
  #10  
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Join Date: Jan 2012
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Posts: 171
Thank you all for the input. I think what I'll do is that I'll apply for the business SPG card, since I just realized they had one. 10k on first purchase, and 15k after spending 5k or more in 6 months. My wife doesn't have either one of them, so I will refer her and that will get me another 5k points. I only need an additional 16k total, so if this works then I'll just need to buy an additional 1,000 SPG points and hopefully not touch my MR points.
mromero07 is offline  

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