Is it worth buying hotel points to transfer to Avios for the 35% bonus?

Until 5th July, British Airways is offering a 35% bonus if you transfer hotel points from seven major loyalty schemes into Avios – click for my article from yesterday.

Since most of the hotel programmes allow you to buy points – and some currently have special offers – I thought it would be interesting to see if any of the deals were so good that you were effectively buying cheap Avios points by buying hotel points.

Buy hotel points to convert to Avios

Test 1:  Starwood Preferred Guestlink to buy points

This is easily the best deal on the table.  Until July 1st, Starwood is offering a 30% discount when you buy 5,000+ SPG points.

Starwood points convert at 1:1 into airline miles.  When you convert 20,000 at once, you receive a bonus of 5,000 miles.  The extra 35% bonus from the British Airways promotion is on top of this.

Until 1st July, the maths looks like this:

Buy 20,000 Starwood points for $490 after discount (£334, plus any FX fees on your credit card)

20,000 Starwood points gets you 25,000 Avios

Additional 35% bonus gets you to 33,750 Avios

Cost per Avios point = 0.99p per point

This is substantially cheaper than buying points at the standard BA rate.

Note that your Starwood account must be 14 days old before you can buy points so this is not an option if you do not already have SPG membership.

Test 2: Club Carlsonlink to buy points

Club Carlson devalued its conversion rate to airline miles three years ago and was never going to be a contender here at the standard rate.

40,000 Club Carlson points will cost you $280. These would convert into 4,000 miles + 35% = 5,400 miles. Cost per Avios = 3.54p.

Verdict: Terrible

Test 3: Hilton HHonorslink to buy points

Given the pathetic conversion rate of Hilton points to Avios (10:1) this was never going to be a good deal!

10,000 Hilton points costs $100. Transfers into 1,000 Avios + 35% = 1,350 miles. Cost per Avios point = 5.06p

Verdict: Terrible

Test 4: Hyatt Gold Passportlink to buy points

10,000 Hyatt points costs $240.  This transfers into 4,000 Avios + 35% = 5,400 Avios points.  Cost per Avios points = 3.03p

Verdict: Awful

Test 5: IHG Rewards Clublink to buy points

IHG is currently offering a targetted bonus of 50% to 100% when you buy points.  This offer runs to 18th July.  I was offered 100%.

30,000 IHG Rewards Club points costs $345. This doubles to 60,000 points and transfers into 12,000 Avios + 35% = 16,200 Avios.  Cost per Avios = 1.45p

Verdict:  Cheaper than buying Avios directly from BA but more than I would be willing to pay and substantially more than going via Starwood

Test 6: Marriott Rewardslink to buy points

30,000 Marriott Rewards points costs $375.  This transfers into 10,000 Avios + 35% = 13,500 miles.  Cost per Avios = 1.89p

Verdict: Also no use, more expensive than buying directly from BA

Test 7: Shangri-La Golden Circle

You cannot buy Golden Circle points, as far as I can tell


The only hotel programme where you are likely to get some value from buying points and then transferring them to British Airways is Starwood.

1p per Avios point via this route will be attractive to many people.  I try to avoid paying more than 0.75p per point because I have a large balance and any I buy will not be redeemed for some time.  If you are currently working towards a redemption and are certain that you will get well over 1p of value when you redeem, this is worth a look.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

How to use your Starwood status to get perks on Virgin and Delta
Bits: confusing Hilton promo for Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, £25000 for unlimited La Compagnie
About Head for Points

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  1. I see SPG as the only programme where it might be worth doing.

    I asked this question yesterday but do we know for sure that the 35% bonus will be applied to the 5,000 bonus that comes with a 20,000 points transfer?

    • I have an SPG conversion in progress at the moment so I can hopefully let you know in a few days once it is processed.

