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25% bonus on hotel points to United MileagePlus: should you convert them?

by on Mon August 3, 2015 • 2 Comments
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United MileagePlus is running a promotion through August 31 that gives you a 25% mileage bonus on hotel points you convert into MileagePlus miles, up to 20,000 miles added as a bonus to your account.

You can turn hotel points from Marriott, Hilton,  Carlson, Choice, IHG, Hyatt, Starwood, Wyndham, and Shangri-La hotels into United miles.

Do you want to do this?

The exchange rates are pretty bad for most of the hotel partners, but if you’re just short of the miles you need for an award with United MileagePlus, and have a bunch of hotel points lying around, then yes it’s worth doing, especially if you don’t tend to use your hotel points often.

But if you’re swimming in United miles, you want to be more strategic and there are a couple of situations where you might want to do a transfer even if you have plenty of United miles and aren’t just shy of an award.

Here are the general exchange rates for each program (though most have a minimum number of points required for a conversion, usually about 1,000):

  • Starwood Preferred Guest (2 points = 1 mile)
  • Hilton HHonors (10 points = 1 mile)
  • IHG Club (5 points = 1 mile)
  • Club Carlson: (10 points = 1 mile)
  • Hyatt Gold Passport (2.5 points = 1 mile; extra 5,000 mile bonus when you convert 50,000 points)
  • Choice Privileges: (5 points = 1 mile)
  • Wyndham Rewards: (5 points = 1 mile)

Marriott is a bit more complicated because it has different rates based on how many points you transfer in:

  • 8,000 points to 2,000 miles (2,500 United miles with bonus)
  • 16,000 points to 5,000 miles (6,250 United miles with bonus)
  • 24,000 points to 10,000 miles (12,500 United miles with bonus)
  • 56,000 points to 25,000 miles (31,250 United miles with bonus)
  • 112,000 points to 50,000 miles (62,500 United miles with bonus)

And Marriott is where you can find the most opportunity.

We tend to value Marriott points at about 0.7 cents each, but to be generous let’s call it 1 cent.

And depending on how you use your MileagePlus miles they can be worth 2 cents or more. For example, a $1,200 ticket to Europe for 60,000 miles gets you 2 cents in value. So transferring 112,000 Marriott points worth about $1,120 in hotel stays nets you 62,500 United miles worth about $1,200 in flights.

And if you have trouble finding Marriott properties you like, or don’t get 1 cent in value from your Marriott points this is a great exchange and worth doing proactively.

The 24,000, 56,000 and 112,000 point transfer levels have the most favorable exchange rates and are worth trying, but the lower levels aren’t as favorable.

Can you max this out?

United is letting you earn a maximum of 20,000 miles from the promotion, so with a 25% bonus on hotel points converted to miles you would max it out by converting enough points to get 80,000 miles, which would net you 100,000 total (80,000 + 20,000).

You could transfer a total of 184,000 Marriott points (16,000 + 56,000 + 112,000) to net 100,000 miles, including the maximum 20,000 mile bonus. That boosts the estimated value from $1840 to $2,000, a 9% increase.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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2 thoughts on 25% bonus on hotel points to United MileagePlus: should you convert them?

  1. HORACE

    I think you may have missed one very good opportunity with Marriott Rewards. Marriott offers what are known as their travel packages where the basically bundle FF miles in with a hotel points award for a give category you select.

    When doing so, the hotel points often can translate into a 1:1 transfer for the FF mile. That is a good deal, in and of itself and better than the straight hotel points to FF miles transfer you outlined above.

    However, with this promotion, I believe that those FF miles that are now bundled with the vacation package are subject to this bonus, and therefore, you are getting even more value for your hotel point.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Horace – Yes indeed, if you have a really big balance and can take advantage those air + hotel packages are the very best deals.

      Reply

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