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Is it worth using Avios points for hotels?

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Is it worth using your Avios points to book hotel rooms?  Today I want to look at where hotel bookings give you a good return for your hard-earned Avios points.

As I show in this article, I believe that you should be targeting 1p per Avios point when you redeem them.

This is a shame if you are planning to use them for hotel rooms.  You are generally getting under 0.6p per Avios when you use 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!  You should also bear in mind what your Avios ‘cost’ you in the first place.  If all of your points came from flying for work, they were genuinely free and may be less bothered what you get in return.

If your Avios points came from credit card spend or Tesco Clubcard conversions, those points had a cost.  You could have used a cashback credit card instead, or used your Tesco Clubcard vouchers for a more valuable partner such as Uber or Hotels.com, both of which offer 3x face value.

How to book hotels with Avios

What is an Avios point worth when used for a hotel booking?

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

In order to get a feel for what value you will get, I randomly picked four hotels in four cities for 17th February.  This is what I found, picking a four star hotel for two adults.  The cash price shown includes 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.  This means that you aren’t even getting 0.54p to 0.56p, because you should be comparing the cost in Avios with the cash cost on Expedia, not the cash cost on the Avios site.

Finally, I priced up the same hotels on the hotel brand 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.

Is 0.5p a good deal for an Avios point?

No, not really.

As I said at the start, if you earn your Avios points from credit card spend, converting Tesco points etc, then you shouldn’t 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.  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, 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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