Lessons in arbitrage – why 10,000 bonus Finnair miles from PointsHound are more valuable than you think

PointsHound is a hotel booking service which works in a similar way to Kaligo.com and Rocketmiles.  You earn a chunk of frequent flyer miles for booking with them but your stays will not earn you points or status benefits from the hotel where you stay.

PointsHound is currently offering 10,000 Finnair Plus miles for your first booking with them.  Full details can be found on their site here.  The deadline isn’t clear but the miles show during the booking process so you can be sure you will get them.

PointsHound has some low-cost hotels in its database so this is a bonus which you could trigger easily and cheaply.  Most people would dismiss it, however, because Finnair is irrelevant to them.

Here are some reasons why this offer is not necessarily a waste of time.  It also serves as an example of how you should keep an eye out for less obvious ways of using your points.

Finnair A350 350

Firstly, Finnair is a member of the oneworld alliance alongside British Airways.  Any reward flight you can book using Avios, except for Aer Lingus and Alaska, can be booked using Finnair points.

Are 10,000 Finnair Plus points worth the same as 10,000 Avios then?  Unfortunately not.  Finnair has a mean reward chart.  The cheapest economy flight on British Airways (say London to Amsterdam) would be 30,000 Finnair points return.  You cannot book a one-way and you also need to pay full taxes.

Let’s scrub that idea.

However, there are some other uses of Finnair Plus points which almost no-one knows about.

You can convert Finnair Plus points into IHG Rewards Club points.   The conversion rate is 2:1.  This means that the 10,000 miles you would get from PointsHound would convert into 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points.  This is a pretty good return for a cheap stay at a non-IHG hotel!

The problem is that there is a minimum transfer of 20,000 Finnair miles.  This means that this idea is also useless.  You could top up your Finnair account using Amex points but it would make more sense to send your Amex points to Virgin and transfer from there to IHG.

Finally, there is another possibility.

You can convert Finnair Plus points into Le Club AccorHotels points.

This is an odd deal.  Accor points can only be redeemed for Accor hotel credit towards future stays so you are effectively swapping your miles for ‘near cash’.

This deal does work, however.

10,500 Finnair points would get you 1,500 Le Club AccorHotels points.  That would get you €30 of Accor credit (although you need to redeem in chunks of 2,000 points) or 1,500 Avios if you converted into Iberia Plus (although you’d need to hope ‘the trick’ for converting small amounts of Avios is still working).

Your bonus is only worth 10,000 Finnair points so you’d need to book a hotel which had a minimum base earnings rate of 500 Finnair points.  This won’t be too difficult – you only need to spend £50.

So, to summarise:

Spend £50 on a hotel via this PointsHound offer and you will earn 10,500 Finnair points:

…. which you can convert into 1,500 Accor points ….

…. which you can convert into €30 of Accor credit once you hit 2,000 Accor points, or ….

…. convert immediately into 1,500 Avios via Iberia Plus as long as you can ‘force’ Accor to convert your points immediately.

I hope that is clear!

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Comments

  1. Someone pointed out that the cheaper Accor rates are not eligible to be paid by the points.

    • I’ve got a fairly hefty chunk of Accor points and although you can’t use them for Happy Mondays aside from that they’ve normally been usable on bookings I’ve wanted to make at the lowest rate. I’d still suggest valuing a little below 2000 = 40 euro.

      • Agreed, the only time I have not been able to use my points is on a Happy Mondays booking.

    • Perhaps you are limited to the UK and Europe destinations.

      The special for LeClub members are usually not available for redemption.

  2. Good luck converting under 2k Accor points. I’ve been trying since my wife’s 1100 points got rejected using the Iberia plus link and many others. All fails.

    If anyone has any luck please let me know!

    • Are you getting emails when you
      i) switch off existing conversion preference?
      ii) go through the IB link and switch on auto-conversion? (in different browser)

      • Tried it harry. I stupidly used my IB plus account to send the points to then they got sent back (1100). No I cant get it to work again using the links…

    • If you register for the frequent bonus offers, it really isn’t difficult to earn Accor points – and anybody who does weekend travel in the UK really ought to use the Happy Mondays deal at least occasionally. So the 2K limit is not an unsurmountable obstacle.

    • I hadn’t used my Accor account since the ‘free’ Avios in 2012, but my IB autoconvert is still working

  3. Cant use accor points for accor Mondays rates

  4. Enigma368 says:

    I’m all for arbitrage but booking a £50+ hotel via pointshound to get 10500 finnair miles, to then covert to Accor so that you can get a £21 rebate against some possible future accor stay seems like a lot of work for little gain!

