Get a 35% bonus on hotel transfers to Avios – but is it 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.

As with the last two versions of this offer, which runs every 7-9 months, 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 31st October.  31st October 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
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • World of Hyatt

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

Starwood Preferred Guest is not included but you can transfer your points to Marriott Rewards at 1:3 and move them from there.  I look at this later.

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% 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, which I am assuming is worth £250 a night.  The Avios conversion does not include the 35 per cent bonus.

Club Carlson – 70,000 points = 7,000 Avios or a £250 room

Hilton Honors – 80,000 to 90,000 points = 8,000 to 9,000 Avios or a £250 room

IHG Rewards Club – 50,000 to 60,000 points = 10,000 to 12,000 Avios or a £250 room

Marriott Rewards – 45,000 points = 12,000 Avios or a £250 room

Shangri-La Golden Circle – 9,500 points (Shard, Paris, Maldives cost double) = 9,500 Avios or a £250 room

World of Hyatt – 25,000 to 30,000 points = 10,000 Avios to 12,500 Avios or a £250 room

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.

Be careful with Starwood v Marriott

You CAN use your Starwood points with this offer if you send them to Marriott Rewards first.  You can now convert SPG points to Marriott at 1:3, or vice versa.

Remember that – 365 days per year – Starwood gives you a 25% bonus when you transfer 20,000 points into Avios.  20,000 SPG points become 25,000 Avios.  Because the Marriott to Avios transfer ratio changes depending on how many you convert, you need to do the maths for your own position to see what works best.  You might still be better leaving them with Starwood and converting from their at your leisure.

Note that if you redeem for one of the very 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 FREE with the new pooling feature 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?

This offer runs until 31st October so you have plenty of time to decide.

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Comments

  1. Good to see this back. I’ve got enough Marriott points for another Travel Package, however I’ve had a 7 night Travel Package certificate on my account since March that I haven’t used yet. The idea of 162k avios plus 7 nights seems great in theory but in practice 7 nights is a long time!

    It seems better value to use Marriott points for 5 night stays getting the 5th night free. If only Marriott would let everyone take out the 5 night Travel Packages!

    • There are 5 night Travel Packages? Please explain.

      • The 5 night Travel Packages are only available to Marriott Vacation Club owners. When I took out my last package I tried to take out a 5 night package and called a number of times hoping to get through to an agent who would let me book one, but every time it was the same answer.. only available to Marriott Vacation Club owners.

        • Thanks.
          Seven nights to be used as required would be good, but it depends whether you value the airline points higher than Marriott which I do not personally.

    • Felix Flyer says:

      I am in a similar position but I understand that you can generally call to extend for another year to give you more time to use. Upgrading a category by using 30000 more points is another way.

  2. I have managed to accrue a couple of very small balances of hotel points with IHG (562) and Accor (600) and given the minimum transfer to Avios points is well above this are there any suggestions on how to use up very small hotel points balances?

    • the real harry1 says:

      the Accor trick is still working, ie auto-convert even small numbers (under 2000) Accor points to IB

      search HFP for several threads on this – it is a bit fiddly but worth the effort

      • Thanks for the tip, a quick search and 5 mins later all set up!

        • the real harry1 says:

          you’re welcome – would you kindly confirm once the transfer to IB goes through, I think the last time somebody confirmed was about 4-5 months ago so always good to know it’s still operative – thx

  3. guesswho2000 says:

    Am I right in assuming you can only convert Marriott points to miles in the combos listed on their website?

    For eg, 40,000 SPG to 120,000 Marriott to Avios would only be possible by spending 70k, 30k & 20k, to get 25k, 10k & 5k Avios, with 35% extra taking it to 54,000 total, vs 50k going SPG-BAEC directly?

    Shame SPG isn’t directly included like last time. I’m more inclined to hold off this time, I was planning to use Starpoints to top up my Alaska Mileage Plan account, so not sure 4k Avios swings it for me.

    • It sounds as if you are a regular Alaskan traveller.
      We have got two service credits for $150 each. Is it possible for someone else to use them as e shall not be going to Pacific North West again due to age?

      • Mark2, I’m not sure if you are asking if they are transferable to someone else or if one of the hfp readers will be booking on Alaska soon and could have a use for them?

      • guesswho2000 says:

        No idea I’m afraid – I don’t actually have the option to fly AS at all, as I live in Australia, but Mileage Plan is great for crediting FJ flights (better rate than QFF) and for redemptions between Australia and USA/Asia.

    • Yes, has to be in the chunks listed.

  4. OT – anyone know if Amex insurance covers volcanoes?

    Due to fly to Bali next week via 3 nights in Dubai and it looks like a volcano there might erupt!

