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25% bonus on transfer of hotels points to Avios (including your 20k SPG credit card bonus!)

Finally, after a couple of false starts here and here, which I think were errors by the hotel groups, its back.  The BA ‘25% bonus when you transfer your hotel points to British Airways Avios‘ promotion!

It is a very simple promotion, outlined here at ba.com.

Hotel sign

Rule 1:  You must convert your hotel points to Avios (at ba.com, not avios.com) before 15th October.  15th October is the date by which the points must leave your hotel account, not arrive at ba.com

Rule 2:  Only transfers from the following hotel programmes count:

  • Club Carlson
  • Hilton HHonors
  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Starwood Preferred Guest

LeClub Accorhotels is NOT included, it seems.  However, Accor is offering double Avios in Iberia Plus for stays until 15th October.  It is also possible that existing balances will be doubled – see my other post today.

Rule 3:  There are minimum transfer requirements.  These are generally the same as the lowest possible transfer out of that programme, except for Starwood Preferred Guest.

The rules say that you must transfer 2,500 SPG points to qualify for the bonus.  However, Gold and Platinum SPG members are allowed by SPG to transfer lower amounts (1,500 and 1 respectively).  It is not clear if transferring less than 2,500 means you forfeit the bonus, but I would assume it does.

Rule 4:  Only lump sum transfers of existing points get the bonus.  Points earned directly from stays (ie 500 Avios for a stay at a Hilton property) do not attract the bonus as they would fall under the minimum transfer threshold.

Rule 5:  You can make multiple transfers from multiple programmes and, based on past experience, all will attract the bonus.

So, is this a good deal or not?

Well, if you applied for the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex card last month, with the sign-up bonus of 20,000 points, then you’re laughing.  20,000 SPG points normally get you 25,000 Avios points, but you will now receive 31,250!

(If you have not already spent the necessary £1,000 to trigger the bonus, I would be making plans to bring forward some spending to ensure that the points hit your SPG account by 15th October.  Remember that SPG points are transferred from Amex SIX DAYS before your statement cut-off date.  So, for example, if your statements run 1-30 September, the next sweep to Starwood will be on the 24th.  You would need to have spent your £1,000 by, say, the 19th to ensure that the bonus posts to your Amex account in time.)

That is a specific case, though.

However, in general, a 25 per cent bonus is not enough – for any promotion – to make a bad deal a great deal.  50 per cent, yes. 25 per cent is rarely a game changer.

In general, hotel points are best redeemed for hotel stays.  Let’s look at the points needed for a top category redemption, say £250 a night.  The Avios conversion does not include the 25 per cent bonus.

Hilton – 80,000 points = 8,000 Avios

Hyatt – 22,000 points = 5,500 Avios

Marriott – 45,000 points = 12,000 Avios 

IHG Rewards Club – 50,000 points = 10,000 Avios

Carlson – 50,000 points = 5,000 Avios

Starwood – 30,000 points = 35,000 Avios

Apart from Starwood, who have a very good conversion ratio, you are clearly better leaving large stashes of hotel points where they are.

However, for a small amount, it is a different game. A couple of years ago I tidied up some of my small hotel balances by converting a lot to Avios, often topping up first from Amex Membership Rewards, and didn’t regret it. If you will never earn enough for a free room, you might as well convert and a 25 per cent bonus is a good excuse.

The other thing to remember is that the hotel chains convert to many airline programmes, often over 20. You may get a 25 per cent bonus via Avios, but perhaps topping off another account may be more useful? If you had a huge volume of hotel points, you may be able to get enough points from scratch in, say, the American Airlines programme for a tax-free UK to US redemption.  Avios are not always the answer.

Final thought. You can transfer IHG Rewards Club points to someone else for $5 per 1000, Hilton points for $25 per 10,000 and SPG and Carlson points for free if you share an address.  Hyatt points can be pooled if you ring and redeem them immediately.  Perhaps a transfer to a friend who can use a larger total for a hotel room is a better deal than Avios, even with the bonus.

