Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Which airlines let you transfer miles (including Avios) INTO hotel loyalty programmes?

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Almost all hotel loyalty programmes let you transfer you points into selected frequent flyer schemes.  What is far rarer is for a frequent flyer scheme to let you transfer your miles INTO a hotel points programme.

This didn’t used to be the case.  If you go back 15 years, Hilton Honors had quite a few inbound airline partners including American Airlines.  Over the years the deals have fallen away.  

The trend may be reversing, however, with Accor Live Limitless striking multiple transfer deals with frequent flyer schemes in the last couple of years.

Of course, you can book hotels directly with your miles

Booking hotel rooms with Avios:

Many airlines let you book hotels directly using your loyalty points.  You don’t need to transfer them to a hotel loyalty programme before you can use them for a free night somewhere.

You can book hotel rooms with your Avios points via the British Airways hotel portal which can be accessed here.

It is not the greatest deal.  You receive around 0.57p per Avios point when you spend them on hotels this way.  Because these are third-party bookings, you are unlikely to receive any status benefits from the hotel.  You may not even receive points on your food and drink spend depending on the chain.

The other downside is that, because the number of Avios required is based on the cash price that night, there is no arbitrage.  On a busy night you will need more points.  This is not how the better hotel loyalty schemes work.

Booking hotel rooms with Virgin Points:

Virgin Atlantic allows you to redeem your Virgin Points for a selection of hotels offered by Kaligo.com.  I ran through the maths on redeeming Virgin Flying Club points via Kaligo / Ascenda in this article.  

You will get around 0.62p per Virgin Point if you spend them this way (assuming nothing has changed since our 2022 analysis) which is nowhere near as good as a premium cabin flight redemption.

There are also some Branson-owned hotels you can book directly with Virgin Points, including Necker Island.

How to transfers your miles directly into hotel loyalty programmes

As far as I know, these are the transfer options from mainstream European and Middle East frequent flyer schemes which let you earn hotel points by sending over your airline miles:

Virgin Atlantic to Hilton Honors

Full details can be found on the Virgin Atlantic website hereYou will receive 1.5 Hilton Honors points per Virgin Point

Based on my 0.33p valuation of a Hilton point, you are getting 0.5p of value per Virgin Point.  This is a weak deal although, if you received the miles from business travel, you may be insensitive to that.

It is certainly a poor deal if you obtained your Virgin Points via credit card spend, Tesco Clubcard or American Express Membership Rewards transfers, because those miles had an opportunity cost.  The only exception would be if you needed to top up your Hilton Honors balance before a redemption.

Virgin Atlantic to IHG One Rewards

Full details can be found on the Virgin Atlantic website hereThe transfer rate is 1 IHG One Rewards point for 1 Virgin Point.   IHG points can be redeemed for Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, InterContinental, Hotel Indigo etc hotels.

Based on my 0.4p valuation of an IHG One Rewards point, this deal is also not great.

As IHG One Rewards is not an Amex Membership Rewards partner, routing American Express points to Virgin Points to IHG One Rewards points is a potential compromise – albeit one which does not offer the best value for your American Express points.

The following options with non-UK airlines are listed in alphabetical order:

Aegean Miles+Bonus to Accor Live Limitless

This is a very niche one, but I am including it for completeness.

Accor Live Limitless is the Novotel / Sofitel / Ibis / Mercure / Fairmont etc loyalty programme.

You can transfer 2,000 Aegean Miles+Bonus miles into 500 Accor Live Limitless points. You can find out more on the Accor website here.

Finnair Plus to IHG One Rewards

Yes, surprisingly Finnair lets you convert your Finnair Plus points to IHG One Rewards.  Details are here.

As Finnair is a partner with American Express Membership Rewards, this could be another way of indirectly turning Amex points into IHG nights.

Unfortunately, the transfer rate is even worse than the Virgin Atlantic deal.   You need 2 Finnair Plus points for every 1 IHG One Rewards point.

If you happen to have 20,000+ Finnair points sitting unused then this is of course a ‘better than nothing’ way of using them but it is hard to recommend otherwise. 