    Also have cover with the coop via their bank account, but i would imagine Amex would be better.

    • My boss went to that volcano a few months ago, he was told it hadn’t erupted for 50 years so joked with his guide “it is probably due another eruption soon”.

      Re the insurance, I’m not covered with Amex anymore as I get cover from my work, but the advice has to be check your own policy very thoroughly.

  5. Just to check, the BA hotel points page lists Starwood at the bottom of the hotel to avios conversion page but does not mention SPG in the list of hotel chains now with bonus points for a transfer, could BA have just assumed that Marriott is part of SPG or is it a definite no-no for a bonus.

    • This offer usually does not include Starwood – we were a bit surprised when they did put it in last time.

      • You can freely move points between Marriott and SPG now – takes about 2 mins to link accounts. As SPG lets you move points between members at the same address for free, you can effectively pool points from household members in one Marriott or SPG account without paying for transfers.

        There’s a minimum of 1,000 Starpoints for transfers, I am not sure what the Marriott rewards minimum is and 1 Starpoint = 3 RewardsPoint. This would avoid the $10 charge Rob mentions above, for sure. If you have medium sized balances in Marriott and Starwood programs might be better to combine them and use for hotels than transfer to Avois?

  6. Can anyone advise whether Virgin isblikely to run a similar conversion bonus from hotel points?

  7. Just booked a Marriott travel package for the first time, and wanted to say how easy the whole process was. From moving 90,000 points from SPG to Marriott then calling the UK customer support line to getting it all sorted out took all of about 5 minutes. The agent was brilliant, knew exactly what I was after, explained the whole thing, and by the time the call was finished the certificate was on my account. Email confirmation a few minutes later, and the 120,000 Avios (162,000 with the bonus) should hit my account in about 3 days apparently. Very impressed with the customer service and an excellent first impression of Marriott.

    • The points credit in 3 days even though you haven’t gone? That’s really interesting as I dismissed Reward package 2 because I didn’t think the points would credit till after I’d flown back and no longer needed them. Thanks for sharing Jon.

  8. I have enough points for a holiday package for a category 1-5 hotel. If I get that while this offer is on can I later choose to book a higher category hotel and pay the extra marriott points on top of the certificate I have? Or am I better off continuing to save points for the category I want and possibly risk the bonus avios offer not being repeated? Thanks for you thoughts.

    • Yes you can top up when you book. You should only ever take out a cat 1-5 travel package then use the extra points at time of booking the hotel if going for a higher cat hotel.

      So for instance if you wanted to book a cat 6 hotel you should just need to use 30,000 points in conjunction with your travel package certificate.

      • Thanks for the Information. Looks like I’m getting that holiday package! Am I right thinking that the hotel certificate will last for 12 months?

        • Yes it lasts 12 months.
          I also believe that if you upgrade it, it will last for a further 12 months from the date of upgrade but I haven’t done this myself yet so am not 100% sure.

          • Yep – they told me on the phone earlier, no problem to extend for another 12 months (with or without upgrade, presumably – they didn’t say anything about that). NB unlike, say, the Lloyds Avios voucher, for these ones, the stay must be completed within the validity period, not just booked.

  9. There is also a 20% SPG conversion bonus to American Airlines miles until October 15th if anyone is collecting those. This seems to be in addition to the normal 5K bonus miles for each 20K points converted. I got an e-mail from AA but it is also on their (AA’s) UK web-site under more specials / hotel specials.

  10. O/T – I’m planning to drag various friends and family members out of the country next October for a big birthday (I will be celebrating turning 21 for the 20th time :-/ ), and was thinking that hiring a Riad, or holiday home somewhere in Morocco for our sole use might be fun. What do you think our best bet would be for either getting cash back (to reduce the price) or accruing free nights, points or miles? Obviously we want to find a beautiful place to stay that isn’t too overpriced! Also, where do people recommend, now that Marrakesh is somewhat overrun?

    Advice greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  11. I think I can see 270k Marriotts going from my account come end of Oct.

  12. OT: I have received my council tax card. What’s the maximum I can overpay? I have to hit an Amex spend in 2 weeks and it’s unlikely I will unless I put a large amount onto this card. Do I do it in batches? Thanks.

  13. Does anyone know if Alaska ever runs a similar promotion? I’m hoping to do a Marriott to Alaska travel package and a bonus would be amazing. What about AA? thx

    • AA did earlier in the year. Not sure about Alaska.

    • I’ve done a Google search for a similar thing to Alaska and can’t find anything. Having said that I still sent miles across to Alaska at the start of the week as current plan for Asia to the US one way is 50k in biz on Cathay with a stopover allowed in Hong Kong, so much cheaper than Avios even with the bonus!

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