25% Bonus On Hotel Points Transfers to American Airlines Miles

Feb 22, 2014

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Apart from Starwood Preferred Guest, whose points you can transfer to 31 airline partners, many other airlines and hotels partner so that you can convert hotel points into airline miles. Usually this isn’t a great idea because the conversion rate means cutting the value of your hotel points – sometimes quite drastically. SPG is a great option because points transfer to most partners at a 1:1 ratio and you get a 5,000-point bonus on 20,000-point transfers, which is a nice 25% bonus on top. However, Starwood is the exception to the rule, and it doesn’t make much sense to do this a lot of times unless you have a few orphaned points and want to use them to top up your frequent flyer account. There are some times you might want to consider it, though, including when airlines offer hotel point conversion bonuses, as Aeroplan has several times in the past year.

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Now through March 31, 2014, American Airlines is offering a 25% bonus on hotel point transfers into members’ AAdvantage accounts. There’s no need to register, you just have to go to the transfer page and make a transfer. Note: the 25% bonus does not apply to the following partners: Starwood Preferred Guest, Hyatt Gold Passport, Melia Hotels International & Resorts, La Quinta Inns & Suites and Langham Hospitality Group. The terms of the transfer bonus also specifically exclude flight/hotel packages, so no maximizing it with Marriott’s Hotel + Air packages where points transfer to miles at 1:1.

Per the transfer page, here are the conversion rates:

Participating Hotels

Best Western International
5,000 Best Western Rewards points = 1,000 AAdvantage miles
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Choice Hotels
5,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,000 AAdvantage miles
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Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands
10,000 Hilton HHonors points = 1,500 AAdvantage miles
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InterContinental Hotels Group
10,000 IHG Rewards Club points = 2,000 AAdvantage miles
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10,000 Marriott Reward points = 2,000 AAdvantage miles
20,000 Marriott Reward points = 5,000 AAdvantage miles
30,000 Marriott Reward points = 10,000 AAdvantage miles
70,000 Marriott Reward points = 25,000 AAdvantage miles
140,000 Marriott Reward points = 50,000 AAdvantage miles
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Carlson Rezidor Hotels
2,000 Club Carlson Gold Points = 200 AAdvantage miles
10,000 Club Carlson Gold Points = 1,000 AAdvantage miles
50,000 Club Carlson Gold Points = 5,000 AAdvantage miles
100,000 Club Carlson Gold Points = 10,000 AAdvantage miles
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Wyndham Hotel Group
6,000 Wyndham Rewards points = 1,200 AAdvantage miles
16,000 Wyndham Rewards points = 3,200 AAdvantage miles
30,000 Wyndham Rewards points = 6,000 AAdvantage miles

So as you can see, the normally dismal transfer ratios are…well, slightly less dismal. I’d really only use this if you had some orphaned hotel points you knew you absolutely weren’t going to put to use at another time. One other thing you could consider, though again, it is probably not worth it in most cases, is that you can use this as a backdoor to convert Chase Ultimate Rewards points to American Airlines. Let me stress – this is not a great transfer ratio, and I’d only take advantage of it if you needed some AA miles in a hurry and had tons of extra Ultimate Rewards points to burn.

If you have the Ink Plus, Ink Bold or Sapphire Preferred, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to both IHG and Marriott (of the hotels participating in this promo). Then you could convert either of those kinds of points into American Airlines miles at a ratio of 10 points to 2.5 miles (including the 25% bonus). What I might consider is if you had earned 5X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on the Ink Bold or Ink Plus at office supply stores, then you’re at least getting 1.25 American miles per $1 you’d spent, but even then, you’re really hacking away at that 5X category spending bonus. Still, something to consider if you’re desperate for AA miles and don’t have other options.

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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