For a number of years, British Airways (BA) has run a bonus for converting various hotel points currencies to Avios. This promotion comes around roughly every 6-9 months and the latest version launched over the weekend.
You’ll receive a 30% bonus when you convert hotel points to Avios between 1st March 2019 and 31st March 2019.
In the past, we’ve seen bonuses of 25% and even a 35% bonus in September 2017. So this falls in the middle in terms of generosity. Generally speaking, converting hotel points to Avios is a poor proposition.
But should this bonus change your thinking?
Which hotel points programs are participating?
Of BA’s other hotel points partners, Le Club Accorhotels has traditionally always been excluded. Best Western and Melia Rewards are also excluded this time around.
Why you shouldn’t convert hotel points to Avios
The traditional thinking is that it’s best to redeem airline miles for flights and hotel points for hotel stays. Before I expand on that, here’s the ordinary rate for converting hotel points to Avios:
- Hilton Honors – 10,000 points = 1,000 Avios
- Marriott Bonvoy – 1:3 ratio e.g. 30,000 points = 10,000 Avios
- IHG Rewards Club – 10,000 points = 2,000 Avios
- World of Hyatt – 5,000 points = 2,000 Avios
- Radisson Rewards – 2,000 points = 200 points
- Shangri-La Golden Circle – 2,500 points = 2,500 Avios
Here’s why you’re much better off not converting Hilton Honors points to Avios for example.
Here’s a random night at the Conrad Algarve in June:
As you can see, the cheapest cash rate* is £419. Alternatively, you can redeem 80,000 Hilton Honors points for a free reward night.
Hilton Honors points convert to Avios at a 10:1 ratio. Even with this 30% bonus, those same 80,000 Hilton points would get you just 10,400 Avios.
A free hotel night ‘worth’ £420 or 10,400 Avios? I know which one I’m taking!
*that’s not non-refundable/prepaid.
There is one exception when you may be able to justify converting your hotel points to Avios, and that’s Marriott Bonvoy points.
Marriott Bonvoy points convert to Avios at a 1:3 ratio in the following increments (pre-bonus):
- 9,000 Marriott Bonvoy points into 3,000 Avios
- 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points into 10,000 Avios
- 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points into 20,000 Avios
- 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points into 30,000 Avios
- 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points into 40,000 Avios
Remember Marriott throw in a bonus 15,000 points for every 60,000 that you convert to airline miles. Reports suggest that even those extra points attract the 30% bonus. On that basis, 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points would become 32,500 Avios – a pretty decent deal.
How to transfer hotel points to Avios
If you do decide you want to empty out various hotel point balances, here’s how to go about it.
Visit this page on ba.com and log-in to your Executive Club account. There’s no need to register for this offer.
Bonus points can take 4-6 weeks to appear in your BA account. However, when I did make use of a similar promotion a number of years ago, the bonus posted alongside the regular points.
There are a minimum number of points you must convert to be eligible for this bonus:
- Radisson Rewards – 2,000 points
- Hilton Honors – 10,000
- World of Hyatt – 5,000
- IHG Rewards Club – 10,000
- Marriott Bonvoy – 9,000
- Shangri-La Golden Circle – 2,500
You must initiate any transfers by 31 March 2019.
I can’t recommend transferring Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards or Radisson Rewards points to Avios unless you had a strong reason for doing so – even with this 30% bonus. Given the wide range of other collecting opportunities, it shouldn’t be difficult to rack up enough points for a free hotel night which will usually give you far better value for your points.
On the other hand, World of Hyatt and Shangri-La Golden Circle are much more niche programs for UK residents. You may feel that the odds of being able to accumulate a big enough balance for a decent hotel redemption are low. In that case, there is a logic in waiting for a bonus like this one and then converting them to a program such as Avios where you know you can get value from.
If you do want to use this bonus to convert hotel points to Avios, Marriott Bonvoy points are likely your best bet.
The ba.com page detailing this offer is here.