(Thanks to Stephen)

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Comments

  1. What a dilemna! Will now neex to decide whether 31250 BA avios are worth more than 25000 aadvantage miles. My insricts say no.

    • Depends on how and where they are used.

      However given how easy Avios are to ‘earn’, I’d take 25k AA over 31k BA any day

  2. I’m wondering if these kind of bonuses actually make the SPG card the best for me to continue with for long term spending. Obviously you’d have to wait for the bonus period, but it seems like a good idea, and then you can also pick and choose where you put your points.

    I have BA Amex, Lloyds DUO and SPG. I’ve hit the spending requirements for all and I’m wondering which one to keep long term. I think SPG is best because of the above but also because of the flexibility to transfer to other programmes. Only downside is that as I understand it they changed to only give you points for whole £ spent on a per transaction basis.

    Anyone have any thoughts?

    • Good point. I had got rid of my SPG card after receiving the bonus, but I do like the flexibility…and more points than my Plat to boot

    • These 25 per cent transfer bonuses have been pretty consistent, every 8 months or so, for about 3 years. Assuming you’re not bothered about the 241 voucher on the BA Amex, you do get good flexibility with SPG.

      The alternative is Amex Gold – you need to decide if 2x points on supermarket, travel, petrol and foreign spend is better than than the 25 per cent SPG bonus on your whole balance. Gold is free in year 1 then £125, so about the same as SPG on a 3 year horizon. Different mix of transfer partners though.

      • I have the BMI amex that gives 2x avios per £ spent , is it worth even considering other cards?

      • Thanks. I did the BA Gold Bonus a while back and then cancelled for the fee. I’ll stick with SPG for now.

        Just need to decide how to spend my points! I’ve got a reasonable a lot across avois, VA and SPG – perhaps you could do a case study on my and recommend how to spent the points ;)

      • But would it not be better to cancel SPG card and reapy for it 6-12 month later when amex runs another 20k signup bonus? Or does amex not give bonus on multiple applications for the same card?

        • Yes they do let you reapply after 6 months – but the original comment in the context of keeping the card.

          • Yes, I understood that but was just wondering if their is any point keeping a card if we can churn it. Signup bonus would outperform earnings for the vast majority of us. I used to repply mbna cards repeatedly for signup benefits but they have either changed policy or put a red flag on my custom as its no longer working. If we can get multiple bonuses on SPG card then forthat reason alone I wouldnt keep it.

  3. SPG seems the only one worth looking at. I don’t have an SPG account but think there may be something in this for me if I can leverage the 25k Amex MR points I recently got from the gold card. I’m thinking I could open an SPG account, transfer from MR points to SPG then straight to Avios. Would that be a) allowed and b) a decent deal. Thanks.

    • The conversion rate from Amex to SPG is not very good (2:1) so you’d be better off transferring directly to Avios (if that’s your end goal) or waiting until they next do a transfer bonus (not been a UK one for a while). That way you’d get 25k Avios (or 37.5 with a 50% amex bonus) rather than 15.6k by going via SPG.

    • Have just checked the list of Amex MR hotel partners (Hilton, SPG, Club Carlson) and I don’t think there are any where the conversion rates are good enough for this to be beneficial.

    • Bad deal due to 2:1 into SPG, best to go straight to Avios if that is your end goal

      • Thanks Andrew and Raffles for your advice, I didn’t realise the Amex to SPG exchange rate was 2:1. I’ll hang on to them until I have a specific need or a great deal comes along.

  4. I have 270K Marriott points which, using a Travel package redemption, should convert to 120K BA Avios + 7 nights Category 1-5 hotel stay (good for some excellent Far-East Marriott properties).
    My question is do the 120K Ba Avios Marriott will send to my BA account attract the 25% bonus?

    Anybody with experience of this?

  5. Excellent timing – I hit my SPG spend yesterday and am just waiting for the bonus to post.

  6. This is great and I should be ready to transfer my SPG bonus from the Amex card. But when will my points be transferred? I spent £1000 in the first month, bonus points arrived in my Amex account on 8 August. My first statement was 26 August. The points are still sitting there in Amex and I haven’t heard anything from SPG. I didn’t have an SPG account already but I thought they would set one up for me. Am I right? Or do I need to do anything? This is one transfer window I don’t want to miss!

