Some time ago I wrote an article focusing on how to transfer Hilton points to SPG points. It was surprisingly popular so with the recent rebranding of the former SPG and Marriott reward schemes to Marriott Bonvoy, I thought I’d take a look at whether it is still possible to transfer points between the two hotel loyalty schemes.
If you hold Avios points (or any other airline points) you may well know that it’s very very difficult to transfer points from one airline loyalty scheme to another. This is because airlines rarely allow you to transfer points out of their programmes however are willing to accept points in from hotel and car-hire loyalty schemes.
Whilst hotel loyalty schemes also don’t allow you to transfer to other hotel programmes directly (say SPG to Hilton), there has been a nifty travel hack that can be used to transfer points between hotel schemes. This ‘travel hack’ is enabled by Virgin Atlantic’s rather unique offering to be able to move points both into and out of the frequent-flyer scheme.
The Importance of Being Able to Move Points
We’re strongly of the opinion that transferable points are worth considerably more than those that have to be used with a specific scheme. Let’s take American Express Membership Rewards as an example. The worst-case value for these points should be 0.45p if you’re offsetting the points against your credit card statement. The likelihood is you should be able to obtain significantly higher value across the 13 partner airlines and 3 hotel companies!
As we concluded in our previous article, to transfer SPG to Hilton via Atlantic had a significant amount of points leakage. As such it rarely made sense to do this.
Clearly if the individual is thinking about undertaking a transfer of Hilton points to SPG then they are struggling to use them in the existing scheme. This is why we try to hold the majority of our points as Membership Rewards points which we believe provides the greatest flexibility and opportunity.
It also happens to be the currency of the UK’s most generous free credit card – the Amex Gold card which we’ve reviewed in full here. You’ll receive a sign-up bonus of 20,000 points when you spend £2,000 on the card in the first 3 months. This is the equivalent of 40,000 Hilton Honors points or 33,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. You can increase the sign-up bonus by a further 2,000 reward points (4,000 Hilton points / 3,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) using this referral link.
Transfer Marriott Bonvoy Points to Hilton Points
It’s actually relatively easy to transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Hilton points using Virgin Atlantic as an intermediary. Let’s take a look at the worked example below.
Step One – Log into your Marriott Bonvoy account and head to the ‘Transfer Points to Miles’ page (found here).
Step Two – Then simply choose to transfer points to Virgin Atlantic. You’ll receive a rate of 3 Marriott Bonvoy points to every 1 Virgin Flying Club mile. They should take less than 48 hours to clear.
Step Three – Once the points have arrived in your Virgin Atlantic account, you’ll have to call the Flying Club Helpline to transfer the points across (contact numbers found here). The minimum number of miles you can transfer is 10,000 and you’ll receive a rate of 3 Hilton Honors points for every 2 Flying Club miles.
One thing to note is that the names on both your Virgin Atlantic account and Hilton Honors account must match exactly. This transfer takes slightly longer and in some instances can take up to 30 days!
Convert Hilton Points to Marriott Bonvoy
Unfortunately this direction isn’t quite as easy as it used to be! In fact it’s technically impossible! However that said there is a way of booking a stay at a Marriott Bonvoy hotel using points which began life as Hilton Honors points. Let’s take a look.
Step Two – Head to the ‘Exchange your Points’ page and then select ‘Use Points to Get Miles’
Step Three – Simply add your details and choose how many points you’d like to transfer across. The minimum amount is 10,000 Hilton points for 1,500 Flying Club miles – let’s assume you transfer 200,000 Hilton points and end up with 30,000 Flying Club miles.
At this stage I would highlight just how bad a deal this is. If you were to then transfer the points straight back you’d only receive 45,000 Hilton points. This is the leakage we mentioned earlier when undertaking an SPG to Hilton points transfer!
Step Four – The final step of the process is to use the Kaligo portal on the Virgin Atlantic website which has over 465,000 hotels available worldwide. These are split into the following three categories (taken from the Virgin Atlantic website):
You could use the 30,000 points for a night’s stay at the (Marriott Bonvoy) St Regis Abu Dhabi which would ordinarily cost £171 per night. Whilst you’d be receiving average to poor value of 0.57p per point for the 30,000 Flying Club points used, it’s a shocking rate of 0.09p based on the 200,000 Hilton points! I have to admit I’ve never seen a conversion this poor and as such is definitely one to avoid!