Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Key to Getting Good Bang for Your Buck on the United Hotel Transfer Bonus Promotion

United is running a promotion offering bonus miles when you transfer hotel points into MileagePlus miles.

Sign-up page
The number of bonus miles you receive depends on how many miles you receive from the transfer:

  • Transfers yielding 5000 to 9999 miles receive a bonus of 1000 miles
  • Transfers yielding 10000 to 19999 miles receive a bonus of 2500 miles
  • Transfers yielding 20000 to 49999 miles receive a bonus of 5000 miles
  • Transfers yielding 50000 or more miles receive a bonus of 15000 miles

The best bang for your buck is right at the low end of the the various thresholds. The bonus is 30% if your transfer yields exactly 50000 miles, 25% if it yields exactly 10000 or 20000, and 20% if it yields exactly 5000 miles. Of course, if you fall just short of a threshold the bonus is pretty weak, as you can see here:

Coming up just short of a transfer threshold can really sting!

As View From the Wing points out, the transfer ratio from most hotel programs into airline miles is pretty weak. For most airlines, Starwood has a strong ratio - unfortunately that isn't the case for United. However, Wyndham actually does have a pretty solid ratio (2.5 Wyndham points : 1 United MileagePlus mile). While they have pre-set amounts that you can request for transfers, they actually work out quite nicely for hitting the thresholds:

  • 8000 Wyndham points yields 3200 MileagePlus miles
  • 17500 Wyndham points yields 7000 MileagePlus miles
  • 30000 Wyndham points yields 12000 MileagePlus miles

(more details available on the United and Wyndham websites)

Since you do not need to transfer the miles all at once, you can transfer 8000 + 17500 = 25500 Wyndham points to yield 3200 + 7000 = 10200 MileagePlus miles. Rinse and repeat if you'd like to get to the 20000 or 50000 thresholds.

I happen to have some Wyndham points sitting around after this year's Discover America promotion, just waiting for a transfer bonus. If you're in the same boat, this might be a good time to finally pull the trigger. Make sure you register before initiating the transfer though!

I definitely plan on taking advantage of this promotion - how about you?

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