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Airline and hotels will periodically try to entice members to transfer points into their loyalty programs by offering a transfer bonus. While bonus miles can sound good, the standard transfer rates are usually so poor that making these transfers still won’t make sense even with the bonus.
That said, sometimes opportunities can arise from transfer bonuses, and today we’re seeing some potential opportunities from utilizing a new British Airways Avios transfer bonus. Now through March 31, you’ll get a 35% bonus when you transfer hotel points into British Airways Avios.
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
- World of Hyatt — 5,000 points
- IHG Rewards Club — 10,000 points
- Marriott Rewards — 10,000 points
- Shangri-La Golden Circle — 2,500 points
The standard 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
per Avios received
|Club Carlson||0.4||10 : 1||35%||2.96|
|Hilton Honors||0.6||10 : 1||35%||4.44|
|World of Hyatt||1.8||2.5 : 1||35%||3.33|
|IHG Rewards||0.6||5 : 1||35%||2.22|
|Amex Membership Rewards||1.9||1 : 1||N/A (for reference)||1.90|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||2.1||1 : 1||N/A (for reference)||2.10|
(Point values in this chart are based on TPG’s latest monthly valuations.)
Considering British Airways Avios are valued at 1.5 cents per Avios in our latest valuations, none of these options are especially enticing. The 35% bonus offer makes transferring recently-devalued IHG Rewards points one of the better options, but you’re still giving up around 2.22 cents of value per Avios received — a 48% premium over our Avios valuation.
But, there’s a partner left off of the chart above and it offers the best opportunities, 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 other for Marriott Hotel + Air packages. Combined, here’s how these charts factor into this promotion:
|Value of Avios
|200,000||50,000||67,500||$1,800||$1,013||7-night stay (Cat 1-5 hotel)|
|220,000||70,000||94,500||$1,980||$1,418||7-night stay (Cat 1-5 hotel)|
|250,000||100,000||135,000||$2,250||$2,025||7-night stay (Cat 1-5 hotel)|
|270,000||120,000||162,000||$2,430||$2,430||7-night stay (Cat 1-5 hotel)|
The 35% transfer bonus isn’t enough to make the fixed value transfers worth doing. However, the math changes quite a bit when you factor in being able to get a 7-night Marriott hotel stay in addition to Avios through a Marriott Hotel + Air package option. If you transfer 270,000 Marriott points, you’re getting an approximately equivalent value of Avios — with a free seven-night stay at a Marriott hotel to boot.
If you need more Marriott points to hit these high transfer requirements, remember that Starpoints transfer to Marriott points at a 1:3 conversion rate. Even if you’re starting with zero Marriott points, you can effectively turn just 90,000 Starpoints into 162,000 Avios and a 7-night stay at a Marriott hotel by utilizing the Starwood-to-Marriott conversion combined with the Air + Hotel package during this 35% bonus promotion.
Let’s see where this opportunity can take you. For just 90,000 Starpoints / 270,000 Marriott points, you can get the 7-night Marriott hotel stay plus one of the following:
- Six round-trips on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines from the West Coast nonstop to Hawaii utilizing the 12,500 Avios one-way sweet spot.
- Six round-trips on Aer Lingus from the Northeast to Ireland during off-peak times — or four round-trips during the summer.
- Five round-trips on Aer Lingus from Florida or California to Ireland during off-peak times — or three round-trips during the summer.
- Five domestic round-trips in American Airlines first class (including lie-flat options)
- Three round-trips in Iberia premium economy between the US and Europe
- 18 round-trips on short-haul non-US routes, like on Cathay Pacific between Hong Kong (HKG) and Taipei (TPE), Malaysia Airlines between Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Singapore (SIN) or intra-Japan flights on Japan Airlines
And, if you need more Starpoints to make this happen, the sign-up bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card From American Express just jumped to 35,000 points.
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 at least 250,000 Marriott points for a Marriott Hotel + Air package can make a lot of sense. Otherwise, I’d only recommend transferring hotel points that you otherwise wouldn’t use.
H/T: Frequent Miler
Featured image by Scott Barbour/Getty Images.
There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.
- Limited time offer! Earn 35,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $7,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Offer ends 3/28/18.
- Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint® for all other purchases.
- Redeem Starpoints® for free nights at over 1,300 hotels & resorts in over 100 countries and for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights. Some hotels and resorts may have mandatory service charges.
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