Buy points for less: Save on Aeroplan, Alaska and more

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There are times when buying points or miles can make a lot of sense.  If you know what you’re doing, it’s often possible to save a lot of money or get a much better experience.  For example, you may be able to spend $50 on points to book a hotel that would have cost you over $100 if you booked the hotel for cash.  Or, maybe you were planning to pay $2,000 for an international economy flight, but you find that you can buy enough miles to book first class for the same $2,000.  In the first example, buying points leads to a big discount.  In the second example, buying points leads to a luxury experience.

In general, I don’t recommend buying points or miles unless you have a plan for how to use them.  It can make sense, though, if you’re confident that you’ll find great opportunities (see this post for a full discussion of this topic).  The following guide looks at current point buying deals, along with some example best uses.  The hope is that this will help inform you of whether acquiring these points is worth bothering with.  Buy only if you need the points and are likely to make use of these deals…

Our favorites

In the current crop of miles & points sales, my favorites are:

  • Avianca LifeMiles: The current 150% bonus isn’t the highest bonus we’ve seen from Avianca, but this time around there is no minimum purchase to get the bonus, whereas we often see tiered bonuses where getting the best deal requires buying a lot of miles. If you need to top off for a valuable redemption, this could be well worth it.
  • Alaska MileagePlan.  Alaska offers incredible award rates for certain partners and allows a free stop-over on one-way awards. The current award chart looks like it will be around until sometime later in 2021. YMMV as to how much notice we may receive on any changes.

Current Airline Mile Deals

Air Canada Aeroplan

Promotion Details:

From July 19, 2021 until July 30, 2021 at 11:59pm ER, Aeroplan members can buy or gift points with an 80% bonus (note the new limit of 1,000,000 purchased points per year before the bonus):

  • Buy 3,000-24,000 , get a 50% bonus (1.57c per point)
  • Buy 25,000-55,000 miles, get a 65% bonus (1.42c per point)
  • Buy 60,000+ miles, get an 80% bonus (1.31c per point)
  • Direct link to this promotion

Previous Promos:

  • Up to 115% bonus (Buy miles from $0.01 each). May 7 at 10:00 am ET until May 13 at 11:59 pm ET.  For the first 10 million Aeroplan Miles sold, members get a 115% bonus; equivalent to $0.014 CAD/mile + sales tax OR $0.01 USD/mile; The next 100 million miles sold, members get a bonus of 90%; equivalent to $0.016 CAD/mile + sales tax + $0.011 USD/mile; All miles sold after this will get a bonus of 65%; equivalent to $0.018 CAD/mile + sales tax OR + $0.013 USD/mile

Best uses:

Things to know:

  • Aeroplan allows a maximum of 1,000,000 points purchased per year before the bonus (note that you will need to make multiple transactions to reach the limit)
  • Aeroplan is an Amex and Capital One transfer partner.
  • Aeroplan has a good policy for lap infant award tickets – see this post for more.

Alaska up to 60% bonus (Buy points from 1.85 cents each)

Alaska miles currently offer great deals for travel on Cathay Pacific, though we don’t know how the award chart will change in the coming months.

Promotion details:

  • Valid through August 23, 2021
  • Bonus is targeted. Here’s an example:
    • Buy 3,000-39,000 miles, get a 40% bonus (2.11c per mile)
    • Buy 40,000-100,000 miles, get a 60% bonus (~1.85c per mile)
  • You can acquire up to 150,000 miles per year (there is no cap for elite members)
  • Offer link

Previous Promos:

  • Buy 3,000-39,000 miles and get a 40% bonus 2.11c per mile). Buy 40,000-100,000 miles and get a 60% bonus (1.85c per mile). Expired May 31, 2020.
  • Buy 30,000-100,000 miles and get a 50% bonus (1.83c per mile). Expires Thursday, March 18, 2021.
  • Buy 3,000-29,000 miles and get a 40% bonus (1.96c per mile). Buy 30,000-100,000 miles and get a 50% bonus (1.83c per mile). Expires August 26, 2020.
  • Buy 40,000-100,000 miles, get a 60% bonus (cost = 1.72c per mile vs usual 2.96c). Valid through May 31, 2020.
  • Valid through December 30, 2019. Buy 40,000 – 60,000 miles, get a 50% bonus
    (this results in a cost of 1.97 cents per mile vs. the usual 2.96 cents per mile price)

Best uses:

