10% bonus on Starwood transfers to Avios points – is it worth it?

Every nine months or so, British Airways runs a co-ordinated promotion among all of the major hotel chains, offering a bonus of 25% for converting your points to Avios.

The last UK outing for this deal was in June.  Surprisingly, though, Starwood Preferred Guest – the loyalty scheme for Sheraton, Westin, W, St Regis etc – was not included this time.

Whatever the reason, British Airways and Starwood are making up for it by running a dedicated Starwood transfer bonus.

Starwood Avios bonus

You will receive a 10% bonus when you transfer your Starwood Preferred Guest points to Avios before 30th September.  This is the date by which you must initiate the transfer – it does not matter how long the points take to reach British Airways.

The standard transfer rate from SPG to Avios is 1:1.  In addition, when you transfer 20,000 SPG points in one go, you will receive an additional 5,000 miles.

With this promotion, a transfer of 10,000 SPG points will get you 11,000 Avios.  A transfer of 20,000 SPG points will get you 27,500 Avios.

Is this worth it?

‘It depends’ is the boring answer.  It certainly isn’t a terrible deal but you would still be marginally better off redeeming the points for hotel stays if you chose wisely.

Starwood is unique among the hotel schemes in making luxury redemptions very poor value.  Their top properties are 30,000 SPG points per night – not very tempting when the alternative would be to convert to 35,000 Avios points (38,500 under this promotion)!

The sweet spot is generally in the ‘high end but not super-luxe’ market.  Being a bit sad I have a spreadsheet of recent redemptions.  I apparently got 1.6p per point for a recent redemption in Hamburg (Le Meridien at 10,000 points per night), 1.7p for my stay at the Westin Dublin this Summer (12,000 points) and 1.7p for a night booked in Toronto for next year.

Let’s assume you can easily get 1.7p of value per SPG point from a hotel stay.

Let’s also assume that you value an Avios point at 1p.  If you converted 20,000 SPG points, you would receive 25,000 Avios plus a 2,500 Avios bonus, for a total of 27,500.  That means you are effectively getting 1.38p of value per SPG point by converting to Avios.

You will therefore be a little worse off by converting to Avios.  However, if you don’t actually have a plan to use your SPG points for a stay – or don’t have enough to redeem for a free night – this is as a good an opportunity as you are likely to get for the foreseeable future to convert.

Remember that Gold members must convert at least 1,500 points.  Base level members must convert at least 2,500 points.

Eligibility

It seems that only a subset of British Airways Executive Club members were emailed about this offer.  The terms and conditions do NOT say that it is restricted, although the details are not (yet?) on ba.com.  I feel safe saying that anyone who converts will get the bonus.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. You say – ‘if you don’t actually have a plan to use your SPG points for a stay – or don’t have enough to redeem for a free night – this is as a good an opportunity as you are likely to get for the foreseeable future to convert’ – but then if you don’t have enough for a free night, you won’t have enough to get the 5,000 bonus (for transferring 20,000), in which case the maths changes…

    • Head for Points says:

      I was assuming that, if you only had 3000 SPG points, you would treat them as essentially worthless so you might as well take the bonus.

      • Don’t forget 3000 starpoints gets you a weekend night at a Category 2 hotel – I’ve used up small amounts on the Sheraton Catania, for example, which is a bargain at 3k a night (worth much more, I’d argue, than 3300 Avios)

  2. sandgrounder says:

    Don’t forget fifth night free on cat 3-7 redemptions. I’ve got a 40k 5 night stay booked in New York next year I can’t find anywhere for less than £1200.

  3. As ever with hotel redemptions, when working out the real value of your points, you need to bear in mind whether you would have booked that particular hotel for cash if you didn’t have the points. The Holiday Inn Mayfair, for instance, sometimes has rooms with a best available price of upwards of 300GBP – or 35,000 points. You can’t assume from these figures, however, that you’re getting about 1p per point, since nobody in their right mind would spend 300GBP or more for a room at that hotel.

