Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get a 35% bonus on hotel points transfers to Avios – but is it a good deal?

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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.

When you transfer hotel loyalty points to Avios by 2nd December, you get a 35% bonus.  Historically this bonus moves around between 25% and 35% so the new offer is as good as it gets.

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 British Airways Executive Club Avios before 2nd December.  2nd December 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:

  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Radisson Rewards
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle
  • Melia Rewards
  • Best Western Rewards

Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt and Le Club AccorHotels are NOT included.

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 – if you choose to take Avios instead of hotel points – 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.

Whilst it isn’t clear, I am fairly sure that the 35% bonus also applies to 5,000 bonus Avios you’d get for converting 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.  This would mean 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 20,000 Avios + 5,000 bonus Avios + 35% = 33,750 Avios.

So, is this a good deal or not?

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.

IHG Rewards Club – 60,000 to 70,000 points = 12,000 to 14,000 Avios or a £250 room

Marriott Bonvoy – 50,000 to 70,000 points (Cat 7) = 17,000 to 28,000 Avios or a £250 room

Radisson Rewards – 70,000 points = 7,000 Avios or a £250 room

Shangri-La Golden Circle – 9,500 points (Shard, Paris, Maldives cost double) = 9,500 Avios or a £250 room

Melia Rewards – 28,000 points (starting rate for a Grand Melia or ME by Melia) = 8,400 Avios or a £250 room

I was struggling to find a Best Western that would sell for £250 per night!  However, the redemption range for UK hotels is 8,000 to 36,000 points.  The conversion rate to Avios is 5:1.  If we assume that a 36,000 point hotel would sell for around £175-£200, the alternative of just over 7,000 Avios pre-bonus is not attractive.

Is it worth converting with the 35% bonus?

Looking at these numbers, you are probably better leaving large stashes of hotel points where they are.

The only exception is Marriott Bonvoy.  Marriott now has an extra tier – Category 8 – which means that its most expensive hotels are priced at 85,000 points (=33,000 Avios plus the 35% bonus). In this case, you might think twice about taking a free night over 45,000 miles.  However, some of these hotels are ludicrously pricey – St Regis New York is over $1,000 per night for example – so you may still find points better value.

Radisson Rewards is the most extreme case where you probably should take the free room.  I’d far rather have a £250 five-star hotel night for 70,000 points than take (7,000 + 35%) 9,450 Avios.

For a small amount of points it is a different decision

A few 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 them 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 (Marriott Bonvoy has 40 airline partners)You will get a 35 per cent bonus via Avios, but perhaps topping off another account may be more useful?  If you had a very large pile of hotel points, you may be able to get enough points from scratch in, say, Etihad Guest to get yourself a trip in the Etihad First Class Apartment.  Miles in a different scheme or alliance would give you a lot of extra flexibility.  Avios is not always the answer.

Here is my final thought – why not transfer a small balance to another person?

You can transfer IHG Rewards Club points to someone else for $5 per 1000, Marriott Bonvoy points for FREE up to 100,000 per year, Radisson Rewards points for FREE if you share an address and Best Western Rewards points for FREE if you share an address.

Perhaps a transfer to a friend who can use a larger total for a hotel room is a better deal than taking a handful of Avios for yourself, even with the 35% bonus?

This offer runs until 2nd December so you have plenty of time to decide.

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

Comments (61)

  • Harry T says:

    I have less than 4000 Bonvoy points which aren’t doing much, and I’m working towards a big Avios 241 redemption. Will I still get the 35% bonus if I transfer less than 9000 Bonvoy to Avios?

  • Dave Gill says:

    I have just rung IHG and have been advised that the transfer will take up to 6 weeks from today to arrive at BA/Avios….

  • roberto says:

    I looked at this as I have some IHG points expiring soon but decided to download a e-book from the IHG rewards club portal to reset my expiry clock rather than sending to avios.

    I was able to find a couple of options for just THREE POINTS which seems like a no brainer. Just go to the ebooks , subsection “other” and organise by price , click and you just spent a whole 3 points to renew your IHG clock by 12 months.

    Big hat tip to our own BJ – originally discussed in the comments here :- https://headforpoints.com/2019/05/14/when-do-ihg-rewards-club-points-expire-and-how-to-stop-it/

    Thanks…

    • joe bloggs says:

      you must be one of the rare bred of IHG club members that have IHG ponits that expire.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        I was thinking the same – there is no expiry for elite (gold upwards) members and status can be earned by just thinking about it at ihg pretty much, there cant be many non-elite ihg accounts with balances worth worrying about!

  • Smiles says:

    I am about to convert my Amex membership reward points to avios. Now that this promotion has started, does it make more sense for me to first transfer the amex points to mariott bonvoy and then transfer them to avios gaining the 35% bonus? Will I be ending up with more avios overall?

    • pablo says:

      40k amex = 40k avios
      40k amex = 60k marriott = 20k Avios + 5k bonus + 35% = 33750 avios
      You would lose 6250 avios if you converted via Marriott

    • BJ says:

      No. For example, 2000 MR = 2000 avios compared to 2000 MR = 3000 Bonvoy = 1000 avios × 1.35 = 1350 avios. Even the 5000 avios bonus for transferring 60k Bonvoy is not enough to swing it (40,000 avios direct versus 33,750 via Marriott with 35% bonus)

  • BJ says:

    Datapoint: Transfer completed in under 48h. As expected, 35% uplift also applied to the 5000 bonus for each 60,000 Marriott points transferred.

  • JohnT says:

    Did you run something on timings before? I know IHG took 30 days once! Also isn’t Melia better to Iberia?

  • Rowpott says:

    Just rang IHG who quoted 4-6weeks to do the transfer which could miss the 2 dec deadline for the bonus. So have not done it. Has anyone the experience of how long it usually takes?

  • Jek says:

    Should the bonus be applied directly on the transfer or will the additional Avios appear at a later time? I did a transfer of Meliá points and a few days later Avios appeared on my BA account without the bonus.