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As has already been posted on View From the Wing and One Mile at a Time, US Airways is running a special until 3/31 while you can get a 50% bonus on all hotel points transferred into the Dividend Miles program. It should come as no surprise that this US Airways Grand Slam junkie really loves US Airways miles. Especially for their 60,000 mile round-trip off-peak ticket to Europe in the Envoy Suite. However, I also love that you can use US Airways miles to book on other Star Alliance carriers. It isn’t exciting, but I recently used 25,000 Dividend Miles earned through the Grand Slam to book a $400+ ticket to go to Disneyland on Continental. Since Dividend Miles are often cheaper for me to earn than OnePass miles, it was great to have that option.
Given that I think Dividend Miles are pretty solid miles, I was excited to see this offer come out. At first, I was super excited since US Airways has many hotel partners, but then reality quickly came rushing back in as I remember that the transfer ratios from most of the partners are pretty crummy. The best play for many people who have large Membership Rewards balances will be to convert American Express Membership Rewards to Starwood Preferred Guest points at a ratio of 2 Membership Reward points: 1 SPG point. That is a 50% loss, but it may be worth it since you can then transfer SPG points to US Airways at a ratio of 20,000 SPG points: 25,000 Dividend Miles. So, if you transferred 40,000 Membership Reward points to get 20,000 SPG Points, and then turned those SPG points into 25,000 Dividend Miles + 50% bonus = 37,500 Dividend Miles, that effectively means that your transfer ratio is 1 MR point: .9375 Dividend Mile. That is clearly not an amazing transfer ratio, but it is way better than the normal route of getting Membership Reward points into Dividend Miles. Of course, if you happened to just have lots of SPG points in your SPG account, that is a more straight-forward way to transfer (and with a much better transfer ratio). If you transfer straight from your SPG account, you can get 1.875 US Airways miles per SPG point.
Here is a quick run-down of the hotel transfer options. I know many of them are pathetic transfer rates, but it is possible that someone has a boat load of points in a particular program as a result of a promotion that they are itching to turn into airline miles, so I wanted to include all the options. These numbers assume that the points are already in any given program, so don’t take into accounts things like coming from Membership Rewards to get to SPG or any thing like that. The first two columns with numbers are the regular transfer rates, and the bonus miles column refers to the current rate with the 50% bonus. The final column tells you how many Dividend Miles you will get per transferred hotel point (including the 50% bonus). Please let me know if you see any errors on this chart and I will fix them.
To save you the math, for those who know how to obtain Priority Club points at $0.006 each, because of the poor transfer ratio, that still comes out to $0.02 per US Airways mile. A Marriott travel package may be a good idea here, since it was reported on this Flyertalk thread that those points have counted for previous similar promotions. Keep in mind that according to the terms of this offer, you can only make one transfer with the 50% bonus, so choose wisely. Also remember that the transfer has to post to your US Airways account by 4/10 with an activity date by 3/31, and I remember from the Grand Slam that many of these options do take at least a week or so to post, so don’t wait until the last minute to pull the trigger. Hyatt will also cease being a transfer partner on 3/15, so don’t delay if you are going to use that option.
I’m undecided as to whether or not to participate, though I am leaning toward not. I personally get a lot of value out of transfer bonuses to move MR points to the British Airways Avios program, so I’m not sure if I will move some to US Airways or not. Tough call. I am also not rolling in SPG points, so I probably don’t want to move those over either since I often get over $0.04 value from those points. Whatever you do, keep in mind that there are often promotions where you can purchase US Airways miles for $0.018 each, so don’t “waste” points worth more than that to you when you can often just purchase US Airways miles outright at that price.
Even though I may sit this one out, I’m sure there are lots of folks out there who will get a great value from this promo. If you are one of them, I’d love to hear about it!