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Right now there are a pair of bonuses for converting hotel points into airline miles. Both of these offers look to be targeted.
Through April 22, 2019, you can get a 30% or 35% bonus for hotel points converted into Air Canada Aeroplan miles. And I got an email offering a 20% bonus for converting hotel points into Etihad miles now through April 30, 2019.
In most cases, transferring hotel points to airline miles is a bad deal. But if you’ve got Marriott points these deals could be worthwhile.
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Hotel Points Transfer Bonuses – Great for Marriott Points Transfers
When you convert hotel points to airline miles, the transfers usually aren’t instant. They can take days or sometimes weeks. So if you need to book an award right now, this isn’t going to be helpful.
Here are the key terms for each targeted transfer bonus.
- Valid for transfers made between April 1 to April 30, 2019
- Bonus miles will be awarded within 15 working days from the end of the promotion
- You can see the full terms of the promotion here
Transfers from these programs qualify for the bonus:
- Valid on transfers made through April 22, 2019
- The total amount of hotel points transferred must equal 5,000+ Aeroplan miles to qualify for the bonus
- You can see the full promotion terms here
Transfers from these hotel programs qualify:
Note: Marriott excludes its travel packages from transfer bonuses. So these bonuses only apply to straight Marriott points to airline miles conversions.
Good Deal or Not?
As far as using hotel points for award flights goes, these are solid deals. But in general, the transfer ratios from hotels to airlines are terrible – in many cases 10:1. That means that even if you only value certain hotel points at .4 cents each, you’d need to get 4 cents per airline mile to match the value. So usually it only makes sense to convert hotel point into airline miles if you’re just shy of the number of miles you need for a specific award.
But Etihad and Aeroplan both have decent award charts and good partner award options. And Marriott points normally convert to airline miles at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. So if you transfer in 60,000 Marriott point increments and take into account either of these bonuses, you’re getting a ratio of 2:1 or better.
Let’s take a look at a few options for using these transfer bonuses to get to Europe.
Aeroplan charges the following for a one-way award from Canada or the continental US to Europe:
- 30,000 miles in Economy to Europe 1 (Western Europe, including Italy & Germany)
- 55,000 miles in Business Class to Europe 1
- 37,500 miles in Economy to Europe 2 (Eastern Europe, including Russia & Turkey)
- 57,500 miles in Business Class to Europe 2
Aeroplan allows you to book up to 2 stopovers or 1 stopover and 1 open-jaw per round-trip award from North America to Europe. A stopover is a stop in a city for 24+ hours. An open-jaw is when you fly into one city and fly out of another city.
If you’re able to book a round-trip award and take advantage of Aeroplan’s generous routing rules, then transferring to Aeroplan is a solid deal with this bonus offer.
But tickets to Europe have been cheaper recently. And the best value is going to be for Business Class or First Class flights, which would take a huge amount of Marriott points. So your best bet for those awards is to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points or Capital One Miles and then use Marriott points to top-off your account if need be.
One thing to pay attention to with Aeroplan is that they add on fuel surcharges to awards with certain partners and on their own flights. But you can avoid these fees by flying with partners like Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Croatia Airlines, or Brussels Airlines.
Etihad has a different award chart for each of their partners. Here are a few great options for award flights to Europe:
- 20,000 miles in Economy (off-peak) on American Airlines
- 50,000 miles in Business Class on American Airlines
- 22,000 miles in Economy Class on Royal Air Maroc
- 44,000 miles in Business Class on Royal Air Maroc
- 44,000 miles in Business Class on Brussels Airlines
The routing rules vary a bit for each partner. For example, you are allowed to add a stopover on award flights with Air Europa, American Airlines, or SAS. But they aren’t allowed with other partners like Alitalia, Brussels Airlines, or Czech Airlines.
Because Etihad isn’t part of an alliance, you can’t book more than one partner on an award flight. So that does limit your connection options.
For Brussels Airlines you could fly from Toronto, Washington, DC, or New York (JFK) to Brussels. And with Royal Air Maroc you could fly to Europe through Casablanca from Washington, DC, or New York. And they are adding routes from Miami and Boston, too.
Even though the Etihad transfer bonus is smaller, it is a better deal. That’s especially if you can find a Business Class award to book. You could book a one-way Business Class award with Brussels Airlines or Royal Air Maroc for 95,000 Marriott points. Those flights could easily cost $2,500 to $3,500, which gets you a value of ~2.63 to ~3.68 cents per Marriott point.
That’s an exceptional use of Marriott points, even if you have to pay $100 to $200 in fees for the award ticket. You can also transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points, and Capital One miles to Etihad.
Converting hotel points to airline miles is almost always a bad deal because the conversion ratios are horrendous.
The one exception is Marriott points, which transfer to dozens of airlines at a 3:1 ratio. And with these bonuses, it can be a lucrative option, especially if you can find a good Business Class award with low fees.
If you were targeted for either of these bonus offers, do you plan on taking advantage of it?
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