Is a 35% bonus on hotel point transfers to Avios a good deal?

It was due a return and now it is back.  I’m talking about the ‘bonus when you transfer your hotel loyalty points to British Airways Avios‘ promotion.

The ba.com page for the offer can be found here.

The bonus is usually 25%.  This time, as they did in Summer 2016, when you transfer hotel loyalty points to British Airways, you get a 35% bonus.

Avios hotel bonus

There are a few simple rules you must follow:

Rule 1: You must convert your hotel points to Avios (at ba.com, not avios.com) before 8th March.  8th March 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 Honors
  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Starwood Preferred Guest

Le Club AccorHotels is NOT included but that is normally the case.

Rule 3: There are minimum transfer requirements in theory, but these are the same as the lowest possible transfer out of that programme.  Nothing has changed compared to the normal transfer rules.

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?

I am normally a bit sceptical about this offer when it runs at 25%.  In general, a 25 per cent bonus is not enough – for any promotion – to make a bad deal a great deal.  At 35% we should look more closely.

In general, hotel points are best redeemed for hotel stays. Let’s look at the points needed for a high category room redemption, worth £250 a night.  The Avios conversion does not include the 35 per cent bonus.

Club Carlson – 70,000 points = 7,000 Avios

Hilton Honors – 80,000 to 90,000 points = 8,000 to 9,000 Avios

Hyatt Gold Passport – 25,000 to 30,000 points = 10,000 Avios to 12,500 Avios

IHG Rewards Club – 50,000 to 60,000 points = 10,000 to 12,000 Avios

Marriott Rewards – 45,000 points = 12,000 Avios

Shangri-La Golden Circle – 9,500 points (Shard, Paris, Maldives cost double) = 9,500 Avios

Starwood Preferred Guest – 25,000 to 30,000 points = 30,000 to 35,000 Avios

Looking at these numbers, you are probably better leaving large stashes of hotel points where they are.

With the Hyatt, Marriott and IHG examples, you are trading a £250 hotel room for (12,000 * 1.35) 16,200 Avios points.  That still isn’t a great deal.

The only exception is Starwood Preferred Guest.  Starwood has always been uncompetitive for high end redemptions versus airline miles and even without a transfer bonus miles look a decent option!   I think you get a better deal from 47,250 Avios than one 30,000 SPG points night in a top Starwood hotel.  Personally, though, I prefer to use my SPG points for items such as concert tickets via SPG Moments.

Be careful with Starwood v Marriott

If you are thinking of converting Starwood or Marriott points, you need to do some jiggly maths first.  You can now convert SPG points to Marriott at 1:3, or vice versa.  It may be a better deal to move your miles from one programme to the other first, as each has different Avios transfer arrangements.  There is no right answer here as it depends entirely on how many points you have in each scheme.

Note that if you redeem for one of the ludicrously good value Marriott Travel Package rewards, you will get a 35% bonus on the Avios element of the package!

For a small amount of points it is a different game

A couple of years ago I tidied up some of my small hotel balances by converting to Avios, often topping up first from American Express Membership Rewards, and didn’t regret it. If you will never earn enough for a free room, you might as well convert and a 35 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 35 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.

Here is my final thought:

You can transfer IHG Rewards Club points to someone else for $5 per 1000, Hilton points for $25 per 10,000 (and this will be FREE from later in the Spring) and SPG and Carlson points for free if you share an address.  Hyatt points can be pooled if you ring and redeem them immediately.  Marriott transfers are reportedly now free although the website still quotes $10.

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?

PS.  Tomorrow I will look at whether, given some of the current promotions on buying hotel points, there is an arbitrage available.  Can you buy hotel points with a big bonus and then transfer them on to Avios for another bonus?

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

My review of The Westin Palace hotel, Madrid
LAST CHANCE: Apply for the BA Amex cards before the sign-up bonus drops
About Head for Points

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Comments

  1. O/T I have 20k VFC miles and I would only use these miles to upgrade a flight. I don’t really fly with virgin so was wondering whether it’s best to transfer the 20k miles to Hilton or IHG.

    • IHG is arguably marginally better but the two are the same value to all intents and purposes. However, the IHG transfer will count towards status.

      • Thanks Rob. I’ve been looking at the hotels on IHG but seeing as Hilton will be implementing the new cash + points system, I may actually wait and see what that’s like first before making my decision.

  2. OT, but good to know:
    Speaking to SPG agent re my account, it appears that SPG points expiry is NOT extended by booking and cancelling a reward night. You can however call and get an ‘extension’ on your expiry made to your account (i got an extra 12 months from now) – not clear if this is a one off or unrestricted.

  3. Avis is giving 5000 Avios extra for 3 days rental.
    http://www.avisba.com/promotion

  4. Eli Gold says:

    Starwood seem to have an offer of 5000 bonus points for every 20k points transferred to an airline partner. that in addition to 35% bonus seems like a deal.
    I was thinking of converting AMEX points to SPG and then convert them to BA but it’s only 2:1 for AMEX rewards to Starpoints, so it doesn’t make much sense does it/

  5. I spoke to Marriott and they advised me that you don’t need to add extra points unless you want to upgrade to extend the certificate for an extra 12 months, they will just extend free if I call and ask. This is great as I have all my holidays booked till next Feb and need an extention in my mind already.