  • Business or first class international partner awards.  Alaska Airlines has different award charts for each of their flight partners.  Several of these offer outstanding value.  Some examples are:
    • Business class US to Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific) on Qantas or Fiji Airways, for 55K each way or 60K each way on Cathay Pacific.
    • First class US to Oceana on Qantas for 70K each way.
    • Business class US to Africa on Cathay Pacific for 62.5K each way
    • First class US to Africa on Cathay Pacific for 70K each way (note that you are likely to fly first class to Hong Kong, but then business class from there to Africa).
    • Business class US to Asia on Cathay Pacific or Hainan for 50K each way; or 60K each way on AA or Japan Airlines (JAL).
    • First class US to Asia on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines (JAL) for 70K each way (75K to Southeast Asia on JAL).
  • Several of the above examples are 70K one-way awards for first class international flights.  With the current promotion, it’s possible to buy 140K miles for a round-trip first class award for a total of $2,660.63.  That’s an incredible price for a long distance first class round trip flight!

Things to know:

  • Award availability may be very hard to find.  Buy miles only if you know that the awards are available.
  • Alaska has now joined oneworld and is expected to launch a new award chart in summer 2021.
  • Alaska does not allow mixing partners on a single award right now, but you can book two one-way awards.  For example, if you find availability on Qantas in one direction and Cathay Pacific in the other, you can book two separate one-way awards.
  • Alaska doesn’t show all partner award space online.  For example, to fly Cathay Pacific, you should search for award availability elsewhere (on BritishAirways.com for example) and then call Alaska to book the award.  Warning: Alaska may have access to one fewer seat than what you see at the British Airways site.
  • When Alaska does show partner award space online, the availability may be misleading.  For example, you may see a Qantas first class award
  • You can mix partner flights with Alaska’s own flights on the same award.  For example, you could book Alaska Air to Seattle and then JAL from Seattle to Japan on the same award.
  • Awards may include additional taxes and fees not shown in the examples above.

Virgin Atlantic up to 70% bonus (Buy points for 1.6 cents each)

Details:

  • This offer comes in several tiers:
    • Buy 5,000-24,00 points & get 15% bonus (2.25c per point)
    • Buy 25,000-69,000 points & get 20% bonus (2.1c per point)
    • Buy 70,000-99,000 points & get 40% bonus (1.8c per point)
    • Buy 100,000-150,000 points & get 70% bonus (1.6c per point)
  • Purchase price: Varies depending on which tier you’re buying at and how many miles you’re buying. There’s also a $25 handling fee.  Due to the additional fee, you’ll do better to buy more miles at once (max: 150,000). Note that Loyalty Lobby reports a 70% bonus, but I only initially saw 60% when clicking through. However, once I logged in, I saw the 70% bonus advertised.
  • Note also that Loyalty Lobby reports that if you can purchase in British Pounds, you’ll pay significantly less — as low as 1.22c per point. Details here.
  • Miles are available to buy in increments of 1,000 miles, and you can normally only purchase up to 100,000 miles in the calendar year, although the limit is increased to 150,000 with this offer.
  • Expires: August 14, 2021
  • Offer Link (our affiliate link)

Standard Pricing (as low as 2.22 cents per mile)

  • Virgin Atlantic offers somewhat reasonable standard pricing for their miles
  • Purchase price: $22 per 1,000 miles plus a $20 transaction fee.  Due to the transaction fee, you’ll do better to buy more miles at once (max: 100,000)
  • Cost per mile when you purchase 100,000 = $2,220 / 100,000 = 2.22 cents per mile
  • Miles are available to buy in increments of 1,000 miles, and you can purchase up to 100,000 miles in the calendar year.
  • Offer Link

Best Uses:

  • Fly US to Japan First Class Round Trip for 110,000 or 120,000 miles.  Total cost if you purchased all of the required miles would be less than $2,700 (not counting taxes & fees)!
  • Fly US to Europe non-stop on Delta One (business class) for 50,000 miles, or 100,000 miles round-trip.  Total cost for round-trip: $2,220 plus award taxes and fees.
  • Fly US to Asia non-stop on Delta One (business class) for 60,000 miles, or 120,000 miles round-trip.
  • Almost all Virgin Atlantic economy flights are cheap to book with miles, especially during standard pricing dates (they charge more during certain peak dates).  One-way examples include:
    • East Coast US to London 10K
    • London to South Africa, China, or Hong Kong: 12.5K
    • London to India: 10K

Things to know:

  • Award availability may be hard to find.  Buy miles only if you know that the awards are available.
  • Most Delta flights can be booked online.  You must call to book ANA flights.
  • Flights to/from London include often hefty fuel surcharges.  Best deal is one-way from Hong Kong to London for only ~$42 in fees.
  • Reduce fuel charges by booking two one-way awards rather than one round trip.

