Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get a 30% 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.

It is, however, a shadow of its former self.

35 per cent bonus transferring hotel loyalty points to Avios

The ba.com page for the offer can be found here.

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.

Avios transfer bonus from hotel schemes

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.

Comments (13)

  • Claire says:

    How do you transfer for free with ihg. Husband has 12000 miles which he would be happy to give to me but if I try to transfer it wants to charge me $60. Do you have to ring up?

    • sayling says:

      It’s $5 PER 1000 points, so $60 for 12,000 points

    • memesweeper says:

      Given the charges the IHG offer to merge your balances isn’t attractive. If you can , leave his balance where it is, and when it’s useful, do a points + cash redemption with the IHG points. I think redemptions start at 10,000 for the lowest grade hotels so it’s a useful enough balance in it’s own right already.

      • Lady London says:

        12,500 IHG points has been getting 1 overnight at some hotels that are selling for cash at £70-£120 recently.

        As Rob says, if you transfer enough Marriott points to get the bonus, that’s about the only hotel points that are best used for hotels.h

        • Lady London says:

          ‘not’ best used for hotels, i.e unless it’s Marriott and especially if you can transfer enough to get Marriott’s very good bonus on transfer to airline miles, then hotel points generally are best kept and used for hotel rooms.

          Marriott also tranfer to a few other useful things not just avios.

          • Alex W says:

            The chances of you getting more value out of your Marriott points via Avios instead of Marriott hotel bookings are still slim, I would suggest. Marriott to Alaska miles, however can achieve better value.

  • Paul Richardson says:

    This presents an opportunity to transfer Virgin points to Avios…..especially if you are worried about the long term viability of Virgin? Transfer Virgin points to IHG and then transfer to Avios? Would this work?

    • Rob says:

      Works but the rate is terrible. 100k VS = 100k IHG = 26k Avios with the 30% bonus, so £1000 of VS points becomes £260 of Avios (at 1p).

  • David says:

    I’ve just attempted to convert 10K Radisson points to Avios; they were soon to expire. None of the links take you to the Radisson conversion page, and using the regular conversion page on the Radisson site only offers the normal, miserable 10-1 rate. No special bonus.

    Has anyone had better success, please?

  • Paul says:

    Hi all. Just called IHG and they hadn’t heard of the 30% bonus. So, can we assume it’s automatically added. Strange they are not aware. Appreciate any advice before I call them back. Paul