Now through November 30, 2012 United is offering a transfer bonus of up to 15,000 miles when you transfer points from various hotel programs. When you convert enough points for 50,000 United miles, you earn the full 15,000 bonus miles – a 30% bonus. The bonus miles should post by January 31.
Here’s how the bonus miles are awarded. MileagePlus members can earn the following bonus miles when they convert their hotel points into miles in the following increments:
5,000 – 9,999 miles will earn 1,000 bonus miles
10,000 – 19,999 miles will earn 2,500 bonus miles
20,000 – 49,999 miles will earn 5,000 bonus miles
50,000 miles or more will earn 15,000 bonus miles
You don’t need to get all your miles from transferring from a single hotel program – the bonus will be awarded on the total number of United miles converted from hotel points transfers until November 30, so you can mix and match and get rid of some extra points floating around in random programs that you don’t intend to use.
Here are the conversion rates for each hotel chain:
Club Carlson Conversions: Club Carlson members may convert Gold Points into miles at a ratio that varies from between 8 points to 1 mile and about 5.5 points to 1 miles, so to score the full bonus, you’d need to convert 300,000 points and you’d end up with 54,000 miles plus the 15,000-mile bonus.
Marriott Conversions: Marriott Rewards members can convert Marriott Rewards points into award miles in the following increments:
- 10,000 points to 2,000 miles
- 20,000 points to 5,000 miles
- 30,000 points to 10,000 miles
- 70,000 points to 25,000 miles
- 125,000 points to 50,000 miles
So it would take 125,000 points to earn the full bonus.
Starwood Conversions: SPG members may convert Starpoints into miles at a ratio of two points to one mile, so you’d need 100,000 for this option – not this is different from transferring SPG points into your mileage account since you would only need 40,000 points to receive 50,000 United miles with a transfer.
- 8,000 points to 3,200 miles
- 17,500 points to 7,000 miles
- 30,000 points to 12,000 miles
So to earn 50,000 United miles, you’d need to transfer 125,000 points.
Is This A Good Deal?
The short answer is: no, not really. Although I value United miles pretty highly, the 15,000-mile bonus isn’t that interesting, especially considering the 100% bonus on US Airways miles going on until October 31 that makes buying Star Alliance miles for a low 1.1 cent each. But for instance, if you wanted to get this bonus transferring Hyatt points, you’d need 100,000 total, and you’d end up with 65,000 United miles. Those 100,000 points would be nearly enough for 5 award nights (at 22,000 points each) in a top-tier Hyatt property like the newly reopened Park Hyatt Sydney, where rooms can go for north of $700 per night, and you wouldn’t even have enough miles for a first class redemption from North America to Europe like the 67,500 United miles I used for my Lufthansa first class flight over the summer.
To take an even starker example, with this conversion rate, you’d need 100,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points to earn 65,000 United miles. However, with Starwood’s normal transfer ratio of 1:1 with other partner airlines like US Airways, you would need just 55,000 points to earn 65,000 US Airways – or transfer 60,000 points and earn 75,000 miles thanks to the 5,000-mile bonus on transfers of 20,000 points. Then you can redeem those US Airways miles the same way you would United miles on Star Alliance partner flights. You’d be saving 35,000 Starpoints – one of the most valuable points currencies in my opinion – and getting 10,000 more miles out of it.
As always, do the math and figure out whether this promotion makes sense for you and your needs, and whether those United miles are worth more to you than the hotel points you’d be giving up.
Here are the rest of the official rules for this promo:
Eligibility: Offer valid only for MileagePlus® members residing in the United States.
Registration: To qualify for this offer, members must register for the promotion between October 26, 2012 and November 30, 2012 (“Promotional Period”).
Qualifying Activity: A member must earn a combined minimum of 5,000 award miles as a result of one or more points to miles conversion transactions from any combination of MileagePlus hotel partner programsthat are conducted during the Promotional Period (“Qualifying Activity”) in order to qualify for MileagePlus Hotel Points-to-Miles bonus miles.
Posting of Promotional Miles: At the conclusion of the promotion, all miles earned by each member from Qualifying Activity will be combined, and bonus miles will be credited into the member’s account on or before January 31, 2013, according to the following schedule:1,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 5,000 and 9,999;or 2,500 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 10,000 and 19,999;or 5,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 20,000 and 49,999;or 15,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is 50,000 or greater.No bonus miles will be awarded if total Award Miles earned by such member from hotel points converted during the Promotional Period is less than 5,000. The maximum bonus miles that can be earned by a member under this promotion is 15,000. MileagePlus will not be responsible for technical problems with partner miles postings, or failures or delays in miles postings by hotel partners, that would render any points to miles converted as ineligible under this promotion.
General: This offer is not combinable with other MileagePlus offers. Offer subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply. Miles accrued, awards, and benefits issued are subject to change and are subject to the rules of the United MileagePlus program. Please allow 6-8 weeks for miles to post to your account. United may change the MileagePlus program including, but not limited to, rules, regulations, travel awards and special offers or terminate the MileagePlus program at any time and without notice. Bonus award miles, award miles and any other miles earned through non-flight activity do not count or qualify for Premier status unless expressly stated otherwise. United and its subsidiaries, affiliates and agents are not responsible for any products and services of other participating companies and partners. Taxes and fees related to award travel are the responsibility of the member. The accumulation of mileage or Premier status does not entitle members to any vested rights with respect to the program. United and MileagePlus are registered service marks. For complete details about the MileagePlus program, go to www.united.com.