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50% bonus for converting your hotel points to U.S. Airways miles

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Old Mar 12, 12, 2:22 pm
  #31
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
My personal view on these hotel bonuses, which have been popping up a couple of times a year for the last two years, is that unless I have a present or likely near future need for the miles, I won't just do it on spec unless the bonus rate is at least +50 percent for *A or +35 percent for AA. At those rates, I don't mind stockpiling miles and taking points out of a multi-partner program and losing the flexibility. Last year, when US had a 75 percent bonus, I basically cashed out of SPG, because the effective rate was 43,750 US for 20,000 SPG. At less than those rates, I'd rather keep my transferable points flexible. You're talking about actually losing 7.5k miles in the transfer. I wouldn't do it.
Bingo!

People need to evaluate their near term travel plans carefully before being swept into that "bonus offer" frenzy, especially there seems always have bonus between 75% and 100% in MR transfer during the course of a year.

For our own travel pattern, AA miles are the most valuable despite it requires higher level in redemption comparing to US' chart - but AA does not charge fee for almost all changes versus US charges $150 per ticket each time you need / want to change. The premium cabin availability on CX cannot be beat - where else you can find several F seats out from SFO to HKG? I have seen as high as 8 (out of 9 F seats in the 744 F cabin!) being made available. Try that on Star A - never see such thing on SQ, not even 1. ANA is no better. Most you can find is flying OZ or CI... with long layover in undesirable places.

I really hope AA bring back the one and the only 30% bonus transfer from SPG 2 years ago. It never happened before that time, and we had been waiting a repeat for 2 years now to no avail. Sigh.

Last edited by Happy; Mar 12, 12 at 2:27 pm
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Old Mar 12, 12, 2:49 pm
  #32
 
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
If you don't have a planned use, you might be better to just hold on to your Membership Rewards points. In some people's view, MR points aren't as great as they once were, because there aren't many transfer partners who don't charge hefty taxes or fuel charges on redemptions.

People like US miles because US has a good awards chart and can be reliably used for good redemptions for star alliance flights. There is nothing really equivalent that you can transfer your Membership Rewards miles to if you want to book on *A. Aeroplan is a good option, particularly because it permits one-way awards for less than full round trip, but they now impose taxes. ANA and Singapore are also options, but they have some downsides -- I think ANA requires you actually to transfer miles before you can check for availability, for example. Accordingly, people who like to redeem for *A travel will generally prefer US. When UA was an Amex transfer partner, it was easier, but now occasions to get near 1:1 value to US for Amex is rare.

All that said, you need to know what your needs are. You are losing a small number of miles in the transfer, even with this bonus. The best rate you can get by doing Amex to SPG to US is .94 to 1. Also, the only way to maximize the bonus is to do transfers that result in you having 20k chunks in SPG, because you need that amount to get the 5k bonus. So, for example, if you only have 60k MR and you don't have any SPG, the best you can do is transfer MR to SPG at 2:1, which results in 30k SPG. If you transfer all 30k SPG to US, you only get one 5k bonus -- you would need to transfer 40k to get the second 5k bonus. So, you're transferring 35k to US, which nets you 52.5k US. Many would find this to be worth doing. But if you don't have any US to combine them with to book a larger award, you're probably best off just holding the 60k in MR and waiting for the next deal to come along.

My personal view on these hotel bonuses, which have been popping up a couple of times a year for the last two years, is that unless I have a present or likely near future need for the miles, I won't just do it on spec unless the bonus rate is at least +50 percent for *A or +35 percent for AA. At those rates, I don't mind stockpiling miles and taking points out of a multi-partner program and losing the flexibility. Last year, when US had a 75 percent bonus, I basically cashed out of SPG, because the effective rate was 43,750 US for 20,000 SPG. At less than those rates, I'd rather keep my transferable points flexible. You're talking about actually losing 7.5k miles in the transfer. I wouldn't do it.
Can't thank you enough for the detailed explanation!
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Old Mar 12, 12, 9:34 pm
  #33
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Originally Posted by thehonestaviator View Post
Has anyone done HAwaiian air to Hilton Honors to US air?
It should be doable although there might be a major conversion loss.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 11:31 pm
  #34
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Originally Posted by ironchef16 View Post
Thanks OP! Just turned 80K MR points to 75K US miles
Can you please tell how much time it took for SPG to US transfer?
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Old Mar 13, 12, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by gv111 View Post
It should be doable although there might be a major conversion loss.
If I'm reading the site correctly, it says 10K HHpoints for 850 miles. That's an awful rate, you're correct. 150K HHpoints = 12,750 miles?
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Old Mar 13, 12, 2:02 pm
  #36
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Yes, that is the reason I hedged in my post and said that this is good in certain situations. For me, I have a very clear plan for the US Airways miles (two F tickets to North Asia without fuel surcharges), and this got me 37,500 miles closer. Combined with (hopefully) the 2012 Grand Slam and a miles purchase, I will have enough miles to make my plan happen. None of Amex's current partners enthused me, and I was not 100% sure of what to do with the MR points, so this worked well for me to remove my MR points. Also (not directed at you Happy), anyone viewing a MR point similarly to all other units needs to look at their valuations. Anyone claiming one HHonor point is equal to an MR point really needs to check their math, or share their secret with the rest of us!

