United is offering bonus miles for hotel points transfers (registration required) through November 30, 2012, with the following bonus thresholds:
The bonus is cumulative, meaning the thresholds are based on total points transfers from all programs. In other words, you can transfer the equivalent of 25,000 United miles from two hotel programs and earn the highest threshold bonus of 15,000 MileagePlus bonus miles.
In most cases this isn’t a great deal — Hilton points convert to United miles at a 10:1 ratio, Hyatt points convert to United miles at a 2.5:1 ratio (or 2:1 in certain increments), Starwood points convert to United miles at a 2:1 ratio, Priority Club points convert into United miles at a 5:1 ratio, etc. I don’t think any of those are even remotely good deals.
There are two circumstances where I see this potentially making sense:
1) Marriott’s “Flight and Hotel Packages”
One of the best use of Marriott points are their “Flight and Hotel Packages,” whereby you can redeem points for seven nights at a hotel plus airline miles. One of their partners is United, and their entry level package includes 50,000 miles, which in this case would net you 65,000 United miles with the bonus.
2) Transferring Wyndham points
Wyndham points convert to United miles at a 2.5:1 ratio. While it’s not a great use of Wyndham points, they are running a pretty amazing promotion right now whereby you can earn 16,000 bonus points for a free night, and if you were planning on converting your points to airline miles, this only sweetens the pot.
Just my two cents — this isn’t a great promo on the whole, but in the above two circumstances it could work in your favor.