    • Matthew says:

      SPG add the bonus 5,000 per 20,000 at time of redemption internally so 25,000 get sent off to BA who then apply their 35% bonus. The latter is nothing to do with SPG therefore SPG will continue to apply their own bonus. Always has worked this way for other airline bonuses.

  2. Hingeless says:

    when you buy SPG points they credit instantly which also makes this less risky.

  3. I bought 4x flights out & back for May/June half-term 2017 a few days ago when they popped up on T-355. They were immediately giving value of about 1.5p/ Avios vs cash fare and within days this had increased to 2p (as more people bought the flights on the obvious ‘must-travel’ days and dynamic pricing did its work).

    I detect a new emphasis from BA on firm pricing in peak periods (mainly school hols) and it pays to get in early with Avios redemptions. For this you need a stash of Avios sitting there waiting to be used. Buying 67K @ 1p is certainly a decent option if you are in a similar position to us on the T-355 front, where it pays to be an early mover. If you need a healthier Avios ‘bank balance’ the SPG route is simple & painless vs many alternative ways to accumulate.

    • John Tickner says:


      what is T-355 please ?

      • Date of depature minus 355 days which is when BA releases the initial guaranteed batch of Avios seats on each flight :) 4 economy and 2 business I think???

      • Redemption seats are released 355 days prior to travel.

        Some people get up in the middle of the night 355 out in order to book them as soon as they become available.

      • BA flights become available to purchase 355 days in advance. BA have committed to release 4 standard class & 2 business class Avios redemption flights on every plane. So if you want to redeem points for a flight on a popular route on a popular date, you need to get in early, indeed often within minutes or hours of the flights being released. Release time is midnight GMT, ie in British Summer Time it’s 1am.

        If you want (say) Australia or Bangkok wrapped around the school hols or in peak flying period, you need to be on the ball or you stand no chance. More prosaically, on my European route, the RFS flights at beginning & end dates of school hols do tend to get snapped up fairly early, certainly the case for the better flight times (there are 3-4 flights a day).

        • Lord Horse says:

          Presumably (he says, eyeing up summer 2017 redemptions) you would need to do out and return legs as separate bookings in order to book each as T-355?

          • Indeed. You need to get over the mindset of a worrier, ‘I might not get a flight back’. I certainly did worry about this at first – but don’t, it’s your advantage over the others.

            If you wait for both legs, somebody will grab your outward leg before you.

    • Was that to your ” place in the sun” Harry ?

      • heh heh

        I used to be quite a jet-setter but 3 kids have put paid to that, for the last 10 years the only place I have flown to is our place ‘au soleil’ – 4 or 5 times a year which I why I need to find the Avios. Good job I love it out there! Another 6 weeks coming right up.

        Only a few more years to go until I get my freedom back & can hit SE Asia/ Australasia again lol

        • Majorca ?

          • The location of Chez Harry is a closely guarded secret – perhaps he’s actually the Stig? 😛

            • I’m going to make a stab at this closely guarded secret!

              I reckon that “Chez Harry”, formerly “Squills Towers”, is in Italy, :) .

      • roberto says:


        Its nice here..

  4. 30% is a generous SPG bonus, I’m gutted as I bought some points only a few weeks ago :(

  5. James A says:

    The SPG deal is great even for other airlines. By buying 2 x 20,000 (you and your partner who lives with you) you can get 50,000 miles in any program, including the obscure or difficult to earn ones. A business redemption from Amsterdam to Singapore is 51,000 (plus a few hundred that I can’t remember off hand) with SQ Krisflyer for example. A Frankfurt to JFK ride on their A380 is less than that.

  6. I may just take this opportunity to transfer some Amex points from my wife’s account to SPG in order to get the bonus on 20k’s worth. Does anyone know if I can transfer her Amex points to my SPG account or would I need to create a separate account for her?

    • Are you 100% sure that’s a good idea? :)

    • Scallder says:

      Ash there are free SPG transfers between people living at the same address anyway so probably easier to set her up an account to transfer MR points in.

