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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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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)