Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get a 35% bonus on hotel points 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.

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)

  • Oli says:

    On Marriott transfers – American Airlines current 25% bonus offer didn’t apply to the Marriott bonus 5,000 miles on my recent transfer. So 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy with Marriott + AA bonus gave me 30,000 Aadvantage Miles not 31,250. I wonder if the same rules apply to this Avios offer.

    • Rob says:

      Hasn’t historically.

      Note that the T&Cs say the offer ends on 28/11. This is wrong and will be corrected during the day.

      • BJ says:

        Always applied to the bonus to the best of my recollection. ISTR there was one round where it did not apply to travel packages but I’m not certain about that.

    • meta says:

      I did it only two weeks ago and got the 25% on the bonus. It posted at the same time as the transaction. I would contact AA if I were you.

      • Oli says:

        Thanks Meta will get in touch with them today. Out of interest, how much Bonvoy did you transfer and what did that convert to in AAdvantage miles?

        • meta says:

          Transferred 180k got 93750 AA Advantage miles.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Oli I’m with you – transferred 120k bonvoy on 20th sept – plus auto added 30k form MArriott
          Got 50k AA and 10k (oddly the 10k backdated to 19th which I assume is timezone related.)

          I have 2500 showing, when I look now , dated also 19th, with description HT925 BONUS MILES which looks to be the 25% promo but only on the 10k.

          I guess I need to chase too, will report back.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      They applied my 25% bonus immediately when the points hit.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        How long did everyone’s Marriott-AA transfers take, out of interest? Mine haven’t posted yet, but it’s only been a week.

        • Mart says:

          I’m still waiting 2 days yes I’m impatient
          I am going to blow my as miles on Etihad apartment hope it’s worth it!

          • Oli says:

            I made the transfer last Tuesday morning and it was in my account around mid day Friday. Im trying to do the same and have been religiously checking availability on the AUH-LHR route as part of a wider trip I have planned.

          • guesswho2000 says:

            @Mart same here! With the hassle of getting purchased Bonvoy points to turn up in my account still raw, I’ve been worrying unnecessarily about it!

            @Oli thanks for the data point, seems pretty punctual. I’m not on a specific deadline so it’s not critical, other than the expiry of my existing stash in Jan, but I hope that doesn’t become an issue – very much miss the MBNA AAdvantage card.

          • meta says:

            I did it on Monday got points on Thursday. It was surprisingly quick as last year it took almost 10 days! I did Etihad Apartment last year and it’s absolutely worth it, but a bit short! I’m now hoping to repeat the same in early 2021, but this time on a longer route and maybe twice! So this is just a preparation as I’m not sure if there will be another bonus before February/March when I’ll need them. Last year it was easier to secure as it couldn’t be done online. Many people didn’t know. Now it shows up on normal award search, so it’s harder but involves less hassle with agents.

    • Mart says:

      Did you register before you converted?

    • Simon says:

      Oli, did you pre-register for the AA 25% bonus? Registration was required, unfortunately.

      • Oli says:

        Yes I did, nearly forgot to, but I definately did and I got most of the bonus:

        The usual transfer is 60k Bonvoy = 20k miles + 5k Marriott bouns. With this offer I got 30k (so they applied 25% on the base 20k but not on the additional 5k), from what others have said, I should have got 31,250. Its my wife’s account and she hates getting on the phone to sort these things so I’ve logged in under her and dropped them an email.

  • BJ says:

    This year there has been a step change in the difficulty of earning avios. Therefore I think the arguement in favour of converting Marriott Bonvoy points to avios has become more compelling, especially for those with smaller avios balances. Certainly, Marriott points, like other hotel points, are potentially much more valuable redeemed on hotels. However, countering this is the relative ease of reducing the cost of points-earning paid hotel stays via various and multiple avenues when compared to the difficulty of significantly reducing the cash price of a premium cabin flight. For this reason and the fact that I have a poor record on promos and benefits with Marriott, my Bonvoy balance is going to BA. I miss the old travel packages though, they provided the best of both worlds.

    • Rob says:

      There is a good argument for saying a lower quality hotel room is a better trade off than flying WTP instead of Business, I agree.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Agree, while I did make good use of 60k Bonvoys in HK back in January, my track record of being able to earn huge balances of these through promos (unlike IHG/Hilton) is not good, so they’ve been primarily used for keeping alive my AA miles since the demise of the MBNA AAdvantage card.