Originally Posted by Happy View Post
Bingo!

People need to evaluate their near term travel plans carefully before being swept into that "bonus offer" frenzy, especially there seems always have bonus between 75% and 100% in MR transfer during the course of a year.

For our own travel pattern, AA miles are the most valuable despite it requires higher level in redemption comparing to US' chart - but AA does not charge fee for almost all changes versus US charges $150 per ticket each time you need / want to change. The premium cabin availability on CX cannot be beat - where else you can find several F seats out from SFO to HKG? I have seen as high as 8 (out of 9 F seats in the 744 F cabin!) being made available. Try that on Star A - never see such thing on SQ, not even 1. ANA is no better. Most you can find is flying OZ or CI... with long layover in undesirable places.

I really hope AA bring back the one and the only 30% bonus transfer from SPG 2 years ago. It never happened before that time, and we had been waiting a repeat for 2 years now to no avail. Sigh.
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Old Mar 14, 12, 3:43 pm
  #37
 
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Whether it makes sense to convert depends on whether you have a particular need for US miles.

If you just need *alliance miles to fly on US, UA or its many other members, you can hold onto your MR and SPG points and transfer them when necessary.

MR converts 1-1 to Aeroplan miles, which in turn can be used 1-1 on US flights. Ikar correctly points out that Aeroplan imposes fuel surcharges, but in my experience, this is is not so when the Aeroplan miles are used on a domestic carrier, like...US.

In December I transferred MR-Aeroplan to purchase a US domestic RT with something like $10 in cash. In a delightful policy quirk, Aeroplan charged nothing for my last minute booking (two days ahead), whereas had I used my US miles, they would have charged $75.
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Old Mar 15, 12, 7:38 am
  #38
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Originally Posted by travel light View Post

MR converts 1-1 to Aeroplan miles, which in turn can be used 1-1 on US flights. Ikar correctly points out that Aeroplan imposes fuel surcharges, but in my experience, this is is not so when the Aeroplan miles are used on a domestic carrier, like...US.

In December I transferred MR-Aeroplan to purchase a US domestic RT with something like $10 in cash. In a delightful policy quirk, Aeroplan charged nothing for my last minute booking (two days ahead), whereas had I used my US miles, they would have charged $75.
Excellent post, and very informational. Much to be gleaned here by those who read the lines, then in between them. Thanks!
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Old Mar 15, 12, 3:44 pm
  #39
 
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
If you don't have a planned use, you might be better to just hold on to your Membership Rewards points. In some people's view, MR points aren't as great as they once were, because there aren't many transfer partners who don't charge hefty taxes or fuel charges on redemptions.

People like US miles because US has a good awards chart and can be reliably used for good redemptions for star alliance flights. There is nothing really equivalent that you can transfer your Membership Rewards miles to if you want to book on *A. Aeroplan is a good option, particularly because it permits one-way awards for less than full round trip, but they now impose taxes. ANA and Singapore are also options, but they have some downsides -- I think ANA requires you actually to transfer miles before you can check for availability, for example. Accordingly, people who like to redeem for *A travel will generally prefer US. When UA was an Amex transfer partner, it was easier, but now occasions to get near 1:1 value to US for Amex is rare.

All that said, you need to know what your needs are. You are losing a small number of miles in the transfer, even with this bonus. The best rate you can get by doing Amex to SPG to US is .94 to 1. Also, the only way to maximize the bonus is to do transfers that result in you having 20k chunks in SPG, because you need that amount to get the 5k bonus. So, for example, if you only have 60k MR and you don't have any SPG, the best you can do is transfer MR to SPG at 2:1, which results in 30k SPG. If you transfer all 30k SPG to US, you only get one 5k bonus -- you would need to transfer 40k to get the second 5k bonus. So, you're transferring 35k to US, which nets you 52.5k US. Many would find this to be worth doing. But if you don't have any US to combine them with to book a larger award, you're probably best off just holding the 60k in MR and waiting for the next deal to come along.

