Buy British Airways Avios For 1.45 Cents Each

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Through July 5, 2016, British Airways is offering a 35% bonus when you convert hotel points into Avios (British Airways is doing a horrible job promoting this offer, but it’s available on the Executive Club Offers page, and shouldn’t be targeted).

British-Airways-Avios-Bonus

The promotion is described as follows:

35% bonus Avios will be awarded to customers who convert hotel points to Avios. Convert Starpoints, Marriott Rewards points, IHG Rewards Club points, Hyatt Gold Passport points, Shangri-La Golden Cirlce Award Points, Club Carlson Gold points and Hilton Hhonors points between 20 June and 5 July 2016.

In order to be eligible for the offer, you have to convert at least the following number of hotel points in any given program to British Airways Executive Club:

  • Club Carlson – 2,000 points
  • Hilton HHonors – 10,000
  • Hyatt Gold Passport – 5,000
  • IHG Rewards – 10,000
  • Marriott Rewards – 10,000
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle– 2,500
  • Starwood Preferred Guest – 2,500

No registration is required, though bonus Avios will post within 4-6 weeks of the date of conversion.

Does it make sense to convert hotel points into airline miles?

In general, converting hotel points into airline miles isn’t a good value. However, there are a couple of programs where it could make sense:

Convert Starpoints into Avios

Starpoints convert into British Airways Executive Club Avios at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get 5,000 bonus Avios. So if you transferred 20,000 Starpoints you’d usually get 25,000 Executive Club Avios, and then through this promotion you’d get a further 8,750 Avios, for a total of 33,750 Avios.

So that’s potentially like earning ~1.69 British Airways Executive Club Avios per Starpoint.

Earn Avios with Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages

Another good option is Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages, of which British Airways is a partner.

Aeroplan-Points

Through Hotel + Air Packages you receive a set number of free nights plus a set number of miles as part of the package. These packages are in my opinion the best use of Marriott Rewards points to begin with, so the value only gets better when you add in a potential conversion bonus.

To put this into perspective, seven nights at a Category 1-5 property plus 100,000 miles will run you 250,000 Marriott Rewards points.

If you did that, you’d earn a total of 135,000 Avios, plus seven free nights at Category 1-5 properties.

Buy British Airways Avios for 1.45 cents each

Earlier I posted about how Starwood Preferred Guest is selling Starpoints for a 30% discount.

Starpoints convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. You could purchase 20,000 Starpoints for $490.

Purchase-Starpoints

Those 20,000 Starpoints could be converted into 25,000 British Airways Executive Club miles. Then you’d receive a further 35% bonus on transferred points, for a total of 33,750 British Airways Avios. That’s a cost of ~1.45 cents per Avios, which could definitely be worthwhile for many, given British Airways’ lucrative award chart for shorthaul travel.

Bottom line

In general you’re best off using hotel points for hotel stays, and using airline miles for flights. However, in the above cases it could make sense to convert Starpoints or Marriott Rewards points into Avios.

If you’re just looking for Avios but don’t want to use existing hotel points, the current opportunity to buy Starpoints for 30% off presents a great opportunity, since it allows you to pick up British Airways Avios for ~1.45 cents each.

(Tip of the hat to Frequent Flyer Bonuses)

Comments

  1. @ Modern Day Sinbad:

    If that’s 1 pence out of a UK Pound Sterling, that’s about 1.45 US pennies.

    It’s not THAT difficult to redeem Avios for shorthaul at 2-3 US cents per Avios. For a 7500 Avios coach redemption (flight length less than 1152 miles), that’s an airfare of around $150-225 one way on American or Alaska. That’s not a particularly unusual airfare to pay one way.

    For a Hawaii coach redemption on the US West Coast, you’re paying 12500 Avios, which is better than any other USA-based mileage scheme, and one-way coach fares of ~$250 or more (2+ cpm) aren’t all that unusual.

    That being said, there are some major caveats (if you aren’t flying to or from an American/Alaska hub and need to add a segment, Avios value goes down very fast, and now that Avios charges 4xY for domestic F, domestic F is usually a terrible value for redemption, and so on). It’s a small arbitrage that’s nice, not a “WOW YOU CAN FLY EK F FOR THIRTY HOURS FOR A THOUSAND BUCKS” splashy kind of frequent flyer arbitrage deal.

  2. Other than short haul economy (where the Y fare is really expensive) , there are no good deals with avios. I value them max 1cent/mile.

  3. Anybody know if exchanging some hotel points would extend the expiration of my existing Avios points?

  4. @eponymous coward, I agree, there can be times when you can make an Avios redemption for 2cents. But I find those to be getting fewer and fewer opportunities.

    I have a stash of Avios that I haven’t been able to burn at a good rate because either I was getting way better value out of another currency like Alaska air booking CX J flights. And for some of the short haul redemptions I was finding $70 one ways up and down the west coast which earned miles too. But that is not to say I will give up on Avios, I have just been having a hard time finding flights that were good value to use the Avios for.

    I value at about 1cpm Avios, and I think Lucky recently valued at 1.3. So this may not be a time when you should rush out and buy SPG to get this deal, but for some special cases it could be useful to top off an account for a specific award you may have.

  5. Avios for Iberia can be a steal, especially with Off – Peak and Business class.

    I just booked Iberia direct flight ORD to Madrid for 17,000 + $84.30 blue economy and 34,000 + $95.58 for Business class. Iberia wants $2,505/$6,042 for these flights. The cheapest flight (with connection though) is $698/$1,992 to be more reasonable. Even at that level with crappier flight and connection, it is more than 3.5 – 6 cents per Avios.

    Iberia Avios a steal in this case and in many cases internationally.

    Now I have more family wanting to go and just checked when last Amex transfer bonus was and found Lucky with this post when googling…..SPG are 1.87 cents to buy via income taxes payments….SPG is a steal to get the transfer bonus here and use for Iberia. Instead 1.45 cents, that makes them 1.1 cents….in speculative territory even.

    Also, what I find strange is you can buy Iberia points in essence for 1 cents a point for economy ticket (cash and points), but that are charging 2.1 cents for business class cash and points. So you just need a minimal amount if flying economy and can buy the rest cheap.

  6. @ Paul

    Per BA website:
    “You don’t have to worry about losing your Avios. They won’t expire if you collect, spend, buy or transfer at least one Avios every 36 months.”

  7. Don’t get why BAEC get such a bad rap, love it as secondary program for redeeming on CX short hauls intra-Asia.

  8. @Tall Paul, if you recently purchased IHG points with the 100% bonus, it is NOT worth it, in comparison. Price was/is $57.50 for 10,000 IHG points. The exchange is 5:1 so that translates to 2000 Avios. With the 35% transfer bonus, that bumps it up to 2700 Avios. $57.50 / 2700 Avios = 2.13 cents per Avios, or ~50% more expensive than the SPG transfer deal (1.45 cents per Avios).

  9. Caveat emptor!!! I did the transfer. Transferred 32,500 starpoints hoping to receive 32,500 + 5k starpoint bonus + 35% ( 13,125) avios. = 50.6K avios. I received 43,875 from BA ~8 days later. Tricked!

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