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