Dec072009

Hotel Loyalty Program Comparative Tables for International Airlines Points-to-Miles Conversion

Many people prefer airline miles over hotel points. I understand the value equation when your air miles are used for Business and First Class travel, but I have a hard time seeing the value in exchanging 20,000 Starpoints for 25,000 miles to redeem a domestic economy class airline ticket.

When grandma wants to see her grandkids for the summer vacation, a handful of airline tickets may have more benefit than a week in a luxury hotel room. Travelers have different needs.

Hotel points to miles exchanges allow a hotel loyalty program member to convert hotel points into frequent flier miles.  Major hotel loyalty programs including Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest offer this option for points-to-miles conversion. In general, you can only transfer hotel points to a frequent flyer account where both accounts are in your same name. You cannot move your points into another person’s frequent flyer account.

Marriott Rewards offers the best exchange ratio for points-to-miles conversion across a broad spectrum of airlines when compared to other hotel loyalty programs, particularly with its Hotel + Air packages where the hotel points-to-miles ratio is an even 1:1 conversion.  Hyatt Gold Passport shows the next best overall points-to-miles exchange program.

Exchange rates differ between hotel loyalty programs for points-to-miles exchanges, although, as seen in the tables there is a cluster of similar exchange rates for Hyatt, IHG, and Starwood. The conversion rates for Hyatt and Starwood remain remarkably close, even up to both programs offering 25% bonus miles when converting large blocks of points-to-miles.

Hotel-points-to-airline-miles is one-way exchange route.

Hotel-points-to-airline-miles is a one-way exchange route. Conversions are not allowed in the reverse direction from airline-miles-to-hotel-points.

Hilton HHonors has the competitive edge of the five hotel loyalty programs compared in these tables in being the only hotel loyalty program to offer a conversion of airline-miles-to-hotel-points with a relatively good rate of exchange for several airline partners; American Airlines being the most prominent transfer partner among the major US airlines.

The international airline tables I have put together for hotel-points-to-airline-miles conversion shows a higher degree of variability than the domestic airlines. Some prominent international airlines do not partner with one or more of the hotel programs. Several international airlines available for points-to-miles conversion with one of more of the major hotel loyalty programs have not been included in the tables for this post.

I have included an explanation regarding Hilton HHonors at the end of this post to address the Points & Miles feature of the HHonors program. The tables below show HHonors at or near the bottom for the poorest exchange ratio in points-to-miles transfers with nearly every airline. Hilton HHonors members have the ability to earn miles through hotel stays in addition to points in real hotel travel, but the strict conversion of points-to-miles is not a favorable rate when compared to the other major hotel loyalty programs.

My Loyalty Traveler advice for Hilton HHonors members is earn your miles from hotel stays and save your HHonors points for better value opportunities.

Hotel Loyalty Program Points-to-Miles Links

Hyatt Gold PassportAirline Partners. Lufthansa is a Hyatt airline partner for earning miles, however, the Terms & Conditions for Hyatt Gold Passport Points-to-Miles Terms and Conditions specifically excludes Lufthansa and airline partners in Miles & More from points-to-miles participation.

Hilton HHonors – Points for Miles

InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club – Points to Miles

Marriott Rewards – Air Mileage Rewards

Starwood Preferred Guest – Transfer Starpoints to Miles

The Loyalty Traveler tables shown are informational only and before conducting a transfer between programs you should contact the programs directly for the most up-to-date guidelines and restrictions, as information is subject to change at any time. 

A great resource for checking conversion rates between more than 70 hotel, airline, credit card and other loyalty programs is through Randy Petersen’s WebFlyer Mileage Converter. I haven’t checked all my tables through the Mileage Converter, but the dozen or so I checked matched up. That is good news for both of us since the results were independently derived. The tables I have made are good for comparative data across hotel chains. The Mileage Converter is better for accurate conversions between any two loyalty programs and also provides the user with several options for points and miles exchange conversion routes.

Domestic Airline Conversion tables are in Part 1 for Alaska, American, Continental, Delta/Northwest Skymiles, Southwest, United Airlines, and US Airways.

International Airlines Hotel-Points-to-Frequent-Flier-Miles Conversion Tables

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Air New Zealand Airpoints
  • ANA – All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • LAN Airlines LanPass
  • Miles & More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, LOT Polish)
  • Qantas Airways
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • South Africa Airways Voyager
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hotel Loyalty Program Conversion Points-to-Miles with Aeromexico

Hotel Loyalty Program Conversion Points-to-Miles with Aeromexico

  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport; Starwood Preferred Guest
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Hilton HHonors
Air Canada Aeroplan
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Air Canada Aeroplan

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Air Canada Aeroplan

  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport; Starwood Preferred Guest
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Hilton HHonors
 
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
hotel-points-to-miles-flying-blue1
  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport; Starwood Preferred Guest
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Hilton HHonors
 
Air New Zealand Airpoints
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion for Air New Zealand

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion for Air New Zealand

  1. Starwood Preferred Guest
  2. IHG Priority Club
  3. Hilton HHonors
  4. Hyatt Gold Passport and Marriott Rewards are not Air New Zealand points-to-miles airline partners
 
ANA – Al Nippon Airways Mileage Club
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with All Nippon Airways-ANA Mileage Club

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with All Nippon Airways-ANA Mileage Club

  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport; Starwood Preferred Guest
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Hilton HHonors
 
British Airways Executive Club
Hotle loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with British Airways

Hotle loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with British Airways

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport; Starwood Preferred Guest
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Hilton HHonors
 