Avianca LifeMiles 150% bonus on purchased miles (Buy miles from 1.32 cents each)

Business class to Europe should be 63,000 miles, though you can book JFK-Lisbon on TAP Air Portugal for 35K in business class.

One Mile at a Time has an exclusive deal for a bonus of up to 150%. At just 1.32c per mile, this can be a very good deal (though we sometimes see bonuses as high as 175-200%).

Details:

  • LifeMiles is offering a bonus of 150% when you buy miles through August 3, 2021. This bonus has no minimum: buy from 1,000 to 500,000 miles and get the 150% bonus (1.32c per mile)
  • Effective purchase price: from 1.32c per mile
  • Link to register your LifeMiles number and purchase

Previous promos:

  • Up to 175% bonus (buy miles for 1.2 cents each). Expired 6/8/2021
  • Up to 175% bonus (buy miles for 1.2 cents each). Expired 6/1/2021
  • Up to 170% bonus. Expired 4/16/2021.
  • 120% bonus on transferred miles (you pay 1.5c per mile to transfer miles to another member and they get 120% more miles on top of those you paid to transfer).  Expired 3/30/2021
  • 165% bonus (buy miles for 1.25 cents each). End date not recorded.
  • Up to 140% bonus (buy miles for 1.375 cents each). End date not recorded.

Best uses:

Current Hotel Point Deals

 

IHG 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each)

Promotion details:

  • Valid through August 13, 2021, although there are three different offers with different dates
  • 100% bonus on purchased points when you buy 15,000 points or more – expires June 30, 2021
  • 90% bonus on purchased points when you buy 15,000 points or more – valid July 1-2, 2021
  • 75% bonus on purchased points when you buy 15,000 points or more – valid July 3-August 13, 2021
  • You must buy 26,000 points or more in order to get the cheapest price (0.5 cents per point with the 100% bonus, 0.53 cents per point with the 90% bonus and 0.57 cents per point with the 75% bonus).
  • Members may purchase a maximum of 250,000 points per calendar year
  • Offer link (our affiliate link)

Previous Promos:

  • 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each). Valid through June 10, 2021.
  • 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each). Valid through March 16, 2021.
  • 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each). Valid through August 14, 2020.
  • 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each). Valid through June 20, 2020.
  • Up to 75% bonus. Buy 7,000-19,000 points & get 50% bonus (as low as 0.77cpp depending on how many you buy). Buy 20,000-150,000 points & get 75% bonus (as low as 0.57cpp depending on how many you buy).  End date not recorded.

Best uses:

  • Find the cheapest award nights. IHG dynamically prices most awards, but award pricing often varies even when cash rates do not.  If you’ve picked out a desirable hotel, but you’re flexible with your dates, you should be able to find a great deal.  This post shows how to look at award prices over a long range of dates: The trick to finding IHG 40K free nights.  Even though the post is oriented towards finding 40K free nights, the same trick works in general to find cheap award nights.
  • Use 4th night free sweet spot. IHG dynamically prices most awards. That’s resulted in a new sweet spot when using the 4th night free benefit that comes some IHG credit cards because if the 4th night is the most expensive night, you’ll save more.

Things to know:

  • When you book nights with points, you will not earn points for the stay.
  • Most hotel taxes are not charged on award stays, so this can make the value of buying points even better.  Arguably, this factor and the one above roughly cancel each other out.
  • Resort and destination fees are charged to you regardless of whether you book with cash or points.

Expired Deals

Wyndham 35% bonus (Buy points for 0.96 cents each)

This can be booked through Vacasa for only 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points

Promotion details:

  • Valid through June 30, 2021
  • Get a 35% bonus on purchases of 3,000 points or more.
    (this results in a cost of 0.96 cents per point)
  • You can ordinarily purchase up to 45,000 points per calendar year before the bonus, but with this sale you can buy up to 120,000 points and receive an additional 42,000 points (for a total of 162K points for $1,560).
  • Offer link
  • Should you buy Wyndham points?

Previous Promos:

  • 25% discount (Buy points for 0.975 cents each). Expired May 31, 2021.
  • 40% bonus (Buy points for 0.93 cents each). Expired May 11, 2020.