    • Be mindful that you only get 1 SPG point for every 2 MRs you transfer…

      • Ah I’d overlooked that. Probably have to re-think that idea. Thanks all.

        • Indeed, I think that was why Harry posted about being sure you wanted to do that 😉 1:1 MR direct to Avios still a better deal.

  7. When it says you can buy up to 30k spg points – does anybody know if allows only one purchase or can you make multiple purchases up to that limit?

  8. I think its covers multiple purchases

  9. O/T – I’ve a Lloyds companion voucher for economy that can only be used on BA – are there any BA flights that do not originate or end in the UK? I ask, as there may be an interesting option that I could make use of. Thanks.

  10. A bit off topic but about miles transfer….
    I have less than 20k Lufthansa miles, of which 1k expires at the end of the month

    I never redeemed these so dont even know what the best redemption options are.
    So, I have 2 questions
    1. easy way to stop these 1k miles from expiring (redeem for something or transfer them?)
    2. did raffles do an article on redeeming lufthansa miles? Whats the best use for them?

    Many thanks

    • 15k for an EU return booked 1-14 days in advance

      Transfer into Heathrow Rewards and get cash

      Book a Hilton via their Hilton portal

      Some tat from the Worldshop

  11. Andrew H says:

    More O/T stuff…

    I emailed Heathrow Rewards customer services to find out what was happening with ‘Heathrow Stories’ promo in which every entrant was guaranteed a prize, and they’ve just got back to me.

    “We would like to inform you that the competition is divided into six fortnightly promotion periods and every one of them will be concluded with a prize draw. ”

    First period was:

    Promotion Period 1
    Opening date and time: 09.00 on 31st May 2016
    Closing date and time: 23.59 on 13th June 2016
    Judging date: 14th June 2016

    I haven’t received notification of any prize. Anyone know what’s going on?

    • Just received an email today to let me know that I have ‘won’ a Heathrow 70th Birthday Notebook :-)

  12. Related news – Accor have closed my Le club account on the back of the 1100 points quiz and transfer to Iberia trick that was on hfp a few months back. Apparently because I tried to transfer points without a stay they closed the account but didn’t email me about this. I had to contact them after I saw a account blocked message after signing into Le club to see whether a paid stay had credited.

    • There was a lot of abuse of that quiz from Chinese chancers so Accor used a big stick & not a rapier, closing lots of new a/cs. You might be able to speak to somebody, get the a/c opened again & your points reinstated if you are pleasant about it.

      • In their email they told me that they can no longer reactivate my account. I’ve replied and if anything of note comes from it I’ll let everyone know.

        • Yep, but in your position – and no disrespect intended – I’d have handled it a bit differently, I don’t find that emails cut the mustard. I’d have phoned up personally, turned on the charm, explained about your missing points, thrown in a bit of schoolboy French and they would surely have seen you as a real person not some chancer, feel the love, French sister it’s Brexit vote tomorrow lol

          All you want is an account & your points, not your old a/c reinstated.

          The old charm & personal touch often get you further than you might imagine.

    • Matthew says:

      Same for me. Did they re open it? They are currently investigating my account for samw reason.

  13. StevieM says:

    Hi everyone, the example in the piece uses 20,000 Starwood Points. Is there anything to say I shouldn’t buy the maximum amount of 30,000? i.e. is the transfer to Avios only worth it if you transfer 20,000 Starwood Points?
    Otherwise I will go ahead and purchase 30,000 Points and convert the lot into Avios for the promo.

    • It’s just the best multiple if you want the Avios for 1p. You get 5000 bonus for 20K but it stays 5000 if you buy 30K – so the eventual cost per Avios will be a bit higher.

      • $735 = 35K Starpoints = £500
        =47250 Avios
        1.06p/ Avios
        Might as well go for it if you’re anticipating getting decent value from the Avios, ‘Him & hers’ etc a/cs would get you nearly 100K Avios after all.

