Which Hotel Points Transfer to Airline Miles (But Is It a Good Idea?)
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Million Mile Secrets reader, TB, commented:
Hi Daraius, There are some hotel and airline chains in which you can transfer points/miles to points/miles and vice versa for 1:1 or 1:2 or better ratio. What site can I go to to know what hotel or airline accepts transferred points/miles from other hotels or airlines?
Great question! You can NOT transfer airline miles from 1 airline to another. And you can NOT transfer hotel points between hotel programs. But it is possible to transfer hotel points to airline miles.
Let’s 1st look at transferring hotel points to airline miles. And later we can take a look at transferring airline miles to hotel points.
I’ll explain how to do it. And if it’s ever a good idea to make the transfer!
Hotel Programs That Let You Transfer Points to Airline MilesYou can convert hotel points to airline miles with the following hotel programs:
- Best Western Rewards
- Choice Privileges
- Club Carlson
- Hilton HHonors
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- IHG Rewards Club
- La Quinta Returns
- Marriott Rewards
- Starwood Preferred Guest
- Wyndham Rewards
You should only transfer hotel points to airlines partners under a few circumstances. In general, you will get a terrible transfer ratio. The best way to use your hotel points is to use them for hotel stays.
But you may prefer to accept the transfer ratio and receive airline miles. Keep in mind that for most of these programs, the transfer can take up to 4 to 6 weeks.
Exchanging hotel points for airline miles might be a good idea if:
- You have no interest in future stays at that hotel chain
- The hotel program suddenly loses value and you can no longer use the points
- You are close to an award flight and need the extra miles, and are NOT in a hurry to receive them
- You’ve decided to move on to another hotel program and want to clear out your account
- The points are going to expire, and you don’t have a stay planned before it happens
Hotel Chains and Their Partner Airlines, by ProgramNote: The Miles & More Program includes the following airlines: Adria, Air Dolomiti, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Germanwings, LOT, Lufthansa, Luxair, and Swiss. To keep it simple, I noted this as “Lufthansa.” [table id=184 responsive=scroll responsive_breakpoint=phone /]
Best Western Rewards
This is a smaller program with relatively few airline partners. In exchange for 5,000 Best Western Rewards points, you will get 1,000 miles with Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Asiana. You will receive 1,600 miles with Aeromexico and 1,200 miles to fly with Southwest.
Best Western award stays start out at just 8,000 points. And 1,000 miles isn’t very many.
I’d recommend leaving the points in your account and saving up to get the free night. You’ll earn 10 points for every $1 spent with Best Western, and the points never expire. So you won’t have to worry about ever losing them.
There are different earning rates for the hotels included in the Choice Privileges program.
And their points do expire. The terms and conditions say:
Choice Privileges points expire on December 31, two years after the year in which they were deposited into your account unless forfeited or canceled earlier due to membership inactivity or otherwise in accordance to these rules and regulations.
So if you know you will not have a stay before your points expire, it is worth it to at least gain some airline miles. And this is true for all the hotel programs with expiration dates.
The transfer ratio is similar to Best Western, and they have a good range of partner airlines. But only make the transfer if you’re sure you won’t stay more nights at a Choice hotel.
The transfer ratio is 10:1 across the board. That means for 2,000 Club Carlson points, you’ll only receive 200 airline miles. And for 50,000 Club Carlson points, you’ll only get 5,000 miles!50,000 Club Carlson points is enough for an award night in a Category 5 or Category 6 hotel, like the Radisson Blu Royal in Brussels, Belgium.
Considering that rates can be ~$300 a night, you’re much better off redeeming your Club Carlson points for award nights. And the 5,000 miles you’d get if you transferred to an airline wouldn’t even be halfway to a 1-way flight in most mileage programs!
Hilton HHonorsHilton HHonors has ~40 airline partners. Most of them have transfer ratios of 10:1 to 20:3. And like Club Carlson, you’ll get more value out of using the points for free stays at Hilton hotels.
Say you have 50,000 Hilton points. Depending on the transfer partner, you’ll get anywhere from 5,000 to 7,500 airline miles if the transfer ratio is 10:1 or 20:3.
50,000 Hilton points is enough for a free stay at a Category 8 Hilton hotel, like the Conrad Miami. This is the off-peak rate.
You would save over $300 by redeeming your Hilton points!
I’d rather have the Hilton points than the airline miles. Unless they are going to expire.
That said, if you don’t have plans for a Hilton stay, you could still get good value from 50,000 Hilton points by transferring them to airlines.
For example, you’d get 5,000 British Airways Avios points if you exchange 50,000 Hilton points. That’s more than enough for a 1-way, short-haul coach ticket on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines! And depending on the route, these tickets can be worth $200+.
This could be a good option for folks with lots of Hilton points!
Hyatt Gold Passport
Hyatt is my favorite hotel chain for award stays. Award bookings start at just 5,000 Hyatt points per night, which is an incredible deal.
