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IT’S BACK: Get a 35% bonus on hotel transfers to Avios – but is it a good deal?

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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 6-9 months, when you transfer hotel loyalty points to British Airways, you get a 35% bonus.

This is especially interesting if you had been thinking of redeeming Starwood or Marriott points for a Marriott Travel Package.

35 per cent bonus transferring hotel loyalty points to Avios

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 March.  31st March 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 – 60,000 to 70,000 points = 12,000 to 14,000 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 (roughly 12,000 * 1.35) roughly 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!  This HFP article (click) explains why Marriott Travel Packages are so interesting.

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 March so you have plenty of time to decide.

You can find full details of the offer on ba.com here.

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Comments

  1. Scallder says:

    Perhaps it’s wrong to hope for too much here, however I think the biggest potential upside for the travel package as things stand will be the introduction of SPG hotels when the programs merge (which as things stand is meant to be the start of next year).

    Obviously there hasn’t been too much made of how everything will merge together, however if (and it’s a huge if here) the current categories stay the same, and SPG properties are only put into the existing 1-9 categories, then these travel packages could become even better value.

    I’ve got one already (and put miles to Alaska) with plans to use in DC next year, and currently saving towards a second one with the hope that SPG properties will get brought in at decent rates, as there’s a number of SPG properties that I would happily stay at for a week, predominantly those in ski areas which otherwise can be extremely expensive (had a lovely week in the Westin Whistler a couple of years ago, however certainly wouldn’t have spent the cash on it).

  2. Melvin says:

    Do the Marriott travel package miles drop into your account straight away?

    • Melvin says:

      Also I don’t want to stay until Easter 2019. Am I right in saying that’s ok as long as i book before the voucher’s 12 months expiry date?

      • You’ll receive the miles into your accountant within about 24hrs.

        You need to book AND stay within the 12 months. However, you can call Marriott and extend the life of your travel package voucher by 12 months (from the date you call them). I recently did this with mine.

        • Melvin says:

          Thanks @Ian.
          Did you have to use more points to extend e.g. upgrade the category as I have seen other readers say or did they just extend because you simply asked?

      • Hey Melvin, no it didn’t cost any points to extend the voucher 🙂

  3. Hibeeal says:

    Hi. Probably being a bit dense here but can you let me know how to convert for the marriott travel package. Clicking on BA.com link in article through to Marriott it only gives option to transfer to miles not the travel package. Thanks. Hibeeal.

    • New Card says:

      It’s done via Marriott. You redeem for the travel package by calling Marriott – BA add the 35% themselves when they are transferred (usually within 2-3 days).

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