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10% bonus on Starwood transfers to Avios points – is it worth it?

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Every nine months or so, British Airways runs a co-ordinated promotion among all of the major hotel chains, offering a bonus of 25% for converting your points to Avios.

The last UK outing for this deal was in June.  Surprisingly, though, Starwood Preferred Guest – the loyalty scheme for Sheraton, Westin, W, St Regis etc – was not included this time.

Whatever the reason, British Airways and Starwood are making up for it by running a dedicated Starwood transfer bonus.

Starwood Avios bonus

You will receive a 10% bonus when you transfer your Starwood Preferred Guest points to Avios before 30th September.  This is the date by which you must initiate the transfer – it does not matter how long the points take to reach British Airways.

The standard transfer rate from SPG to Avios is 1:1.  In addition, when you transfer 20,000 SPG points in one go, you will receive an additional 5,000 miles.

With this promotion, a transfer of 10,000 SPG points will get you 11,000 Avios.  A transfer of 20,000 SPG points will get you 27,500 Avios.

Is this worth it?

‘It depends’ is the boring answer.  It certainly isn’t a terrible deal but you would still be marginally better off redeeming the points for hotel stays if you chose wisely.

Starwood is unique among the hotel schemes in making luxury redemptions very poor value.  Their top properties are 30,000 SPG points per night – not very tempting when the alternative would be to convert to 35,000 Avios points (38,500 under this promotion)!

The sweet spot is generally in the ‘high end but not super-luxe’ market.  Being a bit sad I have a spreadsheet of recent redemptions.  I apparently got 1.6p per point for a recent redemption in Hamburg (Le Meridien at 10,000 points per night), 1.7p for my stay at the Westin Dublin this Summer (12,000 points) and 1.7p for a night booked in Toronto for next year.

Let’s assume you can easily get 1.7p of value per SPG point from a hotel stay.

Let’s also assume that you value an Avios point at 1p.  If you converted 20,000 SPG points, you would receive 25,000 Avios plus a 2,500 Avios bonus, for a total of 27,500.  That means you are effectively getting 1.38p of value per SPG point by converting to Avios.

You will therefore be a little worse off by converting to Avios.  However, if you don’t actually have a plan to use your SPG points for a stay – or don’t have enough to redeem for a free night – this is as a good an opportunity as you are likely to get for the foreseeable future to convert.

Remember that Gold members must convert at least 1,500 points.  Base level members must convert at least 2,500 points.

Eligibility

It seems that only a subset of British Airways Executive Club members were emailed about this offer.  The terms and conditions do NOT say that it is restricted, although the details are not (yet?) on ba.com.  I feel safe saying that anyone who converts will get the bonus.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (31)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Brian says:

    You say – ‘if you don’t actually have a plan to use your SPG points for a stay – or don’t have enough to redeem for a free night – this is as a good an opportunity as you are likely to get for the foreseeable future to convert’ – but then if you don’t have enough for a free night, you won’t have enough to get the 5,000 bonus (for transferring 20,000), in which case the maths changes…

    • Head for Points says:

      I was assuming that, if you only had 3000 SPG points, you would treat them as essentially worthless so you might as well take the bonus.

      • Euflyer Tom says:

        Don’t forget 3000 starpoints gets you a weekend night at a Category 2 hotel – I’ve used up small amounts on the Sheraton Catania, for example, which is a bargain at 3k a night (worth much more, I’d argue, than 3300 Avios)

        • Idrive says:

          Is there a pool in there? I thought about going there a couple of times,would be very helpful for me!

          • Euflyer Tom says:

            There certainly is. For 3000 starpoints at weekends (otherwise 4000), it’s great value.

  • sandgrounder says:

    Don’t forget fifth night free on cat 3-7 redemptions. I’ve got a 40k 5 night stay booked in New York next year I can’t find anywhere for less than £1200.

  • Brian says:

    As ever with hotel redemptions, when working out the real value of your points, you need to bear in mind whether you would have booked that particular hotel for cash if you didn’t have the points. The Holiday Inn Mayfair, for instance, sometimes has rooms with a best available price of upwards of 300GBP – or 35,000 points. You can’t assume from these figures, however, that you’re getting about 1p per point, since nobody in their right mind would spend 300GBP or more for a room at that hotel.

    No doubt if Sandgrounder (see above) didn’t have the SPG points, he/she would have gone for a different hotel, rather than spending 1200 pounds…

    • Head for Points says:

      Personally, for me, that is not true. I have paid cash for the Westin in Dublin in the past even though I used points this time. My Toronto booking referenced in the post is the airport hotel and its the only hotel in the airport so I would have booked it anyway. I probably wouldn’t have stayed at the Meridien in Hamburg, admittedly, but wherever we went instead would have been equally expensive as I was taking the family.

      I certainly wouldn’t pay £300 for the HI Mayfair however! In reality, though, if the HI Mayfair is £300 for a night then your alternatives are also going to be extortionately priced as well that day.

    • JQ says:

      Actually, if you wouldn’t have paid cash, then it is the cash value of the second best points-spending opportunity.

      If I was faced with spending £300 for HI Mayfair with no points (and other properties similarly price), I wouldn’t stay in London that night.

      If I had 35000 points and didn’t want to spend £300, but wanted to stay in London – then I need to work out what I would have used those points for otherwise. Suppose it would have been 20K for a £100 room and 15K for a £75 room. I now have to pay cash to the value of £175 for that as I have used up my points. So effectively I have paid £175 for the Mayfair hotel and used my points for the other 2 nights. (And to be even more accurate, subtract value of credit card rewards and points earned on cash bookings from the cash price.)

  • GadgetCakes says:

    What is the protocol to initiate this transfer? Is it from the SPG side to Avios, or from the BA.COM side?

    • Rob says:

      Off spg.com

      • avidsaver says:

        Where are the details of this offer shown? I’ve looked in my BA and SPG accounts but can’ t seem to find it – or am I being stupid? Many thanks.

  • Dev says:

    If you have a decent chunk of SPG points and have easy alternatives in increasing your Avios balance then I would say it is not worth it. The beauty of spg points is the flexibility to transfer it into some 30 odd FF programs. Personally I find spg and MR points too valuable to convert into Avios unless a stupendously generous conversion offer comes along. Prefer to use them for SQ, CX etc for truly aspirational F class redemptions.

  • uk1 says:

    As usual they wait until just after I make a substantial transfer …..:(

  • Doug Gerhardt says:

    Hi Raffles, what price index do you use on your spreadsheet when calculating your point value since hotels may have variations of Best Flexible rates? I assume it is the price at time of booking?

    • Rob says:

      Usually Best Flex because that is what we almost always book when using cash …. two kids (with usual health wobbles of small kids) plus a busy working wife means that very little is fixed in our household.

      However, when valuing my Avios, I always use the non-refundable price as I clearly would not be booking refundable flights – it is cheaper to simply not travel and write off the money, over the cycle.

      • Rob says:

        But in these cases I would have lost my SPG Gold benefits, mainly free internet, so it would net off.

  • oyster says:

    Do SPG points expire?

    • Rob says:

      Yes. I think it is a year with no account activity? However, they will reinstate them next time you stay if you ring and ask (at least, they did for me once).

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