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British Airways just kicked off a new transfer bonus. Now through March 8, you’ll get a 35% bonus when you transfer hotel points into British Airways Avios. However, this offer comes with a catch that keeps it from being useful for clearing out small hotel point balances: You have to transfer a minimum number of hotel points in order to get the bonus.
The minimum transfer requirement depends on the hotel program:
- Club Carlson — 2,000 points
- Hilton HHonors — 10,000 points
- Hyatt Gold Passport — 5,000 points
- IHG Rewards — 10,000 points
- Marriott Rewards — 10,000 points
- Shangri-La Golden Circle — 2,500 points
- Starwood Preferred Guest — 2,500 points
The transfer ratio varies between these hotel programs. So, figuring out if this bonus is a good deal takes a bit of math:
|Bonus|| Value Given Up
|Club Carlson||0.4||10 : 1||35%||2.96|
|Hilton HHonors||0.5||10 : 1||35%||3.70|
|Hyatt Gold Passport||1.8||2.5 : 1||35%||3.33|
|IHG Rewards||0.7||5 : 1||35%||2.59|
|Starwood Preferred Guest||2.7||1 : 1.25
|Amex Membership Rewards||1.9||5 : 4||N/A||2.38|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.1||1 : 1||N/A||2.10|
Of these partners, Starwood is the best option. If you transfer 20,000 SPG Starpoints (worth $540 according to TPG’s most recent valuation), you’ll get the standard 5,000 transfer bonus from Starwood — meaning 25,000 Avios will hit your British Airways account in about five days. After the 35% bonus is applied, you’ll end up with a total of 33,750 Avios from this transfer. Transferring increments of 20,000 Starpoints, this means you’re getting a 69% transfer bonus.
However, based on TPG’s most recent valuation of British Airways Avios (1.5 cents each), these 33,750 Avios are worth ~$506. So, despite this seemingly great bonus, you’re still losing value on paper. But, if you maximize British Airways’ distance-based charts or utilize sweet spots on partner flights, you can end up with a lot more than 1.5 cents in value from your Avios.
But, there’s a partner left off of the chart above, and it offers some of the best options — especially at higher transfer rates. Marriott and British Airways have two transfer charts, one for transfers of fixed values between 10,000 and 140,000 points and the Marriott Hotel + Air Package. Combined, here’s how these charts factor into this promotion:
|Value of Avios
*Plus a seven-night stay at a Marriott Category 1-5 hotel
If you’re planning to use the seven-night hotel stay, you can get incredible value out of the Marriott Hotel + Air Package option. If you transfer 270,000 Marriott points, you’re getting an approximately equivalent value of Avios — plus a free seven-night stay at a Marriott hotel.
Note that the terms and conditions warn that “Bonus Avios can take 4-6 weeks to show on your account from the date of conversion.” So, make sure you don’t have an immediate need for these bonus Avios. If you’re in need of British Airways Avios quickly for a redemption, there are more immediate sources of points: British Airways is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards (instantaneous transfer time) and Chase Ultimate Rewards (instantaneous transfer time).
Whether or not you should take advantage of this promotion depends heavily on how you’ll use your British Airways Avios. If you’ve got plans for a high-value redemption, transferring Starpoints (in increments of 20,000 points) or transferring at least 250,000 Marriott points for a Marriott Hotel + Air Package can make a lot of sense. However, we wouldn’t recommend transferring hotel points to British Airways speculatively during this promotion. Apart from Marriott and Starwood, the other participating hotel programs don’t provide a good value due to unfavorable transfer ratios.
H/T: One Mile At A Time
Featured image courtesy of British Airways.
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