Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

LAST DAY: Get a 100% bonus buying Hilton Honors points and 60% buying Marriott Bonvoy points

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There are two ‘buy points’ offers ending today.  If you are thinking of booking any stays for the next couple of months, it may be cheaper to buy points instead of paying cash.

Get a 100% bonus buying Hilton Honors points

We’re not suggesting that Hilton is desperate for cash, but Hilton Honors has been running another promotion offering a 100% bonus when you purchase 10,000+ points.

The Hilton ‘buy points’ page is here.  TODAY, 15th July, is the last day.

Regular readers of Head for Points will know that I tend to value Hilton points at 0.33p each.  You are paying 0.39p (0.5 cents) here so the maths in general doesn’t work.

HOWEVER ….. there ARE real bargains to be had at peak periods.  Conrad Maldives at 95,000 points per night, the new Waldorf Astoria Maldives at 120,000 points, the ‘all suite’ Conrad New York Downtown or Conrad New York Midtown at 95,000 points etc are places where you will usually save a lot of money by buying points instead of paying cash.

100% bonus buying Hilton Honors points

This is especially true if you have Hilton status and can get ‘5 nights for the points of 4’ on a longer stay.  If you don’t have status, this article shows you how to get a Hilton Honors status match.

If you are just buying a handful of points to top off your account, the price per point doesn’t matter anyway.  If you are a few thousand short of a redemption then this is a decent opportunity to buy them.

Rooms booked on points are also fully refundable, except on some rare occasions such as New Years Eve in key cities.  This gives you extra certainty if you want to book but are worried about, for example, future quarantine restrictions at your destination which mean you can’t travel.

It’s also worth remembering that you don’t pay resort fees on Hilton Honors redemption nights.  This is a big saving in New York and Las Vegas.

If you have an American Express Platinum card …..

There is an interesting arbitrage here if you have an American Express Platinum card.  If you were thinking of transferring any Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors at the 1:2 rate, it is actually a better deal to:

  • buy the points for cash using your American Express Platinum card
  • pay off the balance using Membership Rewards points (remember that you get 0.9p per point when you use them as statement credit until 20th July)

You will get the equivalent 2.2 Hilton points per 1 Amex point this way, instead of 2 Hilton points if you do a direct points transfer!

You can buy Hilton Honors points via this link.  The offer ends tonight, 15th July.

60 bonus buying Marriott Bonvoy points

Get a 60% bonus on Marriott Bonvoy points purchases

If this part of the article sounds familiar, it is because I ran it two weeks ago – and then Marriott extended the offer by 15 days!

Via this page of the website, you will get a 60% bonus on all points purchases.

How many Marriott Bonvoy points can I buy?

The annual purchase cap of 50,000 points pre-bonus has been doubled to 100,000 points although the maximum you can buy in one go remains 50,000 points pre-bonus.  With the bonus, you could pick up 160,000 Bonvoy points although it would require two separate transactions of 80,000 each.

At the top end you are paying $625 (£487) for 80,000 points under this offer.

What is a Marriott Bonvoy point worth?

My rule of thumb is that a Marriott Bonvoy point is worth 0.5p.  You are paying a little more than that (0.60p) under this offer so it isn’t a steal.

However, you might find it worthwhile if:

you are planning a stay at a property where you know you will get outsized value (and it really isn’t that hard to get more 0.6p if you are travelling to peak cities at peak times), or

you are topping off your account before making a points booking, or

you are close to 60,000 Bonvoy points and want to make a transfer into airline miles (you get a bonus of 5,000 airline miles when you transfer 60,000 Bonvoy points into 20,000 airline miles)

The snag with Marriott Bonvoy is that the annual points buying cap is too low to allow you to exploit the deal.  The St Regis New York, for example, can easily run to $1,300 per night including taxes, which makes 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (on a ‘Standard Reward’ day) a great deal.  The problem is getting enough points.  Even with the increased cap, the most you could buy from scratch is 160,000 points which doesn’t even get you two nights.

However …. you CAN transfer up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per year from one member to another.  You need to ring up to do this, which is a bit annoying, but that is the only restriction.  You don’t need to share an address.  This is one way around the limit on points purchases.

Buying Marriott Bonvoy points is a way of buying cheap airline miles

Because you can buy 60,000 points in one go, this deal is also a way of picking up 25,000 airline miles in programmes where you can rarely buy them cheaply.

The usual transfer rate from Marriott Bonvoy into airline miles is 3:1, which is already generous.  If you transfer 60,000 Bonvoy points at once, however, you get 5,000 bonus airline miles which means a total of 25,000 miles.

Do NOT do this with Avios, because there are regular offers to buy Avios for 1p – 1.1p.  However, it might make sense for other airlines.

Buying 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points under this offer will cost $475 (£370).  If you turned this into 25,000 airline miles, you are paying 1.48p per mile.  With SOME airline schemes, you might find this valuable, especially if it is a scheme where you find it very hard to earn miles in the UK.

The link to buy Bonvoy points with a 60% bonus is here if you are interested.  The offer ends at midnight tonight – and I very much doubt it will be extended again!

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (11)

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    So, MR related- annual choice award is usually a simple decision (suite night certs) – but with 5 elite nights as an alternative I’m questioning that now as Ill comfortably hit 75 this year with those.

    On the flip side, upgrade success could be improved in 2021 if demand still lethargic so maybe suite nights actually worth more than usual?

    What’s the common preference do folks generally take the upgrade certs?

    Anyone else

    • Harry T says:

      Will you hit Titanium without the extra five elite night credits from your choice award at 50 nights?

      If you stay at Ritz-Carlton, Titanium could be helpful as they aren’t meant to upgrade Plats to suites but will upgrade Titanium and Ambassador.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        That’s the key, I suspect my stay pattern will allow for ten, taking me to 70 nights- question is whether I can force a couple of other stays into Marriotts and get there naturally.

        Titanium for probably 70+ stays next year is, probably more valuable than 5 upgrades…

        • YC says:

          Just wait and see if you need those extra 5 nights to hit Titanium. No need to rush the decision unless you want to use SNA soon

  • Sarah says:

    Trying to book using points at Marriott Inverness airport in Feb but it says no points nights available. Does anyone have any idea if they are all redeemed or not released yet or if points can’t be used at this hotel? I am short on points so would have to decide whether to buy them tonight or not.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Which night?

      • Sarah says:

        4th – 5th Feb

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          Shows for me – 17.5k points for night of 4th Feb

          Cash rate only £55, mind you..

          • Sarah says:

            Thanks for your help. I see why now. It’s because I’m putting in for 2 adults and 1 child and the cheapest rate is £93.

          • Chrisasaurus says:

            How old is the child? I essentially never admit to the number of children when booking especially when it comes to points bookings and getting an available room!

          • Sarah says:

            Perfect. I’ve figured that out now. Thanks for your help.