    No doubt if Sandgrounder (see above) didn’t have the SPG points, he/she would have gone for a different hotel, rather than spending 1200 pounds…

    • Head for Points says:

      Personally, for me, that is not true. I have paid cash for the Westin in Dublin in the past even though I used points this time. My Toronto booking referenced in the post is the airport hotel and its the only hotel in the airport so I would have booked it anyway. I probably wouldn’t have stayed at the Meridien in Hamburg, admittedly, but wherever we went instead would have been equally expensive as I was taking the family.

      I certainly wouldn’t pay £300 for the HI Mayfair however! In reality, though, if the HI Mayfair is £300 for a night then your alternatives are also going to be extortionately priced as well that day.

    • Actually, if you wouldn’t have paid cash, then it is the cash value of the second best points-spending opportunity.

      If I was faced with spending £300 for HI Mayfair with no points (and other properties similarly price), I wouldn’t stay in London that night.

      If I had 35000 points and didn’t want to spend £300, but wanted to stay in London – then I need to work out what I would have used those points for otherwise. Suppose it would have been 20K for a £100 room and 15K for a £75 room. I now have to pay cash to the value of £175 for that as I have used up my points. So effectively I have paid £175 for the Mayfair hotel and used my points for the other 2 nights. (And to be even more accurate, subtract value of credit card rewards and points earned on cash bookings from the cash price.)

  4. GadgetCakes says:

    What is the protocol to initiate this transfer? Is it from the SPG side to Avios, or from the BA.COM side?

  5. If you have a decent chunk of SPG points and have easy alternatives in increasing your Avios balance then I would say it is not worth it. The beauty of spg points is the flexibility to transfer it into some 30 odd FF programs. Personally I find spg and MR points too valuable to convert into Avios unless a stupendously generous conversion offer comes along. Prefer to use them for SQ, CX etc for truly aspirational F class redemptions.

  6. As usual they wait until just after I make a substantial transfer …..:(

  7. Doug Gerhardt says:

    Hi Raffles, what price index do you use on your spreadsheet when calculating your point value since hotels may have variations of Best Flexible rates? I assume it is the price at time of booking?

    • Usually Best Flex because that is what we almost always book when using cash …. two kids (with usual health wobbles of small kids) plus a busy working wife means that very little is fixed in our household.

      However, when valuing my Avios, I always use the non-refundable price as I clearly would not be booking refundable flights – it is cheaper to simply not travel and write off the money, over the cycle.

  8. Do SPG points expire?

  9. I was hoping for a 25% again, but i will pass on this.
    I keep SPG as Jolly for AA/Lufthansa but having a good balance, I am now starting to think of hotel redemptions in US as I found some nice options and my Avios balance is good.Flexibility is more important for me.

  10. I take it the bonus 10% will show on the BA side? My Starwood account only showed the 5000 bonus!

  11. Stuart Ross says:

    Booked a great deal at The Phoenician, an SPG Luxury Collection Resort, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Five nights in late April for 48,000 points against a £400 per night room. Works out better than 5p per point. Westin at Lake Las Vegas is also great for a cheap weekend night for 7,000 points.

  12. Can confirm this works for people that didn’t receive the email.

    I received the email, but I’ve only got around 1000 points in my account so below the minimum transfer.

    Wife did not receive the email, but transferred out her remaining 2515 points, and 2766 have moved across :)

    We would have been unlikely to use any of our remaining points so better than nothing! :) – though looks like I’ll be stuck with my last 1000 :(

    • “though looks like I’ll be stuck with my last 1000”

      Too late now but you could have transfered your SPG points to your wifes account prior to converting them. (The T&Cs state, Transfers are allowed between SPG members sharing the same address.)

      • Yes, indeed – one of the big advantages of the SPG scheme. Particularly useful when you and your other half are taking advantage of sign-up bonuses – you can pool your points for a very decent pot.

      • DOH! ah well :)

        at least I will know, if i need to know again! :)