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

 
 
 
 
 
  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport; Starwood Preferred Guest
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Hilton HHonors
 
Emirates Skywards
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Emirates Skywards

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Emirates Skywards

  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport; Starwood Preferred Guest
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Hilton HHonors (Emirates is not an HHonors airline partner)
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with LAN LanPass

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with LAN LanPass

  1. Starwood Preferred Guest
  2. Hyatt Gold passport
  3. Marriott Rewards
  4. Hilton HHonors
  5. IHG Priority Club
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion table for Miles & More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and LOT Polish)

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion table for Miles & More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and LOT Polish)

  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Starwood Preferred Guest
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Hilton HHonors
  5. Hyatt Gold Passport (Miles & More is  hotel stay earning partner, but does not participate in points-to-miles)
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Qantas

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Qantas

  1. Hyatt Gold Passport
  2. Marriott Rewards
  3. Hilton HHonors
  4. IHG Priority Club and Starwood Preferred Guest are not partners with Qantas.
Hotel loyalty prgrams points-to-miles conversion with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Hotel loyalty prgrams points-to-miles conversion with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport
  3. IHG Priority Club
  4. Starwood Preferred Guest
  5. Hilton HHonors
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with South African Airways

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with South African Airways

  1. Hyatt Gold Passport
  2. IHG Priority Club
  3. Hilton HHonors
  4. Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest do not partner with South African Airways
Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel loyalty program points-to-miles conversion with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

  1. Marriott Rewards
  2. Hyatt Gold Passport
  3. Starwood Preferred Guest
  4. Hilton HHonors
  5. IHG Priority Club does not partner with Virgin Atlantic

The Hilton Conversion Issue in the Loyalty Traveler tables for HHonors members.

Hilton HHonors is problematic in these tables due to the different earning mechanism with HHonors hotel stays. Hilton HHonors has “Double Dip”, their registered term for the member option to earn both hotel points and miles during a single hotel stay.

Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Priority Club, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) all allow a member to earn miles with hotel stays, however, the member earns airline miles or hotel points. As a general rule a member in programs besides Hilton HHonors cannot earn both miles and points from a hotel stay. Both Hyatt Gold Passport (promotion still ongoing through Jan 31) and Starwood Preferred Guest (ended July 31) had promotional exceptions in 2009 where members earned both airline miles and points, but Hilton HHonors is the only chain offering both miles and points as a standard earning option.

Hilton HHonors ranks at the bottom in nearly all the hotel-points-to-airline-miles conversion tables.  The tables are designed to be an objective look at conversion rates. Hilton HHonors may be a good hotel loyalty program members wanting to earn miles with hotel stays, but has a poor hotel-points-to-airline-miles conversion program for its members.

In real travel a Hilton HHonors member has the ability to earn thousands of airline miles while also earning HHonors points.

1.       The tables do not reflect the added earning potential for a Hilton HHonors member earning 500 miles per hotel stay or 1 mile per $1 in hotel spending.

 

2.       The hotel point levels used in the tables show Hilton, IHG, and Marriott at 10,000 points while Hyatt is 5,000 points and Starwood 2,000 points as the basis for equivalent quantities of points used for miles conversion comparisons. I could have increased Hilton HHonors by 50% to 15,000 which accounts for Points and Points earning preference with HHonors. Rather than playing with the variables I opted to present Hilton HHonors in a strictly objective conversion table without factoring in the potential for added miles from hotel stays.

 

3.       For example: Hilton HHonors points-to-miles conversion for 130,000 points with Air France = 13,000 miles. This is less than 50% of the miles for any of the other four hotel loyalty programs.

 

But consider if the Hilton member spent $13,000 to earn 130,000 points during 40 hotel stays in 2009. This HHonors member with 40 stays and an earning preference of Points & Fixed Miles could have earned 500 Flying Blue miles per stay. The member could have earned 20,000 Flying Blue miles from hotel stays, In addition to 13,000 miles from points.

 

33,000 miles places Hilton HHonors right back in the pack when it comes to miles earned.

 

4.       For example: The Hilton HHonors member could have sprung for a four week honeymoon divided between two Hilton resorts and spent $13,000. Earning Points & Fixed miles would only earn 1,000 miles from two Hilton stays. The member with an earning preference of Points & Variable Miles (1 mile per $1) would earn 13,000 miles.

 

5.       For example: HHonors member could have chosen Points & Points and earned 195,000 points and no miles. (I’m ignoring elite points as these are just more variables to complicate the issue.)

 

Unfortunately, all this is conjecture and highly variable, dependent on the member’s hotel stay pattern and earning preference.  Therefore, the tables do not necessarily reflect the earning potential of miles with the Hilton HHonors program for a frequent guest of Hilton.

 

The tables do accurately show the conversion rates for HHonors points-to-miles conversions on a scale aligned with the four other hotel loyalty programs.

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. I think when I added a link to the previous domestic airlines tables today, a large section of six airlines from Aeroplan to Cathay Pacific in the international tables was somehow lost from this post.

    I will get them back into the post soon.

  2. At Hilton hotels I tend to pick double dip with miles going to BMI, since the fixed mileage earning option with BMI Diamond Club gives me 1000 miles per day (capped to 3000 per stay). I admit I haven’t done the exact math to compare this to earning points + points, but over the last two years I have earned enough miles with this and BMI’s previous car rental partner Hertz (1700 miles/rental) to be able to book a business class award flight from the US to Europe without ever flying a single mile on a BMI aircraft.

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