United MileagePlus is offering up to a 25% bonus when you convert hotel points into MileagePlus miles by November 30, 2014 and they post to your MileagePlus account by December 5, 2014.
Through this promotion you earn 20% bonus miles on all transfers worth 5,000 or more miles, up to a total of 25,000 bonus miles (meaning you can earn the bonus on at most 125,000 miles). Registration is required by December 5, 2014. The bonus miles will post to eligible MileagePlus accounts by January 31, 2015.
MileagePlus has eight eligible hotel partners, including:
- Choice Privileges
- Club Carlson
- Hilton HHonors
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- Shangri-La Golden Circle
- Wyndham Rewards
Noticeably absent is Starwood Preferred Guest. MileagePlus partners with Starwood Preferred Guest, though at an especially bad transfer ratio. While you can convert Starpoints into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio for a vast majority of partners, for United MileagePlus the transfer ratio is 2:1. My guess is that this is due to United’s close relationship with Chase, while Starwood has a close relationship with American Express.
It is interesting that Starwood is specifically excluded, even though the transfer ratio is bad to begin with.
Of the eight transfer partners, seven represent a bad value.
The one transfer partner that could potentially make sense with this promotion is Marriott Rewards. Last July, Marriott and United announced RewardsPlus, which I suppose was their response to the Crossover Rewards being offered by Delta and Starwood.
The best use of Marriott points is for Hotel + Air Packages, whereby you can redeem points for a set number of free nights plus a set number of miles.
When you select United MileagePlus as the partner for the miles, the transfer ratio is even 10% better, given their partnership:
In other words, if you spend 250,000 Marriott Rewards points on a seven night Category 1-5 package, you’d get seven nights at a Category 1-5 property plus 110,000 miles (usually you’d just get 100,000 miles, but there’s the 10% bonus).
Then on top of that you’d get a 20% mileage bonus, for a total of 132,000 MileagePlus miles. That’s not bad at all!
For comparison, Aeroplan is offering up to a 25% bonus on partner conversions including Marriott Rewards, so through that 100,000 mile travel package you’d earn a total of 125,000 miles.
So I wouldn’t go out of my way to redeem Marriott Rewards points to take advantage of this, but if you were going to book a Hotel + Air Package, this is about as good as it gets.