Just received an email from Virgin Atlantic with what appears to be an open promotion offering progressively larger bonuses for Hilton stays between Sep 26 and Dec 31 which, after 5 stays, totals 15k bonus Virgin Atlantic miles. This is in addition to your regular HHonors and Virgin Atlantic earnings. This only applies to reservations made after registration but remember that many hotel reservations can be rebooked so it may be worth checking out the rebooking options.
This would be easy to disregard since most of us aren’t focused on Virgin Atlantic. Two things to remember:
1) You can transfer Virgin Atlantic points to Hilton at 1:2 (in 5k increments), thus this can net up to 30k bonus Hilton points after 5 stays.
2) Hilton HHonors program is rather complex, including the ability to earn HHonors points while also earning miles or even more HHonors points.
Does it make sense to do just one stay?
I think it’s worth asking as often we don’t know how many stays we’ll have… Traditionally, the smart money in most cases (and absent other promos) was on 1000 BMI miles per night under the HHonors Points + Fixed Miles program. Now that BMI is folding into BA, that may still make sense depending on how you like Avios and the nature of your stay. Who knows how long that option will last… For the moment, I’d say that a 2+ night stay is probably best allocated to BMI (where you’d earn 2000 BMI or 3000 BMI on 3+ nights), at least if you have only one stay in the promotion period.
Let’s suppose we’re comparing a 1 night Hampton Inn stay at $100. In either case below, one would earn 1000 HHonors base points (plus status bonus) and I’ll ignore those from here on out.
Baseline Scenario: BMI
1000 BMI miles which are effectively BA Avios now. I value 1000 BA Avios at $12.
Promotion Scenario: 1st night via Virgin Atlantic promotion.
A Hampton Inn earns 200 VA miles under Points + Fixed miles and 1000 miles for the first stay under this promo for a total of 1200 VA. 1200 VA can transfer to 2400 HHonors which I value between $.006 and $.008 thus at $14.40 to $19.20.
Conclusion: Even on the first stay of the promotion, it likely makes sense to choose this option over the BMI for single-night stays.
Note: Over $100, you’d want to choose Points + Variable miles. And if you were at a Hilton, Conrad, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, or Hilton Garden Inn, you’d want “Points+Fixed” miles for less than $500 in spending. Like I said, HHonors is complicated. Study the link provided earlier and play with the Hilton calculator. Nonetheless, that’s all in addition to this promotion.
And if I’ll have more than one stay?
The first stay is just a 1000 Virgin Atlantic bonus, increasing to 2000 on the 2nd stay, and up to 5000 on the 5th stay. By the 3rd stay, this promotion is likely better than any BMI option so if you’re a Hilton regular, this is well worth looking into.
That said, there are so many Hilton combinations between their complex program, status bonuses, and promotions that there may be better opportunities out there but this is definitely one of the better ones.
As an aside, I haven’t discussed Virgin Atlantic’s program here itself, instead just focusing on it as a conduit to getting more HHonors points due to the 1:2 transfer ratio. I understand that there can be significant fees/fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic awards but that doesn’t make it a bad program, just one I’m not that familiar with therefore I’m falling back on the crutch of valuing it based on the transfer to HHonors.
For the sake of some fun points math, let’s imagine 5 separate stays at a $100 Hampton Inn (ignoring status and points from credit card spending). The net of that would be:
- 16000 Virgin Atlantic = 1000 Virgin Atlantic miles from the “fixed miles” option + 15000 Virgin Atlantic miles from the promotion.
- 5000 HHonors base points
If you convert 15000 VA miles to HHonors, your bottom line is 35k HHonors + 1000 Virgin Atlantic (remainder). Using the values I worked with above, these points represent about a 50% rebate in value on the $500 total spent.