25% Bonus Transferring Hotel Points to American Miles: Here’s Why Starwood Gets Excluded

Through March 15 you’ll earn a 25% bonus when you transfer hotel points to American AAdvantage miles.

Most hotel programs are eligible for this bonus, however:

Point conversions from Starwood Preferred Guest®, Melia Hotels International & Resorts, La Quinta Inns & Suites® and Langham Hospitality Group OUIDA program are not eligible for the 25% bonus offer.

What’s more,

Conversions for hotel and air packages from eligible AAdvantage hotel participants are excluded from this offer.

Hat tip about this offer to One Mile at a Time who points out that the two best options under this bonus are excluded:

  • Marriott Rewards travel packages, which bundle free nights with airline miles
  • Starwood Preferred Guest points transfers, which already offer 1:1 plus a 25% bonus when transferring points to 20,000 miles.

When airlines run these conversion promotions, they are the ones providing the bonus miles — not the hotel program you’re transferring points from.

They run these offers because they want to encourage members to make the transfer. When you transfer points from a hotel program to an airline, the hotel program is buying you the miles from the airline frequent flyer program.

Lucky writes,

I think it’s pretty ridiculous that American runs a promotion like this while excluding the two best transfer options. I get sometimes SPG is excluded, and that’s fine, because when other airlines offer similar promotions they sometimes do the same.

The reason that certain options and certain partners are excluded is because as a general matter they ask to be excluded.

Since the hotel program has to buy the points, that’s real cash and usually much more expensive to the hotel loyalty program than the average room night award, they don’t want to encourage you to make the transfer more than the built-in offer in the program already does.

So when you see Starwood excluded, you should assume that Starwood asked to be excluded. They don’t want American encouraging SPG members to run up costs to the program. They’d rather members spend their points on hotel nights.

I’d only take ‘AAdvantage’ of this offer to clean out orphan points in a hotel account that would otherwise expire anyway. It’s not an exciting enough offer to entice me to transfer from most hotel programs where the transfer ratios aren’t attractive to begin with (again, they aren’t attractive becasue they are costly to the program to offer and because the programs would rather have you hold their currency than someone else’s). But it’s an interesting illustration of how these relationships work.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Transferring Hilton pts to Aadvantage seems very worthwhile as their only worth 0.5 or am I missing something?

  2. Thanks for the insight. I read Ben’s article, and just figured AA was being cheap. This makes more sense.

  3. I had Wyndham Rewards points that I would never use that were expiring in 3 days and my daughters AA account that was inactive and expiring at the end of the month. With one transaction keeping both accounts alive. Perfect timing. Thanks

  4. Great move, Gary70! BTW, Wyndham is one of the few (if not the only) hotel program which allows one to transfer to an airline account not one’s own! Of course, some hotel programs let us transfer into a friend’s/ relative’s account of their progam, then onward to the friend’s FF miles!

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