Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: buy half price SPG points – and use for a Marriott travel package, two Hilton sales now on

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News in brief:

Last day to buy Starwood points at a possible 50% discount

Starwood is offering a very good, but targetted, deal which ends TODAY – a 50% discount when you buy 5,000+ Starwood Preferred Guest points.

You need to log in here to see what discount is offered to you.  I got the full 50% off.  I have never, ever seen Starwood points sold this cheaply.

At the top end, you will be paying $525 (£425) for 30,000 points under this deal.

I value SPG points at 1.5p each when used for hotel redemptions.  You are paying 1.4p here so there is not a major arbitrage.  That said, because Starwood has ‘last room availability’ (if there is a room for cash, you can have it for points) you can easily exceed 1.5p per point on a peak day.

However, there is value to had when you convert these points into airline miles.

Starwood points convert into 30 airline schemes (list here), including Avios, at 1:1.  If you convert in chunks of 20,000 points, you get a 5,000 point bonus.  Many Starwood partners, such as Lufthansa Miles & More, often make it hard to pick up miles cheaply via any other route.

Even better, you can now convert Starwood points at 1:3 into Marriott Rewards and redeem for a Marriott Travel Package.

These can offer excellent value – 270,000 Marriott Rewards points (90,000 Starwood points) will get you 7 nights in a Marriott Group Category 1-5 hotel AND 120,000 Avios points.  If there are three people in your household who are SPG members, you could buy 30,000 Starwood points each under this bonus offer, combine them and then redeem for one of these packages (EDIT: see the comment below about this and my response if you are planning this).

You can find out more about this deal in my original article on the Starwood ‘buy points’ bonus here.

Two Hilton sales now on

Just to be confusing, Hilton has two sales running at the moment.  They are both worth a look if you are in a position to firmly commit for stays later in 2017.

The first sale covers the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa.  The special landing page is here.

Whilst it is nominally called the Winter Sale, you can book for any weekend between now and the end of 2017.  The sale offers a discount of up to 30% off the standard Best Available Rate if you are a Hilton HHonors member, albeit that sale rates require prepayment and are non-refundable.  You receive a smaller discount (25%) if you are not logged in.  This offer is for all Hilton Group hotels, including Hampton, Conrad, Waldorf-Astoria etc.

The Europe / Middle East sale runs until 31st January.

The second sale covers Asia-Pacific, which includes Australasia, India and the Maldives as well as Asia.  The special landing page for that sale is here.

This sale is valid for ANY day of the week for any point in 2017.  If you are a Hilton HHonors member, you will receive a discount of 17% to 35% (7% to 25% for non members).

The Asia-Pacific sale runs until 20th January.  Note that China and Hong Kong are excluded.


How to earn Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards (July 2021)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly via American Express Gold, the American Express Rewards Credit Card and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold and Business Platinum.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

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

Comments (50)

  • RIcatti says:

    On the point of ‘last room availability’,

    I found that a lot of hotels re-code their, otherwise identical in size and furnishings, rooms as enhanced rooms (better view, higher floor) and voila, no availability at standard redemption rates, as it should be per SPG Category.

    Sydney’s Sheraton on the Hill is one example.

    • Nick says:

      They already have, albeit like-for-like – i.e. they match the DY fare that includes meal and bag as that’s what you get on BA, and add on the difference between LGW and LHR charges, but it’s readily available. What they absolutely refuse to match is the one-way pricing bit, so you have to buy a return (including the old Saturday night rule). I don’t imagine they’ll go any further than that, at least not until they introduce no-luggage-no-meals fares for longhaul anyway.

    • Rob says:

      Is that really a deal? BA would be sub £400 in a sale. BA won’t charge for food or luggage. You also need to look at the Norwegian flight times which are often awful – if you are effectively losing a day of your holiday because of bad timings then the saving isn’t worth it.

      Wasn’t it the Norwegian New York flight which got into Kennedy past midnight? Since the subway is not a lot of fun at that time you were basically forced to take a taxi or Uber which ate up any saving from the flight – and you could have taken the BA morning flight instead and got an extra day away too.

      • Ro says:

        That may have been in the past? At the moment (i was looking at nyc for a weekend in feb) the flight arrives at 8.30pm in NYC and leaves at 10.30pm (arriving at 10am the next day).

        With norwegian you can also save 20 or so quid if you buy via their norwegian site

        Harry, you can get it as low as 215 return to boston

        • Ro says:

          Because of the BA sale they are doing flights to NYC for 400 cheapest. Which isnt bad but not amazing. But then if you book via american express you can get that 50 quid off offer that came out the other day and get it down to 350… which seems more palatable

        • Rob says:

          Those times are fine, I agree.

        • the real harry says:

          £215 is real cheap

          Oh! to be a student again 🙂

  • mark2 says:

    As well as converting SPG points to airline schemes you can use them on spgflights.com to book flights on almost any airline with no availability restrictions.

    • Matthew says:

      I’ve never looked at that as I’ve always assumed it was better to use cash. How much do they give you per point?

      • mark2 says:

        It goes in bands e.g. 10,000 points up to $150.
        It is not as good value as hotel stays, as you would expect, but the availability was more important to me in this case.

  • Anon says:

    More on Hilton…

    Also worth re-mentioning the 5k Visa offer booking with App during January.

    AND this from LL, 20℅ off MVP for US stays..

    http://loyaltylobby.com/2016/12/29/hilton-hhonors-mvp-20-off-rate-for-americas-hawaii-caribbean-booking-update/

  • Andy S says:

    OT: IHG.
    Had email saying there will be a sale soon – does anyone know if reduced price rooms still qualify for acelerate targets ?

  • Peter K says:

    You must have been reading my mind on this article Rob. I was thinking about doing this with SPG/Marriage 2 days ago and read the articles on your site on them yesterday !

  • Clive says:

    Unfortunately our SPG offers are 35% and 30%… I wonder how they decided the offer levels, or if it’s random…

    • James67 says:

      I emailed them on this issue explaining that anything less than 50% bonus did not really work in UK due to falling pound. I was hoping my 35% would be uprated to 50% but the reply I got was that bonus rates applied were random(!) and that I should keep signing in in the hope of a better offer. I have done so on a daily basis and the offer has never budgec. Same with my partners and my dads. At 50% I would have been a buyer but not 35%.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        As per all these offers its usually pretty random

        I can gift at 50% discount, twitter name is the same as here if you want to get in touch.

        • James67 says:

          Thanks very much TG, however, I am already looking at saving only for 2019 flights so will take my chances on avios at 0.6p or less.

  • Rob says:

    1) Yes, this was always the rule

    2) That’s not what it means! ‘Increments of 1,000’ means ‘in chunks of 1,000’, ie you can transfer 24,000 points but not 23,845.

    3) If you look at this Flyertalk thread http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/starwood-starwood-preferred-guest/1799919-till-dec-31-2016-you-ll-save-up-50-purchases-5-000-starpoints-more-9.html and the comment on 17th December, you will see a comment on why a transfer of purchased points has been a bit slow. A Starwood employee who deals with Flyertalk queries says it takes 5 days. There is no mention of the transfer not being allowed.

    • David says:

      The bigger question is about inward points transfers now being part of the annual purchase limit. I.e. talk of people now being limited to 30k total into their account in each year from both purchases and from transfers combined. Have seen that stated, but have not looked further into it.

      • Matthew says:

        I bought 30,000 and my wife did and transferred them to me without issue.

        • David says:

          Glad to hear it. As I said I’d only seen it reported/stated in a couple of places.

    • David says:

      Indeed – I’ve never seen anyone interpret “increments” that way!

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