Last chance: Get a 25% bonus when transferring hotel points to American Airlines miles

Oct 28, 2019

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While the most well-known hotel-to-airline transfer program is Marriott Bonvoy, a number of airlines have partnerships with hotel loyalty programs that let you transfer hotel points into airline miles. While it’s rarely a good value, it can be useful for cleaning out hotel points that you can’t use or to top off an airline account if you’re just shy of a great redemption.

Back in mid-September, American Airlines launched a 25% bonus when transferring hotel points from four hotel programs to the American Airlines AAdvantage program. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this promotion, you only have a few days left. Members need to register and transfer points by Oct. 30, 2019.

The number of hotel points transferred and miles received depends on the program that you are transferring from:

  • Best Western: 5,000 Best Western Rewards points = 1,000 1,250 AAdvantage miles
  • Choice: 5,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,000 1,250 AAdvantage miles
  • IHG: 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points = 2,000 2,500 AAdvantage miles
  • Marriott: 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 31,250 AAdvantage miles (after 5,000-mile bonus from Marriott)

While Hilton, Hyatt and Wyndham points also transfer to AAdvantage, these programs aren’t participating in this bonus promotion.

This promotion’s terms and conditions note that the 25% bonus miles “will be posted to your AAdvantage account within 7 business days after the initial conversion activity has been posted by the participating hotel partner.”

American Airlines will let you hold an award flight for up to five days. However, if the 25% bonus actually takes seven business days to post, you won’t be able to count on those bonus miles to complete your award reservation. So, if award availability is tight, you might want to transfer enough to cover the whole redemption.

Marriott’s Hotel + Air packages aren’t as lucrative as before, and this promotion doesn’t make it any better. The T&Cs note that “conversions for hotel and air packages from hotel partners aren’t included for this offer.”

Is transferring hotel points to American Airlines worth it?

While a 25% bonus sounds good, the conversion rates from hotels to AAdvantage miles aren’t very good to start with. So, you’re going to need a valuable AA redemption and/or a low personal valuation of your hotel points in order to make this promotion worth utilizing. This promotion can also be useful to clear out smaller hotel point balances.

Let’s dig into the numbers to see just how these transfers end up when incorporating the 25% bonus. And because some programs have multiple tiers of potential point transfers, we’re using the smallest transfer amount that has the best transfer rate in this chart.

Value columns are based on TPG valuations and are rounded to the nearest dollar, but the “Change in Value” column is based on un-rounded data:

Hotel program Hotel Points AA Miles (after bonus) Value of
Hotel Points
Value of
AA Miles
Loss
in Value
Best Western 5,000 1,250 $35 $17.50 50%
Choice Privileges 5,000 1,250 $30 $17.50 42%
IHG Rewards Club 10,000 2,500 $50 $35 30%
Marriott Bonvoy 30,000 12,500 $240 $175 27%
Marriott Bonvoy 60,000 31,250 $480 $437.50 9%

As you can see, based on TPG valuations, you’re going to lose value from these transfers. However, Marriott provides the best option. Combining the standard 5,000 bonus mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points with this 25% bonus, you’ll end up with 31,250 AA miles for transferring 60,000 Marriott points.

Also, as you can see, you only have to transfer a small amount of Best Western, Choice or IHG points to get the 25% transfer bonus. So, this transfer bonus offers the opportunity to clear out small hotel point balances with these programs.

Finally, this transfer bonus can make sense when you need to top off your AAdvantage account for an awesome award — such as 60,000 AA miles for business class to Japan or Korea; 12,500 AA miles for off-peak awards to Aruba, Barbados, Cabo, Cancun or Costa Rica or 70,000 AA miles for Qatar Qsuite to the Middle East or Indian subcontinent.

Featured photo of Qatar’s A350 business class by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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