Best uses:

  • Book Vacasa properties for only 15,000 points per bedroom (see this post for more details)
  • Wyndham Rewards has three redemption tiers – 7,500, 15,000 and 30,000. Seeing as these are fixed, they can be great value when room prices are extremely high (e.g. during special events).
  • Book Go Fast rewards – these is Wyndham’s Cash + Points option and can get you outsized value for the small number of points you have to redeem. See Greg’s calculations for examples.

Things to know:

    • When you book nights with points, you will not earn points for the stay.
    • Most hotel taxes are not charged on award stays, so this can make the value of buying points even better.  Arguably, this factor and the one above roughly cancel each other out.
    • Resort fees are waived on award stays.  This alone can make it worthwhile to use points instead of cash for your bookings.

Hilton 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each)

The beach at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. Standard room prices usually top $800, but standard room awards usually cost less than 90,000 points.  That means that rooms can be had for less than $450 per night with this promotion.

Promotion details:

  • Valid through July 8, 2021
  • Get a 100% bonus on purchases of 10,000 points or more.
    (this results in a cost of 0.5 cents per point)
  • You can ordinarily purchase up to 80,000 points per calendar year before the bonus, but with this sale you can buy up to 160,000 points and receive an additional 160,000 points (for a total of 320K points for $1600). Note that you can also pool Hilton points with up to 10 members.
  • Offer link
  • Should you buy Hilton points?

Previous Promos:

  • 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each). Valid through May 11, 2021.
  • 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each). Valid through July 15, 2020.
  • 100% bonus (Buy points for 0.5 cents each). Valid through February 19, 2020.

Best uses:

  • Use points to book 5 nights for the price of 4.
  • Save money on low category hotels.  Hilton hotel awards start at 5,000 points per night, but those can be very difficult to find.  10,000 and 15,000 point properties are more common.  These would cost $50 or $75 when booked with purchased points.
  • Stay at top tier properties for less.  Most of Hilton’s top tier properties top-out at 95,000 points per night for a standard room.  With this promotion, 95,000 points would cost you $475.  That’s not bad for top tier hotels like the which often costs $800 or more.

Things to know:

    • When you book nights with points, you will not earn points for the stay.
    • Most hotel taxes are not charged on award stays, so this can make the value of buying points even better.  Arguably, this factor and the one above roughly cancel each other out.
    • Resort and destination fees are waived on award stays.  This alone can make it worthwhile to use points instead of cash for your bookings.

Avios (Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia)

British Airways 30-50% bonus Avios

  • Valid through July 4, 2021
  • Buy 1,000-8,000 Avios & get a 30% bonus (buy for 2.44 cents each)
  • Buy 10,000-90,000 Avios & get a 40% bonus (buy for 2.14 cents each)
  • Buy 100,000-200,000 Avios & get a 50% bonus (buy for 1.85 cents each)
  • With the bonus, the price per Avios is 2.13 cents per point (vs. the usual price of 2.775 cents per point)
  • The Bonus Avios will not count towards your promotional limit of 200,000 Avios.
  • Offer Link

Previous Promos

  • 30% bonus (buy for 2.13 cents each). Expired January 30, 2020.

Best uses:

  • Even at 1.85 cents per point, this deal probably isn’t worth doing.

Things to know:

  • Flights where British Airways is the operating carrier usually include hefty fuel surcharges, especially for premium cabin awards.
  • Reduce fuel charges by booking two one-way awards rather than one round trip.

Southwest

Promotion Details (offer appears to be targeted):

  • Buy 5,000-60,000 points and get a discount of 45% (1.51c per point)
  • Direct link to this promotion (our affiliate link)
  • Expires July 6, 2021.
  • Limit of 60,000 points per day but no annual maximum.

Previous Promos

  • Expired August 26, 2020:
    • Buy 3,000-60,000 points and get a discount of 35%, 40% or 45%
      • 35% discount = (1.95c per mile for 3,000 miles down to 1.79c per mile for 60,000 miles)
      • 40% discount = (1.8c per mile for 3,000 miles down to 1.65c per mile for 60,000 miles)
      • 45% discount = (1.65c per mile for 3,000 miles down to 1.51c per mile for 60,000 miles)

Best Uses

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards points are linked to the cost of tickets. In many cases it won’t be worth buying points as you’ll get less than 1.51c per point of value, although redeeming points for cheaper tickets can offer better value than that.

