Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Is it worth buying hotel points TODAY to transfer to Avios for the 35% bonus?

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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:

Buy hotel points to convert to Avios

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)

Test 1:  Starwood Preferred Guest

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.

Test 2: Club Carlson 

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.

Verdict: Terrible

Test 3: Hilton HHonors

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

Verdict: Terrible

Test 4: Hyatt Gold Passport

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

Verdict: Pointless

Test 5: IHG Rewards Club

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

Test 6: Marriott Rewards

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

Conclusion

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.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

Nectar American Express

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 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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (15)

  • Craig Sowerby says:

    How do you get $490 for 20K Starpoints? Regular price (and no promo at the moment) is 3.5 cents, or $700.

  • Neil says:

    I transferred my small Marriott balance to SPG (giving me 2000 SPG), and then bought 500 more points to give me the 2500 minimum transfer. This gave me 3375 Avios which arrived yesterday. Not much, but a good use of a small balance of points that I was unlikely to use anywhere else.

    Interestingly I opened my SPG account on the day I bought the points – it didn’t seem to be a problem. I certainly didn’t have it for 14 days.

  • Danny says:

    Rob – I usually use my AMEX Membership rewards points to transfer to BA. Can I therefore move these to SPG and then across to BA to get the 35% bonus?

    • Genghis says:

      You can but you’ll lose value, even with the SPG 5k bonus and 35% avios bonus
      E.g. Move 40,000 MR to Avios = 40,000 avios
      Or 40,000 MR ->20,000 SPG ->25,000 notional avios + 35% bonus = 33,750 avios.

  • Ben says:

    I’ve got 1,100 Shangri-La GC points but hey only allow transfer of 2,500+. Any idea how to get around it (similar to Accor link I used a couple of days ago to convert below minimum to Iberia Avios)?

    • Rob says:

      They occasionally lower the limit to 1,000 in special promos (pretty sure it is 1,000). However, a better deal – if you’re in London – is to redeem for a voucher and have some free drinks or food in The Shard. The collapse in the £ makes those $ vouchers even more attractive.

      • Ben says:

        They value 1,000 points at 100USD?! Much better use. Not London based but am there enough to make this worthwhile, I think. Thanks for the words of wisdom!

      • Brian says:

        Or you could redeem for a voucher and have some free drinks or food at some other Shangri-La hotel not in London…

  • Alistair Todd says:

    You can buy GC points at https://storefront.points.com/shangri-la/en-US/buy

    $0.13 per point, or approx 10p (these days….)

    For redemptions in Hong Kong, Doha, Singapore, Yangon, Sri Lanka I’m seeing values between 2.3p per point and 4.8p per point, so buying these points is _really_ not a good deal.

  • Waribai says:

    Slightly OT. Just got back from a week at the IC Davos which even by IC standards is fairly amazing.
    Anyway back on planet earth I have logged into our amex accounts and seen under the offers the £10 off £10 for American Express Invites at selected restaurants. Am I right in thinking this has free meal potential?

    • Simon says:

      Looking at the restuarants in-scope for this offer, it reads more to me as a ‘£10 off something quite expensive’ rather than a free meal offer!

  • Bob says:

    Excellent work.
    I think this website makes me lazy. I don’t have to calculate these mad equations anymore 🙂 . I’m now just waiting for Rob’s posts.

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