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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.

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

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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Balance Transfer Fee
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Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.

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