Update 3-30-10: These tables have some useful comparative qualities, but I simplified the tables in this subsequent post to make them more useful. Rather than showing points-to-miles exchanges by airline as shown here, this post from March 30 shows the tables organized by hotel loyalty program and different levels of points.
After reflecting a few days on these tables I think most readers will find the tables in the subsequent post more useful for hotel points-to-miles exchange comparisons.
[Original post content below]
Hotel loyalty points can be exchanged into airline miles with most major hotel programs. Earning miles rather than points for hotel stays is sometimes the better option for maximizing miles. This is particularly true for Hilton HHonors or Starwood Preferred Guest if desiring Continental or United miles where points-to-miles exchanges give far fewer miles than choosing to earn miles for hotel stays.
Some programs like Marriott Rewards and goldpoints plus favor earning hotel points and then exchanging for miles through a hotel points-to-miles exchange through the hotel loyalty program.
Programs like Carlson goldpoints plus, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest offer a better rate of exchange when higher quantities of points are transferred to airline miles.
- Carlson goldpoints plus = 100,000 points (best exchange rate)
- Hyatt Gold Passport = 50,000 points (25% miles bonus)
- Marriott Rewards = 125,000 points (best exchange rate)
- Starwood Preferred Guest = 20,000 points (25% miles bonus)
Numerous tables are necessary to see the best mileage earning hotel programs for each airline due to points-to-miles exchange rates that are not static as with the four programs listed in the bullets. Airlines favor different programs for the best exchange rate.
Elite status does not actually affect the points-to-miles exchange rate. The rationale for showing higher miles exchange rates for elite members is based on higher earning rates for points due to elite bonus points. The elite member earns 10% to 50% more points per $1 in hotel spend than a non-elite loyalty member. The elite member will have proportionately more points available for points-to-miles exchanges.
The tables below are adjusted to show the points-to-miles exchange rate for nine hotel loyalty programs using base and elite bonus points determined by a set level of hotel spend at $3,000 or $13,000.
The comparisons are based on hotel points-to-miles program rates. These tables do not consider earning miles instead of points for hotel stays with the exception of Hilton HHonors. If maximizing miles is your objective rather than accumulating hotel loyalty points, then some programs will allow you to accumulate more miles by choosing miles rather than hotel points for your stays. Numerous hotel stays at 500 miles per stay can quickly add up to earn frequent flier miles at a better rate than using points-to-miles exchanges.
The poor exchange rate of Hilton HHonors for points-to-miles exchanges results in Hilton having a low miles exchange compared to other hotel loyalty program points-to-miles exchange rates. Many mileage partners with Hilton HHonors exchange at a rate of 10,000 points = 1,000 miles. HHonors Points & Points earning preference will take as much as $667 in hotel spend to earn 10,000 points. The HHonors member staying twice on one-night hotel stays could earn 1,000 miles for under $200 in many instances.
For Hilton HHonors, members choosing the “double dip” Points & Variable Miles preference earn miles at the rate of 1 mile per US$1 hotel spend. HHonors miles in the tables below were calculated using the $1 = 1 mile earning preference. $3,000 in hotel spend earns 30,000 base points and 3,000 miles This earning preference is predictable and shows Hilton HHonors to be comparable to most other loyalty programs.
Important Note: Mileage in tables below is shown for comparative purposes between different hotel programs. The miles exchange rates are shown without regard to what is actually an allowable exchange within a particular program.
For example, Wyndham Rewards points-to-miles exchanges must be made in 8,000; 17,500; or 30,000 point blocks. There are variations between the programs on allowable blocks of points for points-to-miles transfers; Hilton HHonors points-to-miles exchanges are made in 10,000 point blocks; Best Western is 5,000 point blocks; Southwest credits are earned in 0.5 credit increments.
The tables shown are for program points-to-miles exchange rate comparison purposes only. The actual exchange rate may vary slightly from what is shown in the tables depending on the transfer requirements of the individual hotel loyalty programs. As explained above, you can’t make a 30,000 point Wyndham Rewards transfer for 12,000 miles. You would need to exchange 32,000 points for 12,800 miles. The tables are set up to be compared in columns.
Delta Airlines Points-to-Miles Exchange Rates based on $13,000 Hotel Spend