25% bonus when converting hotel points to American AAdvantage

AA hotel points promo

The latest airline to offer a transfer bonus from hotel partners is American Airlines. Now through June 15th, earn a 25% bonus on miles converted from most hotel partners — including Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges, World of Hyatt, Club Carlson, Hilton Honors, Starwood Preferred Guest, Marriott Rewards, and IHG Rewards Club. Note that while AA partners with Wyndham Rewards, they are not offering a transfer bonus on points converted from Wyhdham.

The Deal

  • 25% bonus on miles converted to American Airlines AAdvantage from hotel partners.

Key Details

  • Valid for transfers through June 15th, 2017

Quick Thoughts

Remember that the bonus is based on the number of airline miles you would normally receive in the transaction. For example, 10,000 Club Carlson points usually convert to 1,000 American Airlines miles. With the 25% bonus, you would receive 1,250 AA miles. These transfers are typically not a good deal unless you are sitting on hotel points you won’t use or you’re topping up your miles for a valuable redemption.

However, the two hotel programs that offer the strongest value proposition would be Starwood and Marriott.

Transfers from Starwood are 1:1, but transfers of 20,000 points always receive a 5,000 mile bonus for a total of 25,000 AA miles before the 25% bonus from American. A transfer of 20,000 Starpoints would therefore yield 31,250 total AA miles. Depending on how you value and use AA miles, that may be a decent trade.

The Marriott transfer ratio varies depending on how many points you transfer to miles. At the bottom end, 10,000 Marriott points become just 2,000 AA miles before the bonus. At the top end, 140,000 Marriott points transfer to 50,000 AA miles. With the 25% bonus, those 140K Marriott points become 62,500 AA miles — which doesn’t seem bad until you consider the fact that you could transfer 120K Marriott points first to Starwood and receive 40,000 Starpoints. You could then transfer 40,000 Starpoints to AA for the same 62,500 AA miles — and you’d still have 20K Marriott points to spare.

On the other hand, Marriott’s Travel Packages continue to offer the most value.

marriott aa package

For 270K Marriott Rewards points (or 90K Starpoints converted to Marriott), you would receive 150,000 AA miles plus a 7-night Category 1-5 Marriott stay. Depending on how you use the 7-night Marriott certificate, this could be an excellent value.

Ultimately, value is dependent on your travel patterns, but a bonus always helps. Are you going to convert points in this promotion? Which hotel partner are you considering? Let us know in the comments.

H/T: View from the Wing

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Comments

  1. I don’t fly AA but I have a couple of 000k points to burn sometime. I read that AA saver awards are really difficult to find these days. Is this so? Is there any point in collecting AA points any more? What do you think? (Break my interest is international biz of first).

    • Sorry it took my so long to respond here. You are correct that AA saver awards are very difficult to find on many routes. However, it ebbs and flows — there were tons of award seats on AA’s Dallas-Sao Paulo flights a few weeks ago. That said, I don’t collect AA miles to fly on AA — I collect them to fly international first & business class on partners. With Cathay Pacific, JAL, Etihad, Qatar, etc, there are tons of great partners and you can get to much of the world. Award availability leaving the US can still be tight on a number of those airlines — but I usually don’t have much difficulty finding space on flights originating outside of the US. Pricing is also great — one of my favorite redemptions has been Etihad First Class from Cairo (or anywhere in the Middle East) to Tokyo. While premium cabins are often cheap out of Cairo, I still found 45K at the time (now 50K) AA miles one-way for nearly 14 hours (if I remember correctly) of first class flying to be a nice redemption. On that trip, I next flew Cathay business class from Tokyo to the Maldives for 30K AA miles (I believe this has increased to 40K if memory serves correctly). I’m happy to continue to collect AA miles for things like that.

      However, if you’re looking for domestic travel in the US, it’s hard to recommend collecting mileage on the legacy carriers. In my opinion, it makes more sense to collect a currency that can be used like cash towards flights (Ultimate Rewards with the Sapphire Reserve / US Bank Altitude Reserve points / perhaps Membership Rewards) and/or miles that work more like cash towards flights like Rapid Rewards points or TrueBlue points. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

      But I’m happy to continue collecting AA miles for international trips.

  2. Nick, in the above scenario with the Marriott travel packages would you rather have 150K AA miles or 120K Alaska miles? This would be for the purpose of flying to Fiji and staying at the new resort Marriott has opened there with a high likelihood of flying on Fiji Airways which partners with both AA and Alaska.

    • Sorry for the slow response. Personally, I’d take the Alaska miles in that scenario, the reasons being that the award is a few less miles, you can add a stopover for free on a one-way — and it’s the same price to continue on to Sydney or Auckland. I’d personally book a one-way to Australia or New Zealand with a stopover in Fiji for the same 55K miles + $19 as you’d pay just to get to Fiji :-). In a lack of availability scenario, if you would consider flying somewhere else in SE Asia and getting a separate ticket to Fiji, you’ll have access to the same partners more or less as AA. I’m sure one could make the argument the other way as well, but I’d take the Alaska miles personally.

  3. Are you saying it’s better to use your Marriott points on one of their travel packages rather than take the 25% bonus? We use American air and their partners and have a lot of Marriott and Starwood points. What’s the best value?

    – Transfer the Starwood points to Marriott and take the 25% American bonus
    – Transfer the Starwood points to Marriott and take the biggest travel package

    Please let us know what you think is the best option. Gracias.

    • Sorry for the slow response Paula. What I was saying is that it’s better to use your Marriott points for one of their travel packages AND the 25% bonus :-). You’ll still get the 25% bonus on the AA miles if you redeem for a package with AA.

      If you transferred 90K Starpoints directly to AA, you would get a total of 137,500 AA miles. (each 20K always gives you 25K; with the 25% bonus, you get 31,250 total — so 31,250 x 4 + remaining 10K + 25% bonus = 137,500). Keep in mind that you can’t transfer more than 79,999 miles in a day and get the normal 5K per 20K bonus — so don’t transfer more than 60K Starpoints in a single day (just spread it out over a couple of days).

      If you instead moved 90K Starpoints to Marriott, you’d have 270K Marriott points. You could then redeem those for a travel package that normally includes a 7-night Category 1-5 certificate + 120,000 AA miles. With the 25% bonus on the 120,000, you’ll end up with 150,000 AA miles.

      Therefore, if you had 90K Starpoints and wanted AA miles, you’d be better off with the Marriott travel package. You’d end up with 12,500 MORE AA miles AND a 7-night hotel certificate.

      However, if you’re redeeming fewer Starpoints, the math will be different — you would have to look at the Marriott transfer ratios vs the Starwood ratios, but you would likely do better using Starpoints if you are making a smaller transfer.

  4. Choice program does not appear to offer AA as a transfer partner. Or is that account specific, because when I tried to transfer some meaningless Choice points, AA was not listed as an option for me.

  5. Does redeeming Marriott travel package qualifies as hotel points transfer to AA (to receive 25% bonus)? I thought you have to initiate the transfer from AA page…?

    • You don’t have to initiate the transfer from the AA page.

      Yes, you should still get the 25% bonus on the miles from the travel package. This promotion is for converting hotel points to miles — which is exactly what you’re doing with the Travel Packages.

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