Here’s When It Makes Sense to Transfer Hotel Points to British Airways Avios With 30% Bonus

Mar 4, 2019

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Airline and hotels will periodically try to entice members to transfer points into their loyalty programs by offering a transfer bonus. While a bonus may sound good, the standard transfer rates are usually so poor that making these transfers still won’t make sense even with the bonus.

But sometimes opportunities can arise from transfer bonuses, and today we’re seeing some potential from utilizing a new British Airways Avios transfer bonus. Now through March 31, you’ll get a 30% bonus when you transfer hotel points into British Airways Avios.

There’s a catch that keeps this promotion from being useful for clearing out small, unwanted hotel point balances: You have to transfer a minimum number of hotel points in order to get the bonus. The minimum transfer requirement depends on the hotel program:

  • Marriott Rewards — 9,000 points
  • Hilton Honors — 10,000 points
  • IHG Rewards Club — 10,000 points
  • World of Hyatt — 5,000 points
  • Radisson Rewards — 10,000 points
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle — 2,500 points

The standard transfer ratio varies between these hotel programs, so figuring out if this bonus is a good deal takes a bit of math. Let’s break it down for you. When deciding if to transfer points, you’ll obviously want to give up as little value as possible. Although the IHG 5:1 ratio is worse than the Hyatt 2.5:1 ratio, Hyatt points (1.7 cents each) are a lot more valuable than IHG points (0.5 cents each).

Here’s how this breaks down for each of the hotel programs:

Transfer Partner Value
of Points
Bonus Value Given Up
per Avios received
IHG Rewards 0.5 5 : 1 35% 1.85
Amex Membership Rewards 2.0 1 : 1 N/A (for reference) 2.0
Chase Ultimate Rewards 2.0 1 : 1 N/A (for reference) 2.0
Radisson Rewards 0.4 10 : 1 35% 2.96
World of Hyatt 1.7 2.5 : 1 35% 3.15
Hilton Honors 0.6 10 : 1 35% 4.44

(Point values in this chart are based on TPG’s latest monthly valuations.)

Considering Avios are valued at 1.5 cents each in TPG’s latest valuations, none of these options are especially enticing. The 35% bonus offer makes transferring recently-devalued IHG Rewards points one of the best options, but you’re still giving up around 1.85 cents of value per Avios received — a 23% premium over our Avios valuation.

But, there’s a partner left off of the chart above and it offers the best opportunity: Marriott Bonvoy. And that’s because Marriott provides a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points.

Marriott Points 60,000
Conversion ratio 3:1
Base Avios 20,000
Plus: 5k Bonus from Marriott 5,000
Avios Transferred From Marriott 25,000
Plus: 30% bonus from BA 7,500
Total Avios Transferred 32,500

When maximized, you can end up with 1 Avios per 1.85 Marriott points transferred. At current TPG valuations, Marriott points are worth 0.9 cents each vs. Avios worth 1.5 cents each. So, transferring 60,000 Marriott points (worth $540) to 32,500 Avios (worth $488) isn’t a big loss in value.

And the math doesn’t have to change much for this to make sense. If you value Marriott points at 0.8 cents each instead — valuing Avios at 1.5 cents each — it’s an even trade. Or if you have a potential Avios redemption at higher than 1.5 cents, it can definitely make sense to transfer Marriott points.

The terms and conditions aren’t available for this deal at this time, but in past versions of this transfer bonus, BA has warned that “Bonus Avios can take 4-6 weeks to show on your account from the date of conversion.” So, make sure you don’t have an immediate need for these bonus Avios.

If you’re in need of British Airways Avios quickly for a redemption, there are more immediate sources of points: British Airways is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards (instantaneous transfer time) and Chase Ultimate Rewards (instantaneous transfer time).

Whether or not you should take advantage of this promotion depends heavily on how you’ll use your British Airways Avios. If you’ve got plans for a high-value redemption, transferring Marriott or even IHG points can make a lot of sense. Otherwise, I’d only recommend transferring hotel points that you otherwise wouldn’t use.

H/T: Frequent Miler

Featured image by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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