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How can you book hotels using Avios?

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How can you use your Avios points to book hotels?  Today I want to look at how you can book hotels using Avios, and whether this is worthwhile or not.

The good news is that you CAN use Avios to book hotels.

The bad news is that this is not the best use of them.  As you will see in this article, you are generally getting under 0.6p per Avios when using them for hotels.   Click here to read an article on what an Avios is worth when used for flights – you should usually be able to get well over 1p.

At the end of the day, however, you might be struggling to find Avios flights for the dates you want, or you might simply be sick of flying!

How to book hotels with Avios

How do I book a hotel with Avios?

You can book a hotel with Avios miles via this page at ba.com.

As an experiment, I randomly picked four hotels in four cities for 17th February.  This is what I found, picking a random four star hotel for two adults. I took the top ‘recommended’ option in all cases. Cash prices included all taxes.

  • Hamburg – The Westin – 46,350 Avios or ‘2,250 Avios + £240’
  • London – Hilton Bankside – 39,400 Avios or ‘1,900 Avios + £216.75’
  • New York – W at Lexington Avenue – 25,550 Avios or ‘1,250 Avios + £135’
  • Singapore – InterContinental – 49,800 Avios or ‘12,450 Avios + £210’

10 seconds with the calculator shows that these all give you a value per Avios of 0.54p – 0.56p.

It is not quite that simple, of course.

Is the ba.com ‘cash price’ fair? I turned to Expedia to check, adjusting the Avios price to assume 0.56p per Avios. The results were interesting.

  • Hamburg – Avios price £255, Expedia price £240.12
  • London – Avios price £216.75, Expedia price £159 (sale price)
  • New York – Avios price £140.50, Expedia price £228 (one category up as lowest unavailable)
  • Singapore – Avios price £269.75, Expedia price £260

As you can see, the Avios price is often higher than you can find elsewhere.

Finally, I went direct to the hotel websites:

  • Hamburg – Avios price £255, hotel price £256
  • London – Avios price £216.75, hotel price £149 (sale price)
  • New York – Avios price £140.50, hotel price £197
  • Singapore – Avios price £269.75, hotel price £176.29

So …

What we have seen here is two things:

Based on the hotel prices at avios.com, you get 0.54p – 0.56p per Avios when you book a hotel with them.

The prices charged at ba.com, though, bear no relation to those charged by Expedia or by the hotels themselves.  Based on my sample, ba.com often charges more than the hotel does if you book direct elsewhere.  I should stress that I have done this exercise many times over the years and you always get a similar result – ba.com is expensive for some hotels, occasionally cheaper, but rarely the same.

If the ba.com hotel prices are always going to be ‘above market’ then you cannot consider 0.55p per point to be the genuine value.  The real value is probably closer to 0.5p which is the value you tend to get when redeeming for other ‘non flight’ redemptions.

If you earn your Avios points from credit card spend, converting Tesco points etc, then you are unlikely to find 0.54p – 0.56p acceptable.

If, however, you earn all of your Avios from business travel then you have no ‘opportunity cost’ for your Avios and you may find a hotel redemption worthwhile if you are struggling to find suitable flights.

You don’t get status benefits or hotel points on Avios bookings

Here is a final point.  You may not know that redeeming Avios for a chain hotel via ba.com, or paying for one via Expedia, hotels.com etc, is means that you will not earn hotel points from your stay. You will also not receive any status benefits.  You should bear this in mind when booking, especially if you have hotel status which would otherwise get you free breakfast or free internet.

You can find the Avios hotel booking link on this page of ba.com.

(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works.  You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )

(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 1.5 million monthly page views.  Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios?  Click here to read our latest news storiesclick here to join our email list and click here to read our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.  Read this article to learn how you can get 10,000 FREE Avios by signing up for the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card.)

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