    • I also recently signed up and spent the £1k fairly quickly – then as expected all the points did transfer to my SPG account 6 days before statement date.
      I signed up to my own SPG account beforehand though and then linked it – perhaps best just doing this, and then calling up Amex to link the accounts.

    • Hmmm. I wouldopen an SPG account now then ring Amex, number on back of card, and tell them to add it. Hopefully the points will go across next time.

  7. I opened the SPG Amex card and called Amex to provide them with my SPG account number. I was put on hold whilst Amex contact SPG and I was assured that the points transfer would go through ok.

    My last SPG Amex statement (prior to the £1,000 trigger) said it had transferred 902 points to SPG but the SPG member number was blank on my statement. Unlike the BA Amex where it was printed on the statement. Obviously there was no credit to my SPG account.

    I then hit the £1,000 bonus trigger so I called Amex again and they confirmed that the SPG number on my Amex account was correct, and Amex assured me again that the points would credit to SPG towards the end of September.

    They said that my first call had not had a case opened for the phone call that they made to partner liaison. On this occasion I was assured a case would be opened and that Amex would contact SPG by email.

    I’m not confident of the SPG points being transferred. What else can I do…..?

    • We had a very similar problem, with no SPG # being provided and a very unhelpful call handler – now waiting the 10 days they said it would take to issue the number, but likewise do not want to miss out!

      Probably worth calling them a few times to check it’s progressing.

  8. Percy Pig says:

    I had a similar issue, but a very helpful call handler. He told me they were having problems opening SPG accounts at the moment, and recommended I open my own and he could link it immediately for me. I did, and he linked it, and transferred the SPG points over straight away. I would recommend doing the same if they have not opened an SPG account for you yet.

  9. Quick question: there’s no requirement to transfer points in “round numbers” is there? i.e. 26,960 or something is fine?

    Hit my £1k spend fine to trigger the bonus but got just under 1k pts as Costco only gave half points!

  10. Haveing recently spent the £1k target on my SPG, the 20k bonus points have been credited to my Amex account with my first Amex statement due on the 13th September. I assume that (once Amex have verified my SPG account) my SPG account will be credited with 20k of points, and once I transfer to BA Avios this will convert to 31,250 and not 25,000. Or is it 20k Amex = 25k SPG = 31.25k Avios.

    Just dont want to mess things up and lose out on this offer.
    (Credit to Raffles for advising an Amex SPG signup on his blog)

    • Yes, you get 31,250 Avios for a transfer of 20,000 SPG

      • On a separate issue, emails are arriving from Amex offering the lucky chosen few a 20 or 30 per cent bonus on MR conversions to BA or Virgin. Nothing for me though ….

        • It does seem like Bonus Season has started. There’s all sorts of different offers MRs to BAEC on different cards, for different balances, etc. being mentioned on FT. Maybe this is the future; more targetted personalised bonuses and promotions as their IT systems get savvier?

          • I got a 20% one for BA and Virgin and 25% for Club Carlson from AMEX.

            I’m still tempted to transfer to my SPG points (if they ever get transferred) to AA, the AA earning opportunities are pretty limited now I’ve got my 35k bonus miles.

        • Yes, I received this email to- offering 20%bonus. I have >84000 MR points. Don’t need to use them immediately. Is this a good deal that I should grab?

          Also, both myself and hubby have SPG sign up bonuses. Not sure what to. I was thinking of keeping them where they are until we need to book something. Am I missing out on 2 good deals?

  11. Just a quick query, when transferring SPG points to BA for the 25% bonus, do you use the BA transfer system at BA.com or the SPG transfer feature on starwoodhotels.com. I know you get 5k bonus when transferring over 20k from starwood to BA, and you get the 25% bonus if you transfer using BA from SPG. In order to get both the extra 5k and the 25% which transfer system site should I use?