You can stay at a hotel like the Grand Hyatt Santiago for just 8,000 Hyatt points per night. It would otherwise cost you $264!
Emily and I have enjoyed Hyatt so much (see our top 5 favorite stays) that I can’t imagine transferring those points to airlines. But YOUR situation might be different!
The transfer ratio of most of Hyatt’s airline partners is 5:2. You’ll receive 2,000 miles for every 5,000 Hyatt points exchanged (exceptions are noted in the table above).
And Hyatt gives a 5,000 mile bonus when you convert 50,000 Hyatt points. Getting an extra 10% is great. But the best value is still to use your Hyatt points on award stays.
IHG Rewards ClubIHG Rewards Club is the points program of 1 of the largest hotel chains in the world. But they make it hard for you to transfer their points to airline partners. And it’s NOT a good deal!
You can only transfer in increments of 10,000 points. For most of their partners, this will get you 2,000 airline miles.
10,000 IHG points is enough for a 1-night stay at a Category 1 hotel, like the Candlewood Suites in Jacksonville, Florida. It’s also enough for 2 nights at an IHG hotel on the quarterly PointBreaks list, which can be an amazing value!
Also, in order to transfer the points to a partner airline, you must call IHG. And even then, it takes 4 to 6 weeks to get the miles!
With so many hotels in so many countries, I recommend saving points for a free night. As long as you have activity in your account once per year, your points will NOT expire.
And if you have elite status with IHG, points never expire. Even better, you can book award stays easily on the IHG website.
La Quinta ReturnsLa Quinta Returns is a small loyalty program with 5 airline partners. You will receive a 6:1 transfer ratio with Aeromexico, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Frontier Airlines. For Southwest, it goes down to just 10:1. All transfers start at 6,000 points, and will get you 1,000 miles with all airlines except Southwest. With a limited number of hotels, and very few hotel partners, it’s not as useful a program as the others. Points do NOT expire as long as you have activity in your account every 18 months.
If you have La Quinta points and have no stays planned before they expire, you might want to take the airline miles. But if you think you’ll have a La Quinta stay in the future, use the points for free stays instead.
With Marriott Rewards, the number of miles you get depends on how many Marriott points you transfer. And different partners have different ratios.
In general, the more Marriott points you transfer, the better the ratio. The best deal is with United Airlines, which recently partnered with Marriott.
Another use is to take advantage of Marriott’s Air + Hotel package. Ratios of 1:1 are possible, but you must transfer a LOT of points to get the deal.
I recommend NOT transferring your Marriott points to partner airlines for miles. The rules are complex, and besides, there are better ways to use them!
Starwood Preferred Guest
And when you transfer Starwood points to most of the ~30 partner airlines, you’ll not only get a 1:1 ratio, but you’ll also get an extra 5,000 miles when you transfer 20,000 Starwood points. That’s an extra 25%!
I’ve also written about Nights & Flights, which can be a fantastic way to use Starwood points.
Of course, you can also stay at a Starwood hotel.Starwood Preferred Guest hotels include Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, Sheraton, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W brand hotels.
With each of these options, you can get Big Travel with Small Money!
This is the 1 program where you can get good value out of transferring your hotel points to airline miles.
Just be sure you have an award redemption in mind, and make sure that you are getting more value from the airline miles than you would for a hotel stay. Also remember that transfers can take up to ~4 weeks, depending on the airline partner.
Wyndham RewardsWyndham Rewards has a limited number of airline partners, but a straightforward transfer policy. All partners have a 5:1 ratio, and all of them start at 6,000 Wyndham points.
However, Wyndham has a history of devaluing their transfers to airline partners without notice. Add to this the poor transfer ratio, and you may want to only use your Wyndham points on Wyndham award stays. They expire after 4 years, so you should have plenty of time to save up for an award night.
Wyndham recently updated their award chart. Now, all hotels are 15,000 Wyndham points. So there are no categories to think about!
Pick a hotel that’s usually expensive, and use your points to stay there for free!Note: Folks who are trying to get the Southwest Companion Pass can get a better value from transferring Wyndham points (and Choice points) to Southwest. That’s because these transfers DO count towards earning the Companion Pass.
And once you have the Companion Pass, your Southwest points are worth almost double! Because your companion flies with you for almost free on paid and award tickets!
Bottom LineYou CAN convert your hotel points to airlines miles. But most of the time, it’s NOT worth it!
There are a few situations where you might consider it. Like if your hotel points are about to expire. Or if you’ve decided to move to a different hotel program.
But most of the time, it’s best to stick with award stays for your hotel points. The major exception is the Starwood Preferred Guest program. That’s because you get 5,000 bonus airline miles when you transfer 20,000 Starwood points.
The other exception is Marriott’s Air + Hotel package, which can offer ratios of 1:1. But you have to transfer a LOT of points!
For most other cases, save your hotel points for free nights for yourself or your loved ones!
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Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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