United has a promotion out this weekend offering bonus miles for transferring points from various hotel programs into the MileagePlus program. Register and transfer by 30 November to earn up to 15,000 bonus points, on top of the points the transfer generates. Bonus points should post by 31 January 2013.
To get the most value from the promotion you have to gross 50,000 or more points from the inbound transfer. Here are the tiers (note that you only earn one tier, not cumulative as you progress through them :
- 1,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 5,000 and 9,999;
- 2,500 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 10,000 and 19,999;
- 5,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is between 20,000 and 49,999;
- 15,000 bonus miles will be deposited when Award Miles earned from cumulative Qualifying Activity is 50,000 or greater.
The catch (there always is one, right??) is that the transfer rates aren’t really all that great. The bonus rates are OK, but the transfer rates make it hard to justify.
Looking at the list of transfer conversion rates here’s what I can come up with as the earning numbers:
- 20,000 Marriott Rewards -> 5,000 + 1,000
- 30,000 MR -> 10,000 + 2,500
- 70,000 MR -> 25,000 + 5,000
- 125,000 MR -> 50,000 + 15,000
- 10,000 HHonors -> 1,000 UA. To get the 15,000 bonus you’d have to convert 500,000 HH points resulting in 65K total points.
- 2 Starwood Preferred Guest -> 1 UA. To get the 15K bonus you’d have to convert 80,000 SPG points (I think that’s how the 5K bonus for 20K thing works) resulting in 65K total points. While probably the best deal you’ll get on SPG->UA anytime soon it still isn’t very good.
- 30,000 PC -> 6,000 UA + 1,000
- 50,000 PC -> 10,000 UA + 2,500
- 125,000 PC -> 25,000 UA + 5,000
- 250,000 PC -> 50,000 UA + 15,000
- 8 CC -> 1 UA. To get the 15,000 bonus you’d have to convert 400,000 CC points resulting in 65K total points.
- 50,000 Gold Passport -> 25,000 UA + 5,000
- 100,00o GP -> 50,000 UA + 15,000
Choice (I only listed the big and small; the middle ones are there, too):
- 25,000 Choice Privileges -> 5,000 UA + 1,000
- 250,00 Choice Privileges -> 50,000 UA + 15,000
- 17.500 WR -> 7,000 + 1,000
- 30,000 WR -> 12,000 + 2,500
- 128,000 WR -> 51,200 + 15,000
So, looking at these numbers I cannot find any of them which make me think it is a good idea to do the transfer. But if you are looking to empty out a hotel program account and cannot come up with anything better I’d say first to look harder but then consider this as better than what you would have otherwise managed to eke out.
It is possible to mix-and-match between the different programs as the bonus is based on the gross; the above numbers should provide some guidelines on how that would work out.
Make sure to register BEFORE initiating any transfers, just to be safe, and definitely before November 30.