All of the major hotel points currencies allow you to transfer your points into airline miles. You will often find the airlines encouraging it – every 9-10 months, pre covid, British Airways offered a 25% to 35% transfer bonus when you moved hotel points into Avios.
Today, I wanted to consider if it ever makes sense to transfer hotel points to airline miles.
The starting point for the discussion is that in general, hotel points are best redeemed for hotel stays.
How many Avios would you get for the points cost of a £300 hotel night?
Let’s look at the hotel points I expect you would need for a redemption valued at roughly £300 a night, and how many Avios you would receive if you converted the hotel points instead.
Based on a £300 room you would get roughly the following number of Avios instead:
- Hilton Honors – 80,000-90,000 points = 8,000-9,000 Avios
- IHG One Rewards – 70,000-80,000 points = 14,000-16,000 Avios
- Accor Live Limitless – 17,000 points (for a €340 voucher) = 17,000 Avios in Iberia Plus or 8,500 Avios in British Airways Executive Club
- Marriott Bonvoy – 60,000 points = 25,000 Avios (rate is 3:1 but you get a 5,000 Avios bonus for converting 60,000 points)
- Radisson Rewards – 150,000 points = 15,000 Avios
- World of Hyatt – 25,000-30,000 points = 10,000-12,000 Avios
With the exception of Marriott Bonvoy, where converting to miles is not a bad deal (you get 25,000 Avios for the points usually required for a £300 hotel room), you are generally better leaving large stashes of hotel points where they are.
Assuming you value Avios at 1p each, you are lucky to get 50% of the value of the equivalent hotel room and often a lot worse.
Marriott Bonvoy is the only scheme where I could justify moving my points into airline miles although I would only do this if I needed the miles immediately.
Your personal travel plans also make a difference here
You generally get the best value from hotel points in expensive cities like London or New York. If your travels take you more to Lyon or Newcastle then your hotel points may be worth less to you.
Why? Because most semi-revenue based schemes (Hilton, IHG, Marriott) still have some sort of top-end cap in place. Hilton Honors, for example, rarely goes above 120,000 points per night. IHG has an informal cap of 120,000 points per night, except at luxury resorts. This means you still get outsize value at peak dates in peak cities.
If you also find yourself just a few Avios short of an award, transferring from a hotel programme may be a better deal than buying Avios from British Airways.
If you only have a small amount of hotel points, it is a different game. Apart from Hilton Honors, where you can now use as few as 5,000 points for a cash discount on your next booking, and Radisson Rewards, where any balance can be used for a cash saving, small balances in hotel programmes can be of little use.
You may prefer to tidy up small hotel balances by converting to Avios. If you will never earn enough hotel points for a free room, you might as well convert.
Expiry dates may prompt you to convert
Expiry dates can also be an issue and can prompt a transfer out to an airline. We have dedicated articles looking at the expiry rules of the major hotel schemes:
- Accor Live Limitless expiry rules
- Hilton Honors expiry rules
- IHG One Rewards expiry rules
- Marriott Bonvoy expiry rules
- Radisson Rewards expiry rules
- World of Hyatt expiry rules
Hotels points can be a way to build an airline balance away from Avios
The other thing to remember is that the hotel chains convert to many airlines, often over 20. Marriott Bonvoy has over 40 airline partners. Perhaps you will get more value converting to another scheme?
Marriott Bonvoy is often the only UK partner for a lot of niche airline programmes such as Air Canada Aeroplan and American Airlines AAdvantage. The Marriott Bonvoy American Express is the only way to earn their miles via daily spend as a UK resident.
Here’s my final thought. You can transfer IHG One Rewards points to someone else for $5 per 1000, Hilton Honors points for free via the Points Pooling option and Marriott Bonvoy points for free via their online tool. Hyatt allows you to transfer points for free if both accounts have had a cash stay in the last year.
Perhaps a transfer to someone who can use a larger total to book a better hotel room for themselves is a better deal than a handful of Avios for yourself?
Hotel offers update – December 2023:
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