My personal view on these hotel bonuses, which have been popping up a couple of times a year for the last two years, is that unless I have a present or likely near future need for the miles, I won't just do it on spec unless the bonus rate is at least +50 percent for *A or +35 percent for AA. At those rates, I don't mind stockpiling miles and taking points out of a multi-partner program and losing the flexibility. Last year, when US had a 75 percent bonus, I basically cashed out of SPG, because the effective rate was 43,750 US for 20,000 SPG. At less than those rates, I'd rather keep my transferable points flexible. You're talking about actually losing 7.5k miles in the transfer. I wouldn't do it.
Thank you Ikar
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Old Mar 15, 12, 6:04 pm
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
But if you don't have any US to combine them with to book a larger award, you're probably best off just holding the 60k in MR and waiting for the next deal to come along.
Just to add to my post above, I note that another such deal has just come along. Amex announced today a 50 percent bonus on transfers to British Airways. So, if you are sitting on 60k Amex, you could transfer them to SPG and then to US and get 52.5k miles. Or, you could transfer them directly to British Airways and get 90k miles.

Obviously, BA miles aren't right for everyone. Some think they are terrible now, given some recent devaluations and the fact that they charge pretty hefty fuel charges. Others have found amazing uses for BA miles -- like west coast to HI, which can be had if you plan it right for 25k round trip.

I can't answer whether 52.5k US is better than 90k BA. It's a personal choice that depends on your needs. The point is that 60k Amex can actually be pretty valuable when the right deal comes along, confirming the advice not to jump at 55k US just to do it.
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Old Mar 15, 12, 6:10 pm
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My personal choice would be 52.5K US over 90K BA miles. BA miles have -literally- no routing flexibility (so if there's no award space on your desired routes on your desired dates, be prepared to pay big). Unless you live in a major OW hub and can take non-stops wherever you need, connections can be very costly. And that's not considering the already-inflated award chart and horrific fuel surcharges.
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Old Mar 16, 12, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
...amazing uses for BA miles -- like west coast to HI, which can be had if you plan it right for 25k round trip.
I read from multiple sources that the best use of BA miles is for west coast to Hawaii, short-haul domestic flights and US to South America.

1. Why short-haul only? What about transcontinental LAX-NYC using BA Avios? What about LAX to Caribbean and LAX to Tahiti using BA?

2. What is the best redemption value for US Airways miles?

Thanks,
Jim
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Old Mar 16, 12, 3:34 pm
  #43
 
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Originally Posted by Ftusa View Post
I read from multiple sources that the best use of BA miles is for west coast to Hawaii, short-haul domestic flights and US to South America.

1. Why short-haul only? What about transcontinental LAX-NYC using BA Avios? What about LAX to Caribbean and LAX to Tahiti using BA?

2. What is the best redemption value for US Airways miles?

Thanks,
Jim
1. The program is distance based so shorter is better. Transcon NYC-LAX is not an added value... it will cost 25K miles RT in coach.
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Old Mar 16, 12, 3:47 pm
  #44
 
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Originally Posted by infamousdx View Post
1. The program is distance based so shorter is better. Transcon NYC-LAX is not an added value... it will cost 25K miles RT in coach.
Also worth adding that BA loses value considerably if you can't find a nonstop to meet your needs, because it prices each segment separately. So, if you can find nonstop award availability on LAX to JFK, you can get it for 25k RT. If you have to book it, for example, through DFW, it goes up to 40k RT.

Originally Posted by Ftusa View Post
What about LAX to Caribbean and LAX to Tahiti using BA?
I'm not sure about Tahiti. Caribbean isn't bad from LAX or anywhere you can fly nonstop to Miami. For example, to PLS with Avios from LAX, it would be 12.5k from LAX to MIA and then 4.5k from MIA to PLS. This same itinerary would be 17.5k using AA miles, though, so it's not a huge benefit -- although with the current promo of 50k for Amex, it's a better deal. If you can't get to MIA and have to fly through DFW, it's 20k one way. If you are going much farther than PLS, it starts not to make sense -- PAP is, for example, 7500 from MIA.

Last edited by lkar; Mar 16, 12 at 3:57 pm
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Old Mar 16, 12, 3:48 pm
  #45
 
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Originally Posted by infamousdx View Post
1. The program is distance based so shorter is better. Transcon NYC-LAX is not an added value... it will cost 25K miles RT in coach.
When you combine BA's short-haul redemption cost (9K RT for less than 650 miles) with the tendency of domestic airlines to charge more in cash for such short-haul trips (I've long been able to fly from ORF to the West Coast for much cheaper than I could fly to Savannah, GA, for instance), BA's recent redemption revisions work in your favor. Domestic airlines, except for Southwest and certain discounts given for holders of an airline's credit card on certain routes (AA runs quarterly discounts of as much as 7.5K miles to certain destinations), price an award redemption of 650 miles the same as a transcontinental redemption: at least 25K miles.
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