Personally I find hotel points more valuable than airline miles earned in points-to-miles transfers. I rarely exchange hotel points into miles.
Situations where I would consider exchanging hotel points into frequent flyer miles include:
1. To earn a hotel or airline loyalty program promotion bonus requiring partner activity.
I have picked up thousands of airline miles in frequent flyer promotions with a partner activity credit using Starwood Preferred Guest transfer of 100 or fewer Starpoints into airline miles. SPG Platinum members have no minimum transfer level for points-to-miles exchanges. SPG Gold = 1,500 Starpoints minimum transfer. SPG basic member = 2,500 Starpoints minimum transfer.
2. To secure the miles needed for an immediate airline reward redemption.
2003 was the only time I transferred 20,000 Starpoints into 25,000 miles. I was buying two First Class awards on British Airways from Denver to Melbourne, Australia with stopovers each way in London for 150,000 miles per ticket. I needed quick British Airways miles to beat the deadline for the price increase in BA Executive Club when the First Class US-Australia roundtrip award ticket increased to 420,000 miles.
There are many ways to get miles and I see trading hotel points for airline miles as a no net gain transfer for a leisure traveler staying in hotels. You save on airfare using hotel points for airline award tickets, but you don’t have points for free hotel rooms.
3. No plans to stay at the hotel chain frequently enough to earn points required for room reward nights.
The hotel points-to-miles tables show Wyndham Rewards and Club Carlson are two programs where you can earn points and transfer to miles at low levels. Club Carlson has a minimum transfer level of 2,000 points = 250 airline miles. Club Carlson members earn 20 points per dollar in hotel spend. Stay at a Country Inn & Suites on a stay costing more than $100 and you will earn more than 2,000 points. You can also just choose to earn miles for a hotel stay instead of points. Club Carlson gives 250 miles for Country Inn stays and 500 miles for a Radisson Hotel stay.
4. More hotel points than you need for hotel reward stays.
Some people have millions of hotel points.
Starwood Preferred Guest published statistics in December 2011 showing one SPG member earned nearly 20 million points in 2011 and another member redeemed nearly 12 million points (link to SPG pdfshowing stats).
I wonder how many of those redeemed Starpoints went for airline miles?
And hopefully not United Mileage Plus miles.
My question for readers: Have you exchanged hotel points for frequent flier miles? Was it better value than saving points for hotel stays?
British Airways Concorde outside London Heathrow First Class Lounge July 2003. The last commercial flights by BA Concorde were October 2003.
Loyalty Traveler – Airline Tables for Hotel Points-to-Miles Exchange Rates
- American Airlines Points-to-Miles Exchange Rates for 9 Hotel Programs. (Feb 5, 2012)
- American Airlines Points-to-Miles Exchange Rates for Elites and Credit Card members. (Feb 6, 2012)
- Delta Skymiles hotel points-to-miles rates in 9 hotel programs. (Feb 7, 2012)
- United Mileage Plus hotel points-to-miles rates favor Marriott, Club Carlson, Wyndham. (Feb 8, 2012)
- Hotel Loyalty Program Airline Partners: 10 programs compared on one spreadsheet. (Feb 9, 2012)
- Why Change hotel points into airline miles? (Feb 9, 2012)
- Hotel points conversion into Southwest Rapid Rewards points favors Marriott, Choice and Hyatt. (Feb 10, 2012)