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TPG reader Rashmi sent me an email to ask about what to do with small point balances:

“I have some leftover Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. Are there any redemption options that are under the 10,000-mile minimum for transfers to Hilton, or should I just let them go?”

Travel rewards come and go in odd numbers, so it’s not easy to get your loyalty account balance to a neat zero. You’ll usually have some points or miles leftover, and since letting them expire is a mistake, it’s important to know what options you have for redeeming small amounts.

Virgin Atlantic lets you transfer miles to Hilton HHonors at a rate of 2:3, but as Rashmi pointed out, you have to transfer a minimum of 10,000 miles. You can also redeem for flights on a number of airline partners, including Virgin America, Singapore Airlines and more, though you won’t get far (if anywhere) with a small balance.

You can also take advantage of the Miles Plus Money rate and redeem 3,000 miles for a $45 discount on round-trip economy fares or 7,500 miles for a $120 discount on round-trip premium economy fares. Or you can donate as few as 1,000 miles to Virgin Atlantic’s charity partner, Free The Children.

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You can send points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club from all four of the major transferable points programs.

If you want to get good value out of those miles, then instead of looking for ways to burn them up, you should figure out how to get more of them. Fortunately, there are several easy options. Virgin Atlantic is one of only two airlines that partners with all four of the major transferable points programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. You can use those points to boost your Flying Club balance and then redeem as you see fit.

You could just send your miles to Hilton and be done with it, though I don’t think that’s a good trade. I list Flying Club miles at 1.5 cents apiece in my latest monthly valuations, while HHonors points are just 0.5 cents apiece. That means you’re giving up 50% of the total value by converting. I’d look for opportunities to redeem on Virgin America, as the shorter flights are a bargain at 10,000 miles round-trip and you won’t have to pay any surcharges.

For more ideas, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Citi Premier℠ Card

This card is now offering a 50,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel including gas stations
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 50,000 Points are redeemable for $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $500 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline loyalty programs
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$95, waived for first 12 months
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Recommended Credit
Excellent

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.