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.

(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.)

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Comments

  1. Just checking. I know from the comments that it is possible to upgrade a Marriott package after booking a basic one and you cana stay when you don’t have enough points yet but is it possible to book a Marriott package to take advantage of this offer when I don’t have enough Marriott points yet. I have 215000 Marriott points and can reach 270k with Amex points but if I can avoid doing so and losing the 50% I will.

    • I rang the helpline today and it seems you need the full points in your account to book the basic package.