Finnair Plus to Accor Live Limitless

The details of the Finnair / Accor deal are here.  As with the IHG offer, it offers a complex way of turning Amex points into something new by routing them via Finnair Plus.

It is hard to recommend it unless you have a very small Finnair balance to use up.  It requires 7,000 Finnair Plus points to receive 1,000 Accor Live Limitless points.  The Accor scheme is ‘fixed value’.  2,000 Accor points get you a €40 hotel voucher.  That means you are getting €20 of hotel stay for 7,000 Finnair points which is roughly 0.25p per Finnair Plus point.

Finnair Plus to Nordic Choice Hotels

This is a VERY niche one, but the option is there if you want it.  Details are here.  23,000 Finnair Plus points will get you 7,500 Nordic Choice Club points.

I have no idea if this is a  good deal or not, but might be worth investigating as Nordic hotel prices can be eye-watering at times.  Remember that you could go from American Express Membership Rewards to Finnair Plus to Nordic Choice Club.

Flying Blue to Accor Live Limitless

This is part of a genuinely ambitious partnership between Accor and Flying Blue.  Once registered:

  • When you stay at Accor hotels, you will earn 1 Flying Blue airline mile per €1 – on top of the Accor points you would usually earn
  • When you fly with Air France or KLM, you will earn 1 Accor hotel point per €2 – on top of the Flying Blue miles you would usually earn

You can only be better off by registering for this offer.  As far as I can tell, there is no downside. Even if you have no interest in Flying Blue miles, you can convert them to Accor to earn even more Accor Live Limitless points.

You can also transfer lump sums of Flying Blue miles to Accor.  Unsurprisingly, the rate is not great:

  • 4,000 Flying Blue miles = 1,000 Accor points

This means that you are swapping 4,000 Flying Blue miles for a €20 Accor hotel discount.  This is just 0.5 Eurocents per mile, which is poor.  Of course, if you have Flying Blue miles you can’t use it is better than nothing.

Our full article on the Accor and Flying Blue partnership is here.

Qatar Privilege Club to Accor Live Limitless

Qatar Privilege Club – which now uses Avios as its loyalty currency – also has a two way partnership with Accor Live Limitless.  Once registered:

  • When you stay at Accor hotels, you will earn 1 Avios per €1 – on top of the Accor points you would usually earn
  • When you fly with Qatar Airways, you will earn 1 Accor hotel point per $2 – on top of the Avios you would usually earn

You can only be better off by registering for this offer.  There is no downside. Even if you have no interest in earning Avios from Accor hotel stays (although as a HfP reader you probably do!), you can convert them to back to Accor to earn even more Accor Live Limitless points.

You can also transfer lump sums of Avios (via Qatar Privilege Club) to Accor.  Unsurprisingly, the rate is not great:

  • 4,500 Avios = 1,000 Accor points

If you have no interest in Accor points, you might as well take them if you are buying Qatar Airways tickets for cash. You can always convert them back to Avios.

This is not a good way of using Avios to get free hotel stays. You are swapping 4,500 Avios for a €20 Accor hotel discount, which is just 0.38p per Avios.

Our full article on the Accor and Qatar Privilege Club partnership is here.

Our article on how to link your British Airways Executive Club Avios account and your Qatar Privilege Club Avios account to move points back and forth is here.

Club Eurostar to Accor Live Limitless

Whilst this article is focused on airline schemes, it would be remiss not to remind you that Club Eurostar points can also be transferred to Accor Live Limitless – details here.

It’s also worth mentioning ….

I should also briefly mention the partnership between United Airlines and Marriott Bonvoy, even though this article is in theory restricted to EMEA schemes.  If you have Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status, which is not many people admittedly, you can move up to 100,000 United MileagePlus miles per year into Marriott Bonvoy.  You can learn more about the Marriott and United RewardsPlus partnership in this article.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer has recently launched a partnership with Marriott Bonvoy. The transfer rate of 2:1 from KrisFlyer to Bonvoy is not attractive unless you have expiring Singapore Airlines miles.

