Thanks to Frequent Flyer Bonuses for sharing this British Airways Avios transfer bonus. Until March 8th, British Airways is offering a 35% conversion bonus from most major hotel loyalty programs, but not all make sense.
Eligible hotel loyalty programs:
• SPG Starpoints
• Marriott Rewards points
• IHG Rewards Club points
• Hyatt Gold Passport points
• Shangri-La Golden Circle Award Points
• Club Carlson Gold points
• Hilton HHonors
How the transfer works
British Airways will add 35% more Avios (points) 4-6 weeks after the hotel points transfer takes place. You can view the hotel point conversion rates to Avios, here, which vary between programs.
There are some fine print details of this promotion which can be found, here. One of the things to pay attention to is the transfer minimums, which also vary by program.
• Club Carlson – 2,000 points
• Hilton Honors – 10,000
• Hyatt Gold Passport – 5,000
• IHG Rewards Club – 10,000
• Marriott Rewards – 10,000
• Shangri-La Golden Circle– 2,500
• Starwood Preferred Guest – 2,500
SPG or Marriott?
Now that SPG and Marriott have begun their merger, you can transfer points between the two programs once you link your accounts. SPG converts to Marriott at 1:3 and Marriott to SPG at 3:1. If you send 30,000 Marriott points over to SPG, you’ll net 10,000 SPG (Starwood) points.
Starwood – SPG has an awesome transfer portfolio of 30 airline partners, British Airways being one of them. On top of a variety of transfer options, SPG will also add a 5,000 point bonus when you transfer in 20,000 point chunks.
With some simple math, 20,000 SPG points (or 60k Marriott points converted to SPG) = 25,000 British Airways Avios (after 5k bonus from SPG), then sprinkle on the 35% hotel bonus. That earns you a total of 33,750 British Airways Avios from just 20,000 SPG points or 60,000 Marriott points. A decent option if you can squeeze out the value of your Avios.
Round-trip to Ireland from US
Aer Lingus is an Ireland based airline and happens to be partners with British Airways. They use an award chart based on actual flight distance since you are spending your Avios in this case. Most airlines are flat-rate based on regions, not the case with Avios. You can catch a non-stop flight from 9 US airports to Dublin, Ireland. (From JFK you can reach Shannon, Ireland as well)
As you can see, zone 5 only requires 13,000 Avios for a one-way economy flight during off-peak (*PDF download). Zone 5 includes all North-East hubs as well as Chicago. Zone 6, at 16,250 Avios one-way, will cover Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, and Miami (which launches in September)
Rates by airport
• JFK – 13,000 one-way off peak – in economy
• BDL – 13,000 one-way off peak – in economy
• EWR – 13,000 one-way off peak – in economy
• BOS – 13,000 one-way off peak – in economy
• ORD – 13,000 one-way off peak – in economy
• IAD – 13,000 one-way off peak – in economy
• LAX – 16,250 one-way off peak – in economy
• SFO – 16,250 one-way off peak – in economy
• MCO – 16,250 one-way off peak – in economy
• MIA – 16,250 one-way off peak – in economy
Off-peak covers about 9 months out of the year, so with some flexibility you can get a great round-trip to Dublin or Shannon. The sweet-spot is that ALL of May and the first half of June are OFF-PEAK. Take advantage of the savings when the weather is great.
Booking Aer Lingus using Avios
You will want to look for award availability on United.com before you start planning your trip. Once on United.com, search for non-stop award travel from one of the 9 airports to Dublin, IE (DUB). Since British Airways is based on the flight distance of each segment, you will need to find non-stop direct flights. It may make sense to use a cheap positioning flight to one of these 9 airports if you live elsewhere.
What to look for on United.com (mandatory):
• Operated by Aer Lingus
• Saver Award – 30k points one-way
Once you find a flight you are happy with, you will need to call British Airways to book the flight using your Avios. Don’t mind the 30,000 United points, remember, you are just looking for flight availability. Reach out to British Airways by phone to book: 1-800-247-9297.
Again, you will need 13,000 Avios off-peak one-way from; JFK, BOS, ORD, IAD, BDL, EWR and you will need 16,250 Avios off-peak one-way from; SFO, LAX, MCO, MIA
If you have 20,000 SPG points or 60,000 Marriott points, you can now score a round-trip from 9 US airports to Ireland. Keep in mind the hotel transfer bonus ends on 3/8/17 and takes 4-6 weeks to post to your account.
Another cool thing. you’ll have either 7,750 or 1,250 Avios left over if you transfer 20k SPG points and use them towards your round-trip to Ireland. (Depending on your departure airport, of course)
The same round-trip referenced above, LAX to DUB, is currently showing a $776 cash price. Considering you’ll pay about $140 in fees on top of your points, that is still great redemption, if you ask me.
20,000 SPG points + $140
Same flight is $776 – $140 in fees (which are already priced into your cash ticket but are paid out-of-pocket when redeeming points)
$636 in savings by redeeming 20,000 SPG points, a stellar 3.1 cents per point in this example (plus some Avios left over)