    • the 5k bonus that kicks in at 20k becomes less valuable at anything above 20k and therefore you’ll be paying more than 1.01p per avios, and it’ll be worse at 30k spg than 25k spg

      • Genghis says:

        However, there are free transfers to other SPG account holders at the same address.
        You buy 30k SPG points and your partner buys 30k SPG points.
        Your partner then transfers 10k SPG points to you so you end up with 40k and your partner 20k.
        You then do two transfers each of 20k SPG points to get 2 x 33,750 avios = 67,500 avios
        Your partner then does a transfer of 20k SPG points to get 33,750 avios
        Total avios = 101,250.
        Also works if your partner buys 10k SPG points to get a resulting 2 batches.

        • yep that’s a bit smarter – is there any reasons your kids etc can’t have SPG a/cs? If age bars them, perhaps your bro & sis live with you. If you needed (say) 200K Avios @ 1p, this would be a way I guess.

        • I set up a transfer to my wife’s account today and received a message informing me that it can take up to 5 WORKING DAYS. Given the time limits on these offers I’d recommend that anybody thinking about doing the same thing should be getting on with it.

          • The bonus is based on when the leave your account so you’re fine.

            SPG is terrible, the last Lufty transfer I did took 28 days.

    • StevieM says:

      Cheers Ed and Harry! 20k it is then! Have a GREAT Summer :-)

  14. O/T- I understand that tomorrow is the last day to cancel Curve card for the £50 refund for black card. Has anyone received any update on Curve being able to sort out their issues with Amex? I’ve been holding off cancelling hoping for a reversal of Amex decision. Anybody with an update most appreciated.

    • No news, sorry

      • What advice would you give re Curve card. I ordered the Black one with the wallet for £75. Its really only that useful if they have the Amex deal back on board and with no news, I ‘m left with two choices: a) apply for the £50 refund tomorrow being the last day to do this or b) get the £50 reward credit for meeting the £1000 spend (which I’ve nearly done anyway). I feel it comes down to whether they will survive firstly and secondly whether they will ever launch the rewards scheme.
        Raffles, Will you be running an article on this tomorrow with your thoughts on the best way forward.

        • I don’t see how they can last long at all, its not a mainstream product (Targeted at businesses) and now has no key features apart from their less than worth it foregin fee transactions which are questionable to whether you would get extra charges or not.

          Their biggest mistake for their business is how they dealt with the Amex issues and I think this will see their demise. They have lost most of their ideal customers due to their idea of offering a refund and cancelling the cards.

          For customers who had the card, the costs have already been incurred by Curve and the cards would have been activated ready for use, instead of offering a refund and cancelling the cards they should have refunded the cards and kept the cards active so there is at least some possibility of the customers making them some money in the future, for example a lower value incentive on their next spend of xxxx. Now they have lost their ideal customers and have to take a loss on the production of the card and their old customers have a non functioning card.

          Can’t wait for supercard!

          • Mr Dee, it seems like a pretty simple business retention idea that you have considered but maybe they didn’t. I completely agree that they had nothing to lose by just giving refunds but keeping the customer active in the system. Amazes me that they didn’t think of this – what could be the logic that they were thinking?

            • The signup fee must have really just been to cover the costs of the card, setup and admin work which would already have been accounted for so they should have tried to encourage people to at least continue using the card.

              I think their logic is they were only thinking of the short term and not considering that they now had a large customer base with active cards which they were about to give up.

              I can’t see how they are going to make any money from here on out now they have lost the majority of their customers, I think they will be just burning through their investment money now until there is nothing left.

              The business card rate was never meant to be used in the way they are doing it so its only as matter of time before that avenue closes.

            • It would only have been a contribution to those costs.

              Nice idea that fails when its best selling point (use Amex in non-Amex buying opportunities) fails due to Amex pulling out.