  12. This seems a pretty good deal. When I take into account the 1,000 extra points from the referral and the spend required to trigger the sign up bonus, I have 22,015 SPG = 33,768 Avios!

    Although I don’t intend to use the card anymore, I’m probably going to keep it open for a few months before cancelling so as not to piss off Amex. Still even if I wait 6 month and only get £35 of the annual fee back, 33,768 Avios for £35 isn’t too bad!

  13. Girlfriend wanted to buy a MacBook Air for just under the minimum £1000 spend required to trigger the 20,000 SPG bonus. Having opened the Amex SPG card via TopCashBack and claiming the equivalent of 3600 avios, I only have had to spend around £40 pounds to ultimately get 35850 points as she paid me back the £960 for the laptop purchase. Raffles is spot on, I truly am laughing!

  14. I have 38,380 SPG points.
    I followed the BA link and have ended up on http://www.starwoodhotels.com and followed the transfer points to BA. I am about to click the confirmation page. It says:

    Starpoints to transfer: 34,380
    Bonus Starpoints: 5,000
    Conversion ratio: 1:1
    Miles or Credits to be received: 39380.0

    I was expecting more than that. Am I doing something wrong or ignore the above and will get the higher amount…?

    • This ignores the bonus, which is added by BA and will not appear on the hotel site confirmation

    • Worth considering buying 6000 Starpoints first to get the extra 5000 from SPG plus 25% extra bonus points on top of the additional 11000 you have engineered.

  15. Hi Raffles- I just got an email from AMEX offering me a 25% bonus if i convert my membership reward points to BAEC. Did anyone else get this? Justin

    • I got 20% (Amex Gold, 85,000MR points, converted 1000 earlier this year)

    • I got 25% for my Amex Plat. Good thing I waited, still got 52000 MR points sign-up bonus waiting for this email.

      I’m wondering if I should cancel my Amex Plat now. I have 4 months left so I should get a refund of £75 (I paid half-price annual fee). The main benefit I used/abused are the airport lounges and the novelty has worn off. I should still be able to use my Marco Polo card, they never seem to check it when entering the the BA lounges. But I think Priority Pass will become invalid when I cancel?

  16. Hi Raffles,

    So , if i do a transfer of my 25,000 MR to Club Carlson today and then convert to BAEC once posted would I get the 25%bonus?

    • Why do this?

      The Carlson to Avios transfer rate is 10 to 1.

      You move 25k Amex to Carlson and end up with 94k, so 9,400 Avios.

      Why not just move 25k Amex directly to Avios and get (assuming 20 per cent bonus) 30,000?!

  17. Or more lucrative – with the email I’ve just received from AMEX for a 25% bonus of Club Carlson points on my first transfer of MR could I:

    1, Convert my MR balance as above and get 25% bonus of Club Carlson (Points credited by 11th October say T&Cs)
    2, Between 11th October and 15th October as you mention above, convert Club Carlson balance (now with the added bonus) to BAEC for a further 25% bonus from BA?

  18. ingleborough says:

    If I click on the link you have posted, it takes me to the relevant page describing the 25% bonus, but if I log into my BAEC account and look for the offer, it is not shown anywhere.

    Is this offer being targeted to certain people only?

  19. Hi Ingleborough

    You need to click on Executive Club offers down the LHS once you have logged in to Exec Club and then scroll dow to see all the offers…the 25% offer is at the top of the list..

  20. Where can I see on the Amex / MR website the 25% conversion bonus?

    • You can’t. You got the email or you didn’t. If you didn’t tell Amex you were happy to receive junk email from them, you won’t have had it. (Although sometimes they write to people who opted out of emails … but you may have opted out of postal junk as well!)

      • Thanks. I did subscribe to all emails, but I don’t think I saw this one. Maybe because the MR account is actually under 6 months..

  21. Dad did not get any emails from amex. I guess this is targetted? Is 20% conversion bonus a good deal for gold? I seem to remember 40 and 50% being mentioned before; was this just for platinum card holders?

