How to Leverage United’s 25% Hotel Transfer Bonus

Through November 30 United is offering a 25% bonus when you transfer hotel points to MileagePlus. You can earn up to 20,000 bonus miles this way. Registration required.

Oddly, the 25% bonus applies to transfers from most hotel programs but transfers from Club Carlson are bonused at 40% and transfers from Choice Privileges are bonused at 50%. Bonuses will post “on or before January 30, 2017.”

At the conclusion of the promotion, all miles earned by each member from Qualifying Activity will be multiplied by 25% (with exception of miles earned from Qualifying Activity with Club Carlson, which will instead be multiplied by 40%, and miles earned from Qualifying Activity with Choice Privileges, which will instead be multiplied by 50%, in each case without duplication of bonuses) to determine the eligible bonus up to a maximum of 20,000 Bonus Miles. Bonus Miles will be credited into the member’s account on or before January 30, 2017.

This becomes somewhat interesting now that you can transfer points between Starwood and Marriott.

  • Normally Starwood points transfer 2:1 into United (versus 1:1 with most airline programs)
  • But transfer 19,000 Starwood points to Marriott, get 57,000 Marriott points
  • 56,000 Marriott points transfer to 25,000 United miles
  • The remaining 1000 Marriott points are worth 333 Starpoints
  • So a net of 18,667 Starwood points transfer to 25,000 United miles plus a 25% bonus so 31,250 United miles
  • That’s much better than the normal 9,333 United miles you’d have gotten for your Starpoints without the Marriott transfer or this bonus.

Dan’s Deals walks through leveraging this further with Marriott travel packages.

90K Starpoints transfers into 270K Marriott Rewards points. That can be used for 152K United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel with the 20K bonus miles from this United promotion. Even if you don’t use the 7 night hotel certificate being able to transfer 90K Starpoints into 152K United miles is an effective 68.9% transfer bonus!

-Alternatively about 83,333 Starpoints becomes 250K Marriott points which is enough for 130,000 United miles and 7 nights in a Marriott category 1-5 hotel with the 20K bonus miles from this United promotion. Even if you don’t use the 7 night hotel certificate being able to transfer 83,333 Starpoints into 130K United miles is an effective 56% transfer bonus!

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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  1. Except for topping off points/miles in an account to be able to afford a redemption, I generally believe that loyalty points/miles yield “best value” when redeemed within the loyalty programs that issue the currencies, since most, but not all, transfers tend to incur a loss (starpoints to UA miles at a 2:1 rate is awful). A notable exception to that general rule are, in fact, starpoints, which, although a hotel points currency, yield better value when transferred to miles to redeem free tickets, rather than being used to book free stays, due to the prohibitively high cost of SPG awards at top tier Starwood hotels.

    Thus, cringing, I just transferred 50K UA miles, 1:1 through RewardsPlus, to TOP OFF my Marriott Rewards account in order to be able to carry out a last minute decision to spend a couple of days at Renaissance Naruto Resort in Naruto, Japan [no HH or HGP hotels on the resort], after spending most of my limited MR points on a 3-night award stay in a suite at JW Marriott BKK. Not the best way to use miles, unless one has miles to burn, which I do 😉

  2. Agree with @M above. Was going to be transferring 90K Starpoints to Marriott to get one of the Marriott travel packages, but after United’s de facto devaluation of its award program last week, I won’t be doing it. United – You sneaky b*stard…

  3. I transferred Marriott Rewards points to United. I have yet to receive the 25% bonus. I read via VFTW that they should be credited by January 31, 2017. Was I supposed to be Elite in one of the two programs?

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