(EDIT: there was a mistake in my Starwood calculation which is now fixed, apologies.)
Until 8th March, British Airways is offering a 35% bonus if you transfer hotel points from seven major loyalty schemes into Avios – click for my article on that deal.
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.
Here are the deals currently running:
Ends TODAY – 100% bonus when you buy IHG points via this link (open to all)
Ends TODAY – 80% bonus when you buy Hilton Honors points via this link (open to all)
Ends TODAY – 40% bonus when you buy Hyatt Gold Passport points via this link (widely targetted)
There is no bonus on buying Starwood points at present. Ironically, it is still the best deal on this page!
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 8th March, the maths looks like this:
Buy 20,000 Starwood points for $700 (£564, plus any FX fees on your credit card)
20,000 Starwood points gets you 25,000 Avios
The 35% bonus takes that up to 33,750 Avios
Cost per Avios point = 1.67p per point
This is still more expensive than buying points at the standard BA rate of 1.6p,
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.
Remember that you can now transfer Marriott Rewards points into Starwood Preferred Guest at the rate of 3:1.
Club Carlson devalued its conversion rate to airline miles four years ago and was never going to be a contender here at the standard rate.
40,000 Club Carlson points will cost you $280 (£223). These would convert into 4,000 miles + 35% = 5,400 miles. Cost per Avios = 4.13p.
Given the pathetic conversion rate of Hilton points to Avios (10:1) this was never going to be a good deal even with the 80% bonus which ends today.
10,000 Hilton points costs $100 (£80). Transfers into 1,000 Avios + 35% = 1,350 miles. Cost per Avios point = 5.93p
10,000 Hyatt points costs $240 (£192). If you are targetted for the current 40% bonus which ends today, this means you would receive 14,000 points for the same money.
This transfers into 4,000 Avios + 35% = 7,560 Avios points. Cost per Avios points = 2.53p
IHG is currently offering a bonus of 100% when you buy points. This offer ends today.
30,000 IHG Rewards Club points costs $345 (£276). This doubles to 60,000 points and transfers into 12,000 Avios + 35% = 16,200 Avios. Cost per Avios = 1.70p
Verdict: Still more than you would pay buying the Avios directly from BA
30,000 Marriott Rewards points costs $375 (£300). This transfers into 10,000 Avios + 35% = 13,500 miles. Cost per Avios = 2.22p
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
None of these options offer any real value for buying points purely for the purposes of transferring them to BA.
If you are looking for a cheap top up, the best option at the moment is the Groupon / Iberia offer.