              Disappointing in that Amex would have been happy as a partner if the whole thing had been smooth. But now they’re understandably very unhappy to remain as partner.

              Beta beta should have gone on longer & ironed out the problems in execution.

              Rushing/ greed the main issue that led to project failing.

            • The logic is this. You guess what % will cancel. If you think 90% then I agree, refund everyone and keep the cards out there.

              However, perhaps they assume 35%? On that basis, refunding everyone looks expensive. Best to refund 1/3rd of people on request and lose them whilst keeping the other 2/3rd and making them start using the card to get their £35 credit.

              And, lets be honest, if you did want to keep the card just in case, it wouldn’t be hard to spend the £1000 needed to get the £35 credit.

              If they come out with a loyalty scheme which pays, say, 0.33% of spend as rewards then everyone will pile back in anyway.

        • No, because I don’t know anymore than you do! I am also in New York this week and trying to avoid writig anything at all ….

    • Go for the refund as you will unlikely get another £50’s worth of use out of the card, the only benefit for the black card was double loyalty points which sounded good when you could spend on an Amex but when its just visa and mastercard its hardly worth the effort seeing as Curve has so many issues surrounding transactions and their card being flagged by card security. Worst case is you can reapply in the future if Amex was to come back (1 in 500 odds IMO)

      Regarding their offer for a one off loyalty bonus, I found it almost impossible to use the card between
      -Curve blocking transactions
      -End User credit card blocking Curve
      -Curve charging the end user card when its just a preauthorisation (Imagine a deposit something) and not refunding it for 10 days, not good if you have a limited credit limit or if it was a large transaction. This is in addition to the actual charge after the preauthorisation so you could be charged £1000 for a preauthorisation and if your bill was £800 this would also be charged for.

      Here are a few reasons why I just had enough in the end:
      -No loyalty scheme (Its already summer)
      -Changing their rules like they don’t care about the customer
      -Customer service are ignorant and completely ignored my questions about the preauthorisation issue
      -To much hassle to use Curve over using the cards directly
      -Credit Limit

      • thanks Mr Dee for a quick helpful reply and the advice which I will take and apply for a refund and reconsider if Amex ever comes back. How do you apply for the refund?

        • You need to use the link in one of the emails that they sent to you, then its just a few simple clicks, its about the best thing Curve ever did :)

      • Genghis says:

        I agree Mr Dee. I cancelled mine a while back.

  15. Andrew H says:

    Heathrow Stories update. Further to my comment above, I’ve just had an email telling me I’ve won a ‘HEATHROW 70TH BIRTHDAY NOTEBOOK’ to follow in the post shortly!

  16. Probably worth noting that this has become a better deal (for the time being…) with the pound going up a few % against dollar over the past few days – price per avios thru spg now under 1p.

  17. OT/HHonors Free night related!:

    Regarding the Barclays Visa Free Night certificate, does the stay itself have to occur within 6 months, or can I just book within 6 months (and can have a stay a little further out)?

    And as an anticipated follow-up, assuming the answer is the former: has anyone had any experience of negotiating allowing use of hte ticket a small amount outside the exp date? Need it for a booking literally ten days from the exp date!! :S (stated exp 7th Sept, need the booking 17th Sept). Kicking myself :,(

    • Rules state stay within the six months, bit of a risk that otherwise of you stay after the expiry date the booking will no longer have a valid coupon attached and thus you’d be liable for the cost of the stay. I’ve only used them (4 in total) within the validity date although I think I remember reading on here about one or two folk that had just booked within the validity period.

      • Great, thanks for the info. Guess it can’t hurt to just call and request… given it’s so close – although it’s completely within their right (and rules) for them to put their foot down.

        Hopefully HHonors plat status may help sway them/be nice but – especially among members of this site – it’s not always a particularly exclusive club!

        • Agree, if they let you book it then you should be OK..

          BTW it’s Diamond, not Platinum 😉