Sunday Reader Question: Does Buying Miles and Points Count As a Travel Expense?

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TPG reader Alvaro asks:

“Are buying points from US Airways (with current promotion) considered travel? I know it’s not airfare but should I purchase them with my Sapphire Preferred so they fall under the travel category?”

It would be great if travel category spending bonuses like the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 2x bonus were eligible on mileage purchases.

Great question – especially since so many credit cards these days give bonuses for travel/airfare like the 3x points you get with the Amex Premier Rewards card, and the Sapphire Preferred 2x points as Alvaro mentions. So it would be great to get those bonuses in addition to a great deal like the recent 100% US Airways bonus. However, in general buying miles and points will not count as a travel purchase since most are actually sold via third party sites like points.com. Delta is the main exception and I have had my mileage purchases count towards travel and even the Amex Platinum $200 yearly fee rebate.

However, it never hurts to ask when trying to get the point bonus. Both Amex and Chase have great customer service and from time to time when my category bonuses don’t post correctly I call and they will manually give me the extra points. While I wouldn’t bank on this for mileage purchases, it never hurts to ask!

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