Last chance: Transfer hotel points to British Airways Avios with a 35% bonus

Dec 2, 2019

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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 a bonus may sound good, the standard transfer rates are usually so poor that making these transfers still won’t make sense even with the bonus.

But sometimes opportunities can arise from transfer bonuses, and one of those ends today. So, if you haven’t taken advantage of this offer, this is your last chance before it goes away. Through December 2 — although British Airways doesn’t say which time zone — you’ll get a 35% bonus when you transfer hotel points into British Airways Avios.

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There’s a catch that keeps this promotion from being useful for clearing out small, unwanted hotel point balances: You have to transfer a minimum number of hotel points to get the bonus. The minimum transfer requirement depends on the hotel program:

  • Best Western — 5,000 points
  • IHG Rewards Club — 10,000 points
  • Marriott Bonvoy — 9,000 points
  • MeliaRewards — 100 points
  • Radisson Rewards — 2,000 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. Let’s break it down for you. When deciding if to transfer points, you’ll obviously want to give up as little value as possible. Although the IHG 5:1 ratio is worse than the Marriott 3:1 ratio, Marriott Bonvoy points (0.8 cents each) are more valuable than IHG points (0.5 cents each).

Here’s how this breaks down for each of the hotel programs:

Transfer Partner Value
of Points
Bonus Value Given Up
per Avios received
IHG Rewards 0.5 5:1 35% 1.85
Amex Membership Rewards 2.0 1:1 N/A (for reference) 2.0
Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.0 1:1 N/A (for reference) 2.0
Best Western 0.7 5:1 35% 2.59
Radisson Rewards 0.4 10:1 35% 2.96
MeliáRewards n/v 10:3 35% n/v
Shangri-La n/v 1:1 35% n/v

(Point values in this chart are based on TPG’s latest monthly valuations.)

Considering Avios are valued at 1.5 cents each in TPG’s latest valuations, none of these options stand out as an especially good deal. The 35% bonus offer makes transferring IHG Rewards points one of the best options, but you’re still giving up around 1.85 cents of value per Avios received — a 23% premium over our Avios valuation.

But, there’s a partner left off of the chart above and it offers the best opportunity: Marriott Bonvoy. And that’s because Marriott provides a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points.

Marriott points 60,000
Conversion ratio 3:1
Base Avios 20,000
Plus: 5k bonus from Marriott 5,000
Avios transferred from Marriott 25,000
Plus: 35% bonus from BA 8,750
Total Avios transferred 33,750

When maximized, you can end up with 1 Avios per 1.78 Marriott points transferred. At current TPG valuations, Marriott points are worth 0.8 cents each vs. Avios worth 1.5 cents each. So, transferring 60,000 Marriott points (worth $480) to 33,750 Avios (worth $506) is a good opportunity.

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 need 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).

Related: The best ways to earn British Airways Avios

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 Marriott or even IHG points can make a lot of sense. Otherwise, I’d only recommend transferring hotel points that you otherwise wouldn’t use.

Featured image by Ryan Patterson / The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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