United Mileage Plus

Promotion Details (offer appears to be targeted — mine says up to an 85% bonus, others have the 100% bonus shown below):

  • Buy 5,000-14,000 miles and get a 30% bonus (2.69c per mile)
  • Buy 15,000-39,000 miles and get a 50% bonus (2.19c per mile)
  • Buy 40,000-87.500 miles and get an 85% bonus (1.89c per mile)
  • Direct link to this promotion (our affiliate link)
  • Expires 11:59PM CT on Wednesday June 30, 2021.
  • Bonus miles count toward the 175,000-mile annual limit per account.
  • You may purchase up to 175,000 miles per account per calendar year.
  • Bonus miles will generally be credited to the recipient’s MileagePlus account when the transaction is complete, but it may sometimes take up to 48 hours.

Previous Promos:

  • Buy 40,000-87.500 miles and get a 100% bonus (1.75c per mile for 125,000 miles down to 1.71c per mile for 150,000 miles). Expires March 19, 2021.
  • Buy 40,000-87.500 miles and get a 100% bonus (1.75c per mile for 125,000 miles down to 1.71c per mile for 150,000 miles). Expires August 27, 2020.
  • This offer has two tiers: Buy 5,000-29,000 miles & get 40% bonus (2.69cpp); Buy 30,000-94,000 miles & get 85% bonus (2.03cpp). A 7.5% tax recovery fee is charged which makes this more expensive. Expires February 27, 2020 at 11:59pm CT.

Best uses:

Things to know:

  • United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges when booking awards on partner airlines.

Air France up to 100% bonus (Buy points from 1.68 cents each)

Expired Promotions:

  • Valid through May 30, 2021
  • Bonus offer is tiered:
    • Buy 4,000+ miles, receive 50% bonus (1.8 Euro cents per mile = 2.2cpm)
    • Buy 12,000+ miles, receive 70% bonus (1.62 Euro cents per mile = 1.98cpm)
    • Buy 24,000+ miles, receive 100% bonus (1.375 Euro cents per mile = 1.68cpm)
  • Maximum purchase per calendar year: 100,000 miles (not counting bonus miles).  Elite members are not limited in how many miles they can buy, but they can only receive a maximum of 300,000 bonus miles.
  • Maximum bonus miles that can be earned during promotion: 100,000 for non-elites / 300,000 for elite members)
  • Offer link

Previous promos:

  • Valid through May 30, 2021.
    • Buy 4,000+ miles, receive 50% bonus (1.8 Euro cents per mile = 2.2cpm)
    • Buy 12,000+ miles, receive 70% bonus (1.62 Euro cents per mile = 1.98cpm)
    • Buy 24,000+ miles, receive 100% bonus (1.375 Euro cents per mile = 1.68cpm)
  • Valid through January 14, 2020. Buy 30,000 – 75,000 miles, get a 75% bonus. This results in a cost of 1.57 cents Euro per mile. With the exchange rate at the time of writing, that comes to 1.75 cents US per mile

Best uses:

  • Air France Flying Blue Promo Rewards.  Each month, Air France offers discounted award rates for a number of routes.  Sometimes we’ll see economy flights from the US to Europe available for less than 11,000 miles one-way.  That’s less than $200 in purchased points.  Keep in mind that you’ll also have to pay taxes and fees which vary by route.
  • Delta economy flights between the US and Hawaii for 17,500 miles one-way.  That’s just over $300 one-way with purchased points.  That’s not necessarily much of a deal, but it can be on some routes.  Air France also has great award prices for Delta first class to Hawaii, but Delta rarely releases first class award space on its Hawaii routes.

Things to know:

  • Air France awards usually incur taxes and fees.
  • Award availability may be hard to find.  Buy miles only if you know that the awards you want are available.


American Airlines

Promotion Details:

  • Buy 15,000-75,000 miles and get a 25% bonus (2.38c per mile for 15,000 miles down to 2.17c per mile for 75,000 miles)
  • Buy 76,000-124,000 miles and get a 75% bonus (1.9c per mile for 76,000 miles down to 1.87 c per mile for 124,000 miles)
  • Buy 125,000-150,000 miles and get a 100% bonus (1.73c per mile for 125,000 miles down to 1.71c per mile for 150,000 miles)
  • Direct link to this promotion
  • Expires August 31, 2020

Previous Promos:

  • Up to 55% Bonus + 10% Off (Buy miles for up to 1.86 cents each). Valid through February 16, 2020
  • 70% bonus (Buy points for 1.98 cents each). Valid through January 5, 2020

Best uses:

    • Economy US to Europe for 22,500 miles off-peak.
    • US to Japan or Korea for 60,000 miles one-way business class.
    • US to Africa for 75,000 miles one-way business class.  Qatar Qsuites anyone?
    • Middle East to Asia for 50,000 miles one-way first class.
    • Europe to Africa for 55,000 miles one-way business class or 80,000 miles first class.