    • Each to their own. Something I will look to utilise.

      • I was assuming you were booking hotels anyway! Definitely not worth a mattress run but if you need to book a random no brand or minor brand hotel …..

    • Doing it for the sake of it is not worth it. Doing it as you have to book a hotel anyway is obviously a different matter!

    • That works out at a 42% rebate. What’s not to like?

  5. Speaking of Accor, the Happy Mondays link (the one from october) seems to have died. You can’t enter a check-in or check-out date, so no bookings can be made. Checked it for two consecutive weeks, so doesn’t sound a one-off IT glitch on their side.

    • Andrew H says:

      You don’t use the link anymore. Go to the main page and enter ‘monday’ in the promo code box. The Happy Monday prices will appear in search results.

    • I booked this week using the link found on here and it was working just fine.

  6. I’ve been unable to “force” Accor to convert to iberia. Tried several things from the main thread on it and turning on/off the auto conversion but nothing’s happened to the accor points.

    Any help/suggestions would be appreciated!

    • Same situation for me, at some stage I’ll probably find a way of earning the additional points for a conversion. Either through a stay or e-rewards.

      • I knew I wasn’t the only one 😉
        If this PointsHound booking is used to get 1500 Accor points this would give us enough points to transfer over into iberia, so this is also an alternative.

    • All I can suggest is go to threads (more than 1) & re-try. Use different browsers. There are 3 different auto-conversion links so try all 3. Turn off, switch browser, turn on, wait 24 hrs as the auto-conversion isn’t instant etc.

      It IS fiddly, granted.

      You should get different emails when you turn off then turn on again.

  7. Some advice from the HfP glitterati would be helpful here.

    Have booked a weekend with the SO in Athens to celebrate her birthday in March flying BA – have drained my Avios account as a result of using to book quite a few RFS flights recently, so have booked one RFS in economy and paid for the other economy flight with cash and avios, booking on 2 separate reservations. Obviously the RFS has a luggage allowance so booked the other farehand luggage only. Is the best way to hopefully secure seats together to check in on the morning of the flight at T5?

    Secondly – have recently shelled out for IC Ambassador status as am staying in a few iC hotels this year, as I think the benefits as well as the BOGOF which I will use later this year are well worth it. Have booked a Deluxe King room for night one at the IC Athens. Am I right in thinking this should be upgraded to the next category of room up which would be a club room? I have booked the 2nd night using my one remaining free night from the Accelerate 2015 promo – it’s booked as a superior room on a separate reservation. Is my best bet to email the IC in Athens in advance if I want to try and avoid checking in twice and having to move? Obviously am aware that this is at the discretion of the hotel and not a right.

    Any advice appreciated.

    Thanks to Raffles for this wonderful resource – whatever happens it means a very nice cheap weekend in a city thats been on my bucket list for a long while.

    • IC Athens is nice, lounge and many rooms have great acropolis views. No guarantee of a Club upgrade but may happen – you could also be upgraded to a bigger non Club room (unless all rooms above yours have Club access). (I had Club access last time I was there and I doubt I paid for it.) Zero chance of being asked to check in again for the 2nd day so don’t worry about that, they will link the bookings at check in.

      • Thanks Raffles. Think the room I’ve booked for night one only has club rooms in a class above it so fingers crossed.

        • Have not stayed at IC Athens, but I know many ICs have rooms that are not bookable online…these are often used for upgrade. Often are rooms with better view.
          Since it is a Birthday celebration, if you really want the club room, it might be good to contact the hotel enquire about it, just to avoid any possible disappointment.

    • To reply to the point on seat allocation – as I’m sure you know, you can’t select seats (at all) without paying on Hand Baggage Only. However, if you use a check-in kiosk at T5 (and the handful of other locations where BA has them) you can log in to your booking and choose any seat. I’d suggest choosing the seat for the Avios redemption first (online?) and then when you get to the airport look to get the seat beside it.

      (Hat tip to Flyertalk for that particular info!)

      • We were able to select HBO seats T-24hrs @ Xmas – the answer is here:

        ‘The exception, which is of little use to business travellers, is that any member booking a hand baggage only fare when travelling with an infant can still select his own seating.’

        Luckily my daughter will still be 11 next Xmas. With any luck it will apply to all of us, at Xmas we were mixed RFS + HBO and we could all choose (I phoned up & linked our reservations, this might be important).

        • oh right, infant vs child lol

          seems more likely it’s just because we booked the flights before 26 March 2014

  8. Anyone know anything about transferring points between finnair accounts? ‘coz their website suggests this is possible. Not sure if it’s free though. Easy to get yer 20k pts if that’s the case

  9. Roger Wilco says:

    1/ You can book one-ways with AY+
    2/ It costs 20€ to transfer points between accounts, no matter the amount of poitns
    3/ 10k points is a European o/w upgrade

    PS – AY+ basis their system on km not miles.

