For the first time in 18 months – an unusually long gap for this offer – Avios has brought back its ‘bonus when you transfer your hotel loyalty points to British Airways Avios‘ promotion.
This is the weakest version of the offer we have seen since 2015, looking at my records. For the last seven years the bonus has always been 30% or 35%.
When you transfer hotel loyalty points to Avios by 25th April, you get a 25% bonus.
There are a few simple rules you must follow:
Rule 1: You must convert your hotel points to British Airways Executive Club Avios by 25th April. 25th April 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 One Rewards
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Radisson Rewards
- World of Hyatt
Hilton Honors, MeliaRewards, Shangri-La Circle and Best Western Rewards – who have taken part in the past – are sitting it out.
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 25 per cent bonus.
IHG One Rewards – 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 – 75,000 points = 7,500 Avios or a £250 room
World of Hyatt – 25,000 to 35,000 points (Cat 7) = 10,000 to 14,000 Avios or a £250 room
Is it worth converting with the 25% bonus?
Looking at these numbers, you are probably better leaving large stashes of IHG, Radisson or World of Hyatt 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 75,000 points than take (7,500 + 25%) 9,375 Avios.
Marriott Bonvoy is the only partner worth considering
Marriott Bonvoy is the only hotel programme where it is seriously worth considering converting points to miles.
This is especially true if you can convert in blocks of 60,000 Bonvoy points.
The standard conversion rate of Bonvoy points to airline miles is 3:1. However, when you convert 60,000 points at once, you get a bonus of 5,000 miles. This stacks with the 25% bonus.
Looking at the maths:
- 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 Avios (including the 5,000 Avios bonus)
- Adding in the 25% bonus from British Airways gets you to 31,250 Avios
Our standard valuation of a Bonvoy point is 0.5p. We tend to value Avios at 1p+ when used for premium flight redemptions. On this basis, you won’t lose any value if you convert in chunks of 60,000 Bonvoy points to Avios before 25th April.
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 25 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 25 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 One Rewards points to someone else for $5 per 1000 and Radisson Rewards points for FREE if you share an address. Marriott Bonvoy lets you transfer 100,000 points per year for free to anyone.
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 25% bonus?
This offer runs until 25th April so you only have a few days to decide.
You can find full details of the offer on ba.com here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.