Things to know:

  • Saver award availability on American’s own flights is often very hard to find.  Availability on some partners is easier. Buy miles only if you know that the awards are available.
  • AA miles can be great for some extremely high end awards such as Etihad First Apartments (which I reviewed here), Cathay Pacific, JAL, Qatar, etc.
  • AA allows mixing partners in one award.  For example, you could book an award which includes both JAL and Cathay Pacific.
  • AA passes along British Airways fuel surcharges.  This is worth noting because these charge are often crazy high, especially for premium cabin awards. This means that you’ll often see great business class award availability but then you may be disappointed when you find out that BA is the carrier.

Avianca LifeMiles 175% bonus on purchased miles (Buy miles from 1.2 cents each)

Business class to Europe should be 63,000 miles, though you can book JFK-Lisbon on TAP Air Portugal for 35K in business class.

One Mile at a Time has an exclusive deal for a bonus of up to 175%. At just 1.2c per mile at the top tier, this can be an excellent deal.

Details:

  • LifeMiles is offering a bonus of up to 170% when you buy miles through June 8, 2021. The bonus is tiered as follows:
    • Buy 1,000-15,000 miles, get a 160% bonus (1.27c per mile)
    • Buy 16,000-50,000 miles, get a 170% bonus (1.22c per mile)
    • Buy 51,000-200,000 miles, get a 175% bonus (1.2c per mile)
  • Effective purchase price: from 1.2c per mile
  • Link to register your LifeMiles number and purchase

Previous promos:

  • Up to 175% bonus (buy miles for 1.2 cents each). Expired 6/8/2021
  • Up to 175% bonus (buy miles for 1.2 cents each). Expired 6/1/2021
  • Up to 170% bonus. Expired 4/16/2021.
  • 120% bonus on transferred miles (you pay 1.5c per mile to transfer miles to another member and they get 120% more miles on top of those you paid to transfer).  Expired 3/30/2021
  • 165% bonus (buy miles for 1.25 cents each). End date not recorded.
  • Up to 140% bonus (buy miles for 1.375 cents each). End date not recorded.

Best uses:

Avios (Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia)

Iberia 50% bonus (Buy miles for 1.3 cents each)

Details:

  • Buy 2,000-200,000 Iberia Avios & get 50% bonus (as low as 1.3cpp)
    • To get this cheaper rate, you need to change the country at the top of the page to Spain-English (h/t One Mile At A Time).
  • Expires February 28, 2020.
  • Link To Buy

Choice 30% bonus (Buy points for 0.76 cents each)

Details:

  • Get a bonus when buying Choice Privileges points:
    • Buy 4K to 7K: 20% bonus
    • Buy 8K to 14K: 25% bonus
    • Buy 15K or more: 30% bonus
  • Direct link to offer (our affiliate link).
  • Expires June 25, 2021.
  • Limit 180,000 purchased points.
  • See: Should you buy Choice points?

Previous Promos:

  • 25% discount (buy points for 0.74 cents each). Expired 5/20/21
  • 40% bonus (buy points for 0.71 cents each). End date not recorded.
  • 25% discount (buy points for 0.74 cents each). Expired 8/16/20
  • 30% discount (buy points for 0.69 cents each). End date not recorded.

Best uses:

  • Use points to book upgraded rooms for the same award price as standard rooms.
  • Look for situations where the point price offers better than 1 cent per point value.  For example, if the point price is 20,000 points, then points would be a good value when the paid price is $200 or more.
  • Choice’s Nordic properties are known to offer particularly good value.
  • With Bluegreen Vacation properties, it’s possible to condos (sometimes with up to 3 bedrooms) for only 30,000 points per night.

Things to know:

  • Free night awards can only be booked within 100 days of check-in.
  • Each hotel is assigned point award prices that may vary by season or by day of week.
  • Choice often offers points for sale for less than half a cent each during the Daily Getaways each spring.  It’s worth waiting for that deal if you don’t need points immediately.