  22. Yozza1977 says:

    Just a bit annoyed! On Friday I transferred 37000 Amex MR points to BAEC and 22000 SPG points to BAEC. Today got the 2 emails for bonuses from Amex and SPG! They both only posted today – what are the chances of them using the date they posted, rather than the date of the transfer, to apply the bonuses?

  23. Will SPG Night & Flight package works on this promotion? Thanks:)

  24. Any advice please.

    Thanks to Raffles I got pointed in the direction of the AA (MBNA) offer of 35,000 points bonus for the spend which my wife and I have achieved. We have just over 40,000 AA Points which we planned to use for one way Abu Dhabi to London next year.

    My wife has 27,000 SPG points and I have 41,000 points. We have lots of Aviois at the moment.

    My question is does it make sense to transfer some SPG to AA (instead of BA) to get us each up to 80,000 points to increase our options?

    • It makes some sense, esp as there are no fuel surcharges on AA redemptions except when done on BA or Iberia. However, you don’t need to do it now. Keep them in SPG and retain the flexibility until you need them.

  25. In case anyone is in the same boat as me… I set up SPG Amex and hit the bonus. Also set up SPG account. In order to link them I had to all Amex and asked them to link them for me, as I could see no other way to do it . They did this no bother, but have told me it will take up to 14 days to link the accounts, and the points will be transferred prior to next statement. This should still be in time to get the conversion bonus, but a wee warning to those that expect the points to transfer automatically, that they need to get their accounts linked.

    • I’ve been trying to get my SPG account linked to the SPG Amex for around a month with no success. I’ve no idea what the problem is and no one at amex can tell me what the problem is either. I had a light bulb moment earlier. The existing SPG account has zero points, so I dont care if amex open a new one for me – so long as i can get the points transferred…. I’ve told amex to open a new account, so I will see what happens. Hopefully a new one will open ok without any issues. I’ve been promised a callback in a week with an update. Hopefully it will inform me that the new SPG account has been setup ok and then the points will move

      • I had a similar problem with Amex, they took 2 weeks to set up my new account and then made some mistake on the “City” field on the account address. I created a new account on SPG website and provided the account number to Amex. They linked it up immediately and I could see it working the next working day.

        • Can you explain your comment please : “I could see it working the next working day.”

          What exactly did you do to check it?

          • Amex sent me a letter confirming the spg account has been linked to the card and i could also see SPG as a partner when i logged to my amex account

  26. I tried to turn on cash advance on my new SPG Amex card so I can use it at Amex Currency Exchange to meet my spend target but they said my account needs to be 6 month old! WTF?, I did this with my Amex Plat card without any issues. Anybody else have this problem?

    I guess my other option are the 3V cards, but I have not found them around London.

    • No need to have cash advance enabled… Just make the order online. As long as you order a reasonable amount (IE not 5k a time…) then you won’t have any problems. I have put through £500 of Euros with no issues whatsoever on two different occasions.

  27. Just transferred 25000 SPG points, email says allow 4 weeks for the points to go over to Avois, what’s the reality as worried about missing availability on my redemption booking if it’s going to this long

  28. Has anyone transferred hotel points to BA yet? If so did the 25% bonus hit the account more or less simultaneously, or do they do a sweep and add the bonus points separately at a later date? Any info much appreciated.

  29. I made the mistake,as I’m still accruing points before I cancel the card, of transferring all my points at once, when I should have left enough in to add my new points in order to meet the minimum 2,500 transfer. I now have to decide if it’s worth keeping the card at £6 per monyh, until I have enough points to get the 25% bonus

  30. I’ve had the SPG card since mid July. Despite 8 phone calls, there is still no link setup to my SPG account. Every time I call I spend 10 minutes explaining the situation and they tell me its being looked into or with their back office team. I’m incredubly frustrated !!!

    • Had same problem. Next time you call tell them you want the complaints department. I did that and my points were transferred next day(despite initially being told transfers are only 6 days before statement due date). I have also had numerous apology letters and my full membership refunded.

      • Thanks for the advice BOI. I will bear it in mind when I call next, which will be midweek. Its time to increase the frequency of calls