During August we’re going to be running a few more ‘educational’ articles than usual, to help new readers get up to speed with some of the tricks of our trade.
One of the things that makes this hobby so fascinating is the ability to arbitrage. The aim is to collect miles and points as cheaply as possible and then use them for the maximum possible ‘pence per point’ reward.
There are also arbitrages inside individual programmes you can exploit. For historical reasons, stretching back to before Avios points were introduced, Hilton Honors has different earnings rates for British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus.
When you stay at a Hilton Family property, you have two options. You can take either ‘points and miles’ (10 Hilton Honors points per $1 plus some airline miles) or ‘points and points’ (10 Hilton Honors points plus an additional 5 Hilton Honors points per $1).
If you click on European airline partners, you will see the following rates:
British Airways Executive Club – 1 Avios point per $1
Iberia Plus – 15 Avios points per $10
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that – if there are no specific BA or Iberia promos running – you should be crediting your Avios points from Hilton stays to Iberia Plus and then moving them across to British Airways Executive Club via ‘Combine My Avios’. You will be earning 50% more Avios!
There is a catch in the Iberia Plus earning rates.
You are capped at earning 1,000 Avios points per stay if you take Iberia miles. The British Airways cap is 10,000 Avios.
You won’t find this cap mentioned on the airline partners page I linked above.
You won’t find this cap mentioned on the Hilton page at iberia.com
However, tucked away in the terms and conditions of the Hilton Honors programme is this paragraph:
Members may only accrue up to 10,000 airline miles per stay (or the equivalent currency of the airline Marketing Partner), except with respect to Home2 Suites by Hilton® and Tru by Hilton™ which limits accrual to 100 airlines miles per stay (or the equivalent currency of the airline Marketing Partner) and except with respect to the following airline carriers: Aeromexico – up to 20,000 Premier Points; AIR MILES Canada – up to 1,000 reward miles; El Al Israel Airlines – up to 250 airline Points; Iberia – up to 1,000 airline Points; LAN – up to 20,000 kilometers; Virgin Atlantic Airways – up to 20,000 miles; and Air New Zealand- up to 30,000 Airpoints dollars.
This means you need to bear these numbers in mind:
For Hilton bills of up to $1000, you should go with Iberia Plus (15 per $10 rather than 1 per $1 with BA)
For Hilton bills above $1000, you should go with British Airways Executive Club (the 1 per $1 means you will earn more than the 1,000 Avios cap imposed by Iberia Plus)
You learn something new every day …..! It would be helpful if Hilton had this information on its airline partners page, rather than tucked away in the terms and conditions where it won’t be read. One of our readers spent $2,400 and lost out on 1,200 Avios because he had gone with Iberia Plus.
PS. Remember that if you collect Virgin Flying Club miles as well as Avios points, you should ignore both Iberia Plus and BA Executive Club. The Virgin Flying Club earning rate is 2 miles per $1 – 100% more than BA and 33% more than Iberia Plus. The Virgin Atlantic miles cap is 20,000 miles per stay which is unlikely to be a problem! Details of the Virgin / Hilton partnership are here.
(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.)