For completeness I should note that, on top of the partnerships above, Accor Live Limitless also accepts transfer IN from the following airlines:

  • Azul
  • Hainan Airlines
  • ITA Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM
  • Oman Air
  • Qantas
  • Royal Air Maroc

You can find out more on the Accor website here.

Conclusion

There are a few ways of moving airline miles into hotel points.  The value is generally poor, however, and it is only recommended if you are topping up a hotel account or emptying out an airline one.


Hotel offers update – March 2024:

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

Want to buy hotel points?

  • Hilton Honors is offering an 80% to 100% bonus when you buy points by 12th March 2024. Click here.
  • IHG One Rewards is offering an 80% bonus when you buy points by 7th March 2024. Click here.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 35% to 40% bonus when you buy points by 31st March 2024. Click here.
  • World of Hyatt is offering a 20% discount when you buy points by 9th April 2024. Click here.

Comments (33)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • sandhia shah says:

    I have over 100000 virgin points. Can I transfer to American Express rewards? I have a BA Amex card and Platinum hence use BA really all the time. I know I can transfer the other way ie rewards to virgin but couldn’t find a link to do virgin to rewards? Pls advise

    • Rob says:

      No. But, of course, with Virgin now in SkyTeam and all the Virgin Red redemptions you’re not short of options.

    • QFFlyer says:

      Not to Amex, but in theory you can transfer them to BAEC, by going VS-Hilton or IHG-BA, but it’s terrible value, you’ll lose about 90% of the value of the points.

  • JimmyJimmy says:

    AA let’s you spend their advantage points on hotels via https://hotels.useaamiles.com/

    I have some expiring next year and May not be able to use hence probably use this.

  • Stuart says:

    Rob,
    Why would the transfer rate between Flying Blue and Accor Live Limitless be different depending on the direction?
    FROM Accor Line Limitless TO Flying Blue: 2000 Reward Points = 2000 Miles
    FROM Flying Blue TO Accor Live Limitless: 4000 Miles = 1000 Reward Points
    As you state, the transfer of 4:1 from FB into ALL is bad value, which is annoying to me as I’m sitting on >700k FB Miles but doing far more ALL ibis/Novotel stays (I don’t save for 5* aspirational stays) than flying these days and I’m only a member of FB and ALL (not BAEC etc.).

    • QFFlyer says:

      Because that’s the value they’ve set. It’s bad value, but that’s the whole point.

      • Rob says:

        Because both sides want to book a profit when you transfer, and the only way both can make a profit is if the rate is bad in both directions.

        • Stuart says:

          More wondering why the rate is different in each direction i.e. 4:1 from FB to ALL and 1:1 from ALL to FB rather than being the same.

  • SecretSquirrel says:

    Anything I can transfer AA miles to?

    • Rob says:

      No, but you can book a hotel via the AA hotel booking portal.

  • Ryan says:

    Tip for those that don’t collect many ALL points and want to auto-convert them to Avios (without minimum thresholds):

    Sign up to ALL via BAEC https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/executive-club/collecting-avios/hotels/accor-hotels

    When registered set to auto convert to BAEC. What this does is when you earn ALL points it will automatically credit to Avios in your BAEC account.

    Then link your Qatar Privilege Club membership to ALL https://www.qatarairways.com/en-gb/Privilege-Club/our-partners/accor-post.html

    So now when you do fly Qatar and you earn ALL points those points will auto convert to Avios in your BAEC.

  • JimR says:

    I have around 60,000 United Mileage Plus points that I’ve not used for years as we live in Spain. Have kept them live by making the odd purchase through the shopping portal. My main miles are in Avios and Virgin Atlantic which we use for business class longhaul. Not Bonvoy member. Any way to get them over to Avios or Virgin at a decent rate or using them on partner airlines in Europe? Thanks folks!

    • Rob says:

      United is excellent value for EU to EU flights – the only airline which comes close to matching BA for sensible EU pricing.

      Most treat Europe as one zone, realise that Oslo to Athens is a huge flight, and set stupid pricing which impacts even London to Amsterdam.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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