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.
It is, however, a shadow of its former self.
When you transfer hotel loyalty points to Avios by 9th December, you get a 30% bonus. Historically this bonus has moved around between 25% and 35%.
There are a few simple rules you must follow:
Rule 1: You must convert your hotel points to British Airways Executive Club Avios by 9th December. 9th 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
- Radisson Rewards
That’s it. Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, MeliaRewards and Best Western – who often take part – are sitting it out.
I am guessing this is because the hotel chains don’t want to be paying out any money to Avios if they don’t have to, given the current situation.
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.
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 30 per cent bonus.
IHG Rewards Club – 60,000 to 70,000 points = 12,000 to 14,000 Avios or a £250 room
Radisson Rewards – 70,000 points = 7,000 Avios or a £250 room
These chains are NOT in the 30% bonus offer but I am including them to put the numbers above in context:
Marriott Bonvoy – 50,000 to 70,000 points (Cat 7) = 17,000 to 28,000 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
Is it worth converting with the 30% bonus?
Looking at these numbers, you are probably better leaving large stashes of IHG or Radisson hotel points where they are.
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 + 30%) 9,100 Avios.
Whilst it isn’t taking part in this offer, in general you will find that Marriott Bonvoy is the only hotel programme where it is seriously worth considering converting points to miles.
For a small amount of points it is a difference 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 30 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 30 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, Emirates Skywards to get yourself a trip in the amazing new First Class suite. 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 and Radisson 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 30% bonus?
This offer runs until 9th December so you have plenty of time to decide.
You can find full details of the offer on ba.com here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
Do you have a small business? Until 20th May 2021, you can receive a special sign-up bonus worth 29,900 Avios with the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa credit card. This offer is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to learn more.
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)