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Redeeming Miles and Points for Auctions and Experiences

by on June 25, 2012 · 4 comments

in American, Delta, Starwood, United

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I just had lunch the other day with a good friend of mine who redeemed 5,000 SPG points for tickets to see Madonna in Milan where tickets were going for well over $200, so he got at least 4 cents per point. I’ve redeemed in the past with SPG Moments and have generally gotten excellent seats and received the tickets in the mail soon after redeeming the points.

That being said, generally using points and miles for auctions is a poor redemption value compared to simply redeeming for airline or free hotel night awards. Of course, as with all things miles and points, you should do the math and calculate the value of the experience and see whether it makes sense for you. If redeeming for one of these experiences would greatly enhance your life, then go for it! Just promise not to buy a toaster with 100,000 of your valuable credit card points!

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the auction programs out there. Feel free to comment on your experience with any of them.


Redeem your Starpoints for concerts, sporting events, and even movie premieres.

SPG Moments
VIP Access at the PGA Championship: 20,000 SPG points
Two VIP tickets to attend the 2012 PGA Championship at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, SC, on Friday, August 10, 2012
Access to the SPG Skybox, which overlooks the 17th Hole and serves complimentary food and beverages
Shuttle service is provided from the Sheraton Charleston Airport Hotel to the course and back

Dinner at The Lambs Club with Geoffrey Zakarian: Starting bid 1,500 Starpoints
Two tickets to an exclusive dinner at The Lambs Club with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on July 31, 2012
Tour of the kitchen
Meet and greet with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian.

Coldplay VIP Concert and Meet and Greet with the Band in The Hague: Starting bid 1,000 SPG points
Two general admission tickets to see Coldplay at the Malieveld in The Hague, Netherlands, on Thursday, September 6, 2012
Meet and greet, plus a photo op, with the band on Thursday, September 6, 2012

Saltimbanco by Cirque du Soleil in Doha: 5,000 SPG points
Two premium tickets to Saltimbanco by Cirque du Soleil on Thursday, July 5, 2012, at Aspire Arena in Doha, Qatar
A meet and greet with a Cirque du Soleil artist
Reserved parking for one car


Delta Skymiles can be used for more than just booking flights.

Delta Skymiles Online Auction
PAWN STARS TV Set Visit: Opening Bid 30,000 Delta Skymiles
Access to the set of PAWN STARS to watch the taping of an episode in Las Vegas, NV on Thursday, July 12, 2012
Meet and take photos with the PAWN STARS
PAWN STARS memorabilia

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Movie Premiere: Opening Bid 30,000 Skymiles
Two tickets to attend the World Premiere Screening of Warner Bros. Pictures’ THE DARK KNIGHT RISES on Monday, July 16, 2012 at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 IMAX Theater in New York, NY
One THE DARK KNIGHT RISES movie poster

NASCAR Pure Michigan 400 with a Pace Car Ride & Winning Driver Photo: Opening bid 30,000 Skymiles
Two suite tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI
Two rides in a pace car which includes approximately two laps around the Michigan International Speedway
One parking pass
Two pre-race ‘cold’ pit passes and garage passes
Two Gatorade Victory Lane passes
One photo with the winning driver of the Pure Michigan 400


Use your United miles to bid on adventures.

Mileage Plus Auction
Costa Rica Luxury Vacation: Starting bid 50,000 miles
Roundtrip, economy airfare for two (2) to Liberia, Costa Rica, for July 14-19, 2012
Five-night stay at an Exclusive Resorts villa in Peninsula Papagayo
$400 gift card
Rental car

Lincoln Center Festival Season Pass Starting bid 5,000 miles
Two tickets to four shows at Lincoln Center for the Lincoln Center Festival Season

Los Angeles Dodgers First Pitch Experience – 7/16/12: Starting bid 10,000 miles
Four Dugout Club Seats, Section 3, Row CC, Seats 1-4, at Dodger Stadium
Early arrival to watch Dodgers batting practice
Photo with current Dodgers player or coach
Opportunity to participate in first pitch ceremony
Stadium Club access
Food and non-alcoholic beverages
Press Box tour and parking passes

The American Airlines AAdvantage Auction site.

American AAdvanage Auction
Bourne Legacy Movie Premiere: Starting bid 20,000 miles (Up to 250,000 miles now)
Be there in person at the official U.S. Premiere of The Bourne Legacy in New York City on July 30, 2012

Essence Music Festival- VIP Access: Starting bid 20,000 miles
Exclusive Essence Music Festival Gold Circle Tickets for Friday, July 6-Sunday, July 8
Two  VIP Wristbands, for access to the daily Empowerment Seminars
Take a seat at the table with Gospel Recording Artist Kirk Franklin, one of the most dynamic and successful performers in gospel music history
Winner will enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with Mr. Franklin

Some other auction sites include Priority Club Rewards Auction and Alaska Airlines Auctions.

While some of these can be good deals such as the SPG concert tickets for only 5,000 Starpoints, others are horrible such as the Bourne Legacy movie premiere for 250,000 miles. When looking, just make sure it makes sense to redeem for an experience or if it is better to hold your miles to redeem an award ticket that is a better value for you. Most of these sites are updated often with new auctions, so keep checking back if you don’t see something you like now.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • ArkansasTraveler

    My wife and sister were big fans of American Idol, and SPG had an opportunity to see Daughtry this month in Dallas with an aftershow party and meet and greet for 5000 points. It was a great use of the points for good tickets, transportation to the show, refreshments after the show, and my wife and sister got to meet and talk to someone they had been watching since his days on American Idol. And I was awesome for making it happen.

  • MilesAbound

    I think the true auction formats are not great value and more for the kind of folks who run corporate account where they rack up literally millions of points and it becomes a fun and charitable way of using a big bunch of those miles.

    But as you point out the fixed price ones can have some real gems, like the Madonna concert you mentioned. If I was in the Middle East at the time I would have jumped on the Cirque du Soleil offer, I blogged about this one myself http://milesabound.com/another-hot-cirque-du-soleil-offer/ as I thought it was an amazing deal (typically premium seats for a Cirque show go for $200 a piece or thereabouts). Definitely worth “keeping an eye on” for the odd diamond in the rough

  • BostonBizTraveller

    This weekend, I went to Cirque du Soleil’s “Totem” in Boston with a SPG moments promotion. The event included 2 premium VIP tickets (2X$265=$530); a Family Fun Day with Cirque du Soleil performers (priceless); an upgraded gift bag with program, juggling balls, devil sticks, Totem album, and more (2X ~$75=$150) and upgraded beverages and meals in a private section of the VIP tent (2X~$40=$80).

    All of that was available for a flat redemption of only 5000 points! Even omitting any value with the trainings and sessions from the Cirque du Soleil artists (which were a blast!), that’s more than 14 cents per point of value!

    The entire event was incredibly well done! I’d had trepidations about using points for events, but even with a relatively low level redemption, we were all treated tremendously well the entire day.

    It can be tough to find events that work for you geographically, but if there is one in your area, you should make sure to pounce on it! I’ve never gotten more value out of a redemption!

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