Etihad Guest

Promotion Details:

  • Buy miles with a bonus through June 19, 2020 at the following rates:
    • Buy 6,000 – 20,000 miles = 20% Bonus (1.67cpm)
    • Buy 21,000 – 40,000 miles = 40% Bonus (1.43cpm)
    • Buy 41,000+ miles = 60% Bonus (1.25cpm)
  • You can purchase up to 100,000 miles per year pre-bonus
  • Direct link to this promotion

Previous Promos:

  • Valid through December 31, 2019. Buy 41,000 – 60,000 miles, get a 30% discount
    (this results in a cost of 1.4 cents per mile vs. the usual 2 cents per mile price)

Best uses:

  • Business class from the US to Morocco on Royal Air Maroc for 44,000 miles one-way
  • Business class from the US to Brussels on Brussels Airlines for 44,000 miles one-way
  • American Airlines flights at “old” award chart prices

Things to know:

  • Etihad is currently also selling travel vouchers with a 50% bonus
  • Etihad is an Amex, Citi, and Capital One transfer partner, so there are many other ways to put together miles
  • Etihad maintains a separate award chart with each partner and awards are most typically priced by segment (not true with American Airlines)

Hyatt 30% bonus (Buy points for 1.85 cents each)

Promotion details:

  • Expires June 25, 2021
  • Get a 30% bonus on purchases of 5,000 points or more.
  • This results in a cost of 1.85 cents per point. Note that this is not their best deal: Hyatt sometimes offers a 40% bonus for a rate of 1.7c per point.
  • You can purchase up to 55,000 points per calendar year before the bonus.
  • Offer link

Previous Promos:

  • 30% bonus (Buy points for 1.85 cents per point). Expired July 29, 2020.
  • 25% discount (Buy points for 1.8 cents per point). Expired February 29, 2020.
  • 40% bonus (Buy points for 1.7 cents per point). Expired December 31, 2019.

Best uses:

  • Save money on low category off-peak hotels.  Hyatt off-peak award rates will start at 3,500 points per night when that pricing debuts next year.  At 1.7 cents per point, you can book these properties for just under $65 per night.
  • Stay at top tier properties for less.  Most of Hyatt’s top tier properties top out at 30,000 points per night.  At 1.85 cents per point, you can book these properties for $555 per night.  That can be a bargain given that some regularly cost over $1,000 per night (like the Ventana Big Sur, which is now all-inclusive).  Some specialty properties top out at 40,000 points per night.  At 1.85 cents per point, these can be booked for $740 per night.

Things to know:

  • When you book nights with points, you will not earn points for the stay.
  • Most hotel taxes are not charged on award stays, so this can make the value of buying points even better.  Arguably, this factor and the one above roughly cancel each other out.
  • Resort and destination fees are waived on award stays.  This alone can make it worthwhile to use points instead of cash for your bookings.

Marriott 30% discount (Buy points for 0.875 cents each)

Promotion details:

  • Valid through June 20, 2021
  • Save 30% on purchases of 2,000+ points
    (this results in a cost of 0.875 cents per point vs. the usual 1.25 cents per point price)
  • Points may be purchased in increments of 1,000, up to 50,000 Points (with a minimum purchase of 2,000 Points required for promotion eligibility), or in increments of 5,000, up to 100,000 Points.
  • Offer link

Previous promos:

  • 60% bonus (Buy points for 0.78 cents each).  Valid through July 15, 2020
  • 50% bonus (Buy points for 0.83 cents each). Valid through March 25, 2020
  • 30% discount (Buy points for 0.875 cents each). Valid through December 22, 2019

Best uses:

  • Use points to book 5 nights in order to get one night free
  • Save money on low category hotels.  For example, category 1 standard award pricing is 7,500 points per night.  With the current discount, you can buy 15,000 points in order to book two nights for $131.25 (~$66 per night).  If hotel rates are significantly higher than $66 per night, then it can make sense to buy the required points.
  • Stay at top tier properties for less.  Marriott’s top tier category 8 properties cost 85,000 points at standard rates, 70,000 off-peak and 100,000 peak.  At standard award pricing, it’s possible to buy 50,000 points for $437.50 and 35,000 points for $306.25 for a total of $743.75.  There’s no question that that’s a lot to spend, but some of Marriott’s top properties cost significantly more.  For example, the St. Regis Bora Bora often costs over $1,500 per night. So, you can save more than 50%.  Keep in mind that it makes no sense to buy points for a top tier hotel if the rates at the time you want to go are less than $800.

Things to know:

  • When you book nights with points, you will not earn points for the stay.
  • Most hotel taxes are not charged on award stays, so this can make the value of buying points even better.  Arguably, this factor and the one above roughly cancel each other out.
  • Resort and destination fees are charged to you regardless of whether you book with cash or points.
  • When you book 5 award nights in one booking at one hotel, Marriott charges you only for 4 nights (the least expensive night is removed from the cost).
  • You will earn elite nights on either cash or point stays.  This is only relevant to those seeking elite status.
  • Please see our guide for more information: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide.