      It’s also a backup for AS, although I’ve managed to keep these alive organically for the last few years (primarily through AS hotels or crediting the occasional QF flight once I’ve re-qualified), but it’s a good option to have in the bag.

      Coupled with the comparatively reasonable transfer rate, and it works for me. I’m in the same boat with Radisson, but the rate is so poor I’ll just hold on to them until I can redeem, keeping them alive with a minimum transfer from Amex MR, if necessary.

      • BJ says:

        In addition we have loads of alternative choices to any Marriott hotel just about any place while choice of airlines is usually very limited.

  • TripRep says:

    Thanks for this, tempted to empty my old Radisson account, never earnt many and unlikely to use.

    • The Savage Squirrel says:

      The rate is truly terrible!
      Conversely the AmexMR -> Radisson rate is about the most generous hotel conversion rate out there; may be better to top up rather than empty out?

  • Waribai says:

    How about the flight + hotel packages for Marriott? Is it still worth converting with the 35% bonus to get one of those?

    • Rob says:

      Hard to call, especially now peak and off peak pricing is here.

      • Waribai says:

        Thanks. Yes, I’ll have to check our Xmas stay in the sun and see if it’s worth changing it to a flight/hotel package instead of pure points.

      • Matthew Switzer says:

        They offer the best value if you can redeem the week’s hotel package for peak dates. IIRC the best value categories are Cat 1-4 (but redeeming in 4) and Cat 5 packages.

        For example, 7 nights in Cat 5 hotel peak dates (assuming1 free for elites) is 240,000 Bonvoy points.

        135,000 miles (assuming bonus 5000 per 20,000 from Bonvoy and 35% BA bonus) is 240,000 Bonvoy points.

        That totals 480,000 Bonvoy points as opposed to the travel package rate of 390,000. So the travel package saves 90,000 Bonvoy points. If you choose off peak dates then the value diminishes and you only save 30,000 Bonvoy points overall.

        If the week you choose to use your package has a mixture of peak and off peak then the value of your saving simply varies between 30,000 and 90,000 Bonvoy points.

        If you actually only had 390,000 Bonvoy points and redeemed for 6 nights cat 5 peak and the remaining 150,000 Bonvoy points to miles, then the saving is even more as 150,000 Bonvoy points only covert to 60,000 miles (before BA 35% bonus) or 81,000 after.

        So in effect, using 390,000 Bonvoy points for a cat 5 travel package redeemed on peak dates means the remaining 150,000 Bonvoy points are being converted to 135,000 Avios, which is 54,000 more Avios redeeming vis a package than doing hotel and miles separately.

        Hope that makes sense and my maths is right….typing this after a night shift!

        • joe bloggs says:

          And it assumes you want to spend a week in one property, which many find restrictive. These tPs would be far better value if they allowed you access to the 5 night variants, which are limited to timeshare holders.

          • guesswho2000 says:

            This is the main reason I had one sat for nearly two years – didn’t want to waste it, but 7-nights in one hotel was a stretch (that said, it was a SPG-leftover, the miles were the value in my case, so I considered any use of the certificate to be a bonus).

            Even as its expiry neared, I only booked for a 5-night stay (OH wanted to spend some time in the Conrad too!).

        • Russ says:

          I think you also need to factor in category changes over two years as well, especially if it’s a desirable property. I am going to Hanoi staying at Marriott. It was cat 3 last year now 4. I’m expecting it to go to 5 when the next round of category changes come so I’ve locked the points in.

    • Russ says:

      Do you get the bonus with a travel package? Some say not.

  • James says:

    Can Best Western points be transferred between account holders ?
    Neither I or my Father have enough for a stay at a BW (or the desire to !!) but might meet the 5k minimum for a transfer to Avios IF we can combine our points.

  • Luckyjiml says:

    I think most readers know there is a way of buying IHG points at $30 per 5000. Transfering points at $5 per 1000 really does not make sense.

  • Iain says:

    Does the bonus only apply when converting 60,000 Marriot points to BA?

  • Ro says:

    Has anybody tried Melia today ? The function to transfer to Avios doesn’t seem to be working .

    • Louise says:

      No it wasn’t working for me the other day. But I was trying to transfer points from the amazon vouchers so assumed that was why.
      I did have a room points booking I cancelled as I had read that it meant the points were then able to be transferred out, but doesn’t seem to be working