  10. Hi guys, a quick question. If I book one night in my name and the 2nd night in my wife’s name (same hotel). Would we get 10000 finnair points each? Or will we have to change hotels to get the 20000 points? Many thanks, Duarte

  11. Accor related, does anyone know if they are running a bonus points promotion this quarter?

  12. While on the topic of converting Accor to Avios…
    Re the current “Triple Iberia+ Avios” promo, can anyone clarify this:

    Does the tripling-up only happen when points are converted to miles? So if I sign up for Iberia Plus miles, but do not auto-convert the points, I will only receive the standard points rate?
    And if I DO auto-convert, all my 16000+ pre-existing LCAH points will go to Iberia Avios at the same time – but will NOT be tripled. Have I understood that correctly?

    Thanks & Regards, Mark

    • You have to set up auto conversion first:
      Terms of Sales

      1. General Le Club AccorHotels terms and conditions apply to the “80 days around the world with Le Club AccorHotels” offer and you must be Le Club AccorHotels member to benefit from it.

      2. This offer is valid for a stay from 4th January to 23th March in one of the participating hotels worlwide, and booked between 4th January to 23th March.

      3. This offer entitles Le Club AccorHotels loyalty members, regardless of their status, to benefit from earning x3 points at every stay in one of the participating hotels worldwide, and the ability to participate to a lucky draw to win 80 000 miles, equivalent to 160 000 Le Club AccorHotels points. The lucky draw terms and conditions are available here : rules for the draw
      The number of bonus points for this offer is calculated according to the points earned by the member based on “Classic” status.

      4. In order to benefit from this offer, the member must have activated Iberia Plus as preferred conversion option ahead of the stay.

      5. The stay must be a minimum of one night.

      6. Any consecutive stays (check-out and check-in the same day) in the same hotel, will be considered as a single stay. This single stay will be eligible once to the “80 days around the world” offer.

      7. For the purpose of this offer, a stay is one (1) reservation made by a Le Club AccorHotels loyalty member for one or more rooms. For the avoidance of doubt, a reservation made for more than one room will therefore be considered as only one (1) stay.

      8. To benefit from this offer, your booking must be made on Accorhotels.com or our participating brands web sites or via AccoHotelsr call centers. All other reservation channels will not be eligible to this offer.

      9. You must provide your Le Club AccorHotels loyalty card number when making your reservation, and present your card at the reception desk of your hotel when you check-in for your stay.

      10. Le Club AccorHotels bonus points are credited to the member’s account within 10 days following the end of his/her stay and converted within 6 weeks into miles according to applicable conversion rule.

      11. This offer cannot be combined with other current promotional offers or advantages and does not apply to groups.

      12. This offer is subject to availability. General sales terms and conditions apply for reserved public rates specific to each hotel.

      13. The offer may be modified and interrupted in whole or in part at any time and without prior notice.

      14: This offer can be used only 8 times per member during its validity period.

    • Correct, as I understand it your existing balance gets sent across – so you may not want to do this.

      • Raffles – thanks for the clarification. If you are right I do not want to do this as I lose the (greater) benefit of Accor hotel stays, though triple Avios would have been nice! I thought about taking my existing poiints as Accor hotel vouchers – but they expire after only SIX months – ouch!

      • Is it OK to make a flexible booking with points for (say) London next New Year’s Eve, and cancel it when all the triple Avios have arrived? Seems OK, from what I can see on their website…

  13. The hotel I want earns 10,300 finnair points is there a cheap way of earning the short fall of 200 points ?

  14. Londonbus says:

    A totally unrelated questions… The Economist and Iberia? If you go to the Iberia Plus website the deal offering 12,000 Avios for a one year sub appears to be back until 29 Feb. If you then click through to the Economist page from that it says it expires 31 December 2015. Anyone know what the truth is?

  15. The prices for pointshound appear competitive but you find they add their own fees disguised as taxes on the headline rate with the advertised pointsonly being available with a more expensive rate.

    I found an Accor hotel I planned on booking in Brussels £6.19 more expensive that booking direct for 10,200 points, so I’d be 300 points short, meaning I’d have to book with them again to get above 10,500 (other earning methods don’t seem worth it), so a similar extra loss, factor the loss of Accor points for booking direct and for me it’s not worth it

    • Is there any guarantee that you will get the bonus points credited to your Finnair account?! Google pointshound+fraud and the anwser is clear.