Radisson: Get 25% more points (Buy points for 0.56 cents each)

Promotion details:

  • Valid through February 28, 2020
  • Get a 25% bonus on purchases of 5,000+ points
    (this results in a cost of 0.56 cents per point vs. the usual 0.7 cents per point price)
  • The maximum purchase is 80,000 points pre-bonus. (100K after bonus)
  • The annual maximum for purchased points (pre-bonus) is 80K points
  • Offer link

Best uses:

  • Note that it is generally difficult to get significantly better than 0.56 cents per point from Radisson points. Only buy these with a specific near-term use in mind.
  • Save money on low category hotels.  For example, category 1 standard award pricing is 9,000 points per night.  With the current discount, you can buy 18,000+ points in order to book two nights for $105 ($52.50 per night).  If hotel rates are significantly higher than $52.50 per night, then it can make sense to buy the required points.
  • Stay at top tier properties for less.  Radisson’s top tier category 7 properties cost 70,000 points per night.  At standard award pricing, it’s possible to buy exactly 70K points for $392.  There’s no question that that’s a lot to spend, and in most cases that will not represent much of a deal, but it might save you something at some of the higher end places in expensive cities in Europe.
  • Stay in premium rooms for less: Radisson allows you to redeem 50% more than the “standard” room price for a “Premium Room Award”. Premium rooms vary wildly, but in some cases it may be possible to book a suite or room with a specific view for 50% more points than a standard room, which could be a good deal.

Things to know:

  • When you book nights with points, you will not earn points for the stay.
  • Most hotel taxes are not charged on award stays, so this can make the value of buying points even better.  Arguably, this factor and the one above roughly cancel each other out.
  • Resort and destination fees are charged to you regardless of whether you book with cash or points.
  • You will earn elite nights on either cash or point stays.  This is only relevant to those seeking elite status.

Virgin Atlantic up to 50% bonus (Buy miles for 1.8 cents each)

Details:

  • This offer comes in several tiers:
    • Buy 5,000-9,000 miles & get 15% bonus (2.35cpp)
    • Buy 10,000-29,000 miles & get 20% bonus (2.25cpp)
    • Buy 30,000-69,000 miles & get 30% bonus (2.08cpp)
    • Buy 70,000-100,000 miles & get 40% bonus (1.93cpp)
    • Buy 101,000-150,000 miles & get 50% bonus (1.8cpp)
  • Purchase price: Varies depending on which tier you’re buying at and how many miles you’re buying. There’s also a $25 handling fee.  Due to the additional fee, you’ll do better to buy more miles at once (max: 150,000)
  • Miles are available to buy in increments of 1,000 miles, and you can normally only purchase up to 100,000 miles in the calendar year, although the limit is increased to 150,000 with this offer.
  • Offer Link (our affiliate link)

Standard Pricing (as low as 2.22 cents per mile)

  • Virgin Atlantic offers somewhat reasonable standard pricing for their miles
  • Purchase price: $22 per 1,000 miles plus a $20 transaction fee.  Due to the transaction fee, you’ll do better to buy more miles at once (max: 100,000)
  • Cost per mile when you purchase 100,000 = $2,220 / 100,000 = 2.22 cents per mile
  • Miles are available to buy in increments of 1,000 miles, and you can purchase up to 100,000 miles in the calendar year.
  • Offer Link

Best Uses:

  • Fly US to Japan First Class Round Trip for 110,000 or 120,000 miles.  Total cost if you purchased all of the required miles would be less than $2,700 (not counting taxes & fees)!
  • Fly US to Europe non-stop on Delta One (business class) for 50,000 miles, or 100,000 miles round-trip.  Total cost for round-trip: $2,220 plus award taxes and fees.
  • Fly US to Asia non-stop on Delta One (business class) for 60,000 miles, or 120,000 miles round-trip.
  • Almost all Virgin Atlantic economy flights are cheap to book with miles, especially during standard pricing dates (they charge more during certain peak dates).  One-way examples include:
    • East Coast US to London 10K
    • London to South Africa, China, or Hong Kong: 12.5K
    • London to India: 10K

Things to know:

  • Award availability may be hard to find.  Buy miles only if you know that the awards are available.
  • Most Delta flights can be booked online.  You must call to book ANA flights.
  • Flights to/from London include often hefty fuel surcharges.  Best deal is one-way from Hong Kong to London for only ~$42 in fees.
  • Reduce fuel charges by booking two one-way awards rather than one round trip.
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