Which Loyalty Programs Are TPG Readers Banking Their Points In?

Jan 21, 2018

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With so many different airline and hotel loyalty programs, it’s difficult to choose which one to focus on — and in fact, it’s wise to keep points and miles in a variety of programs. The more options you have, the more likely it is you’ll be able to find a redemption that works for your needs when the time comes.

But not all points and miles are equal, and without a doubt, some are more useful to have than others. So we asked our readers in the TPG Lounge to tell us where they’re banking their points and miles right now, and why. Here are some of the more interesting responses. (Some comments have been lightly edited for clarification.)

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The tail end of a storm obscures parts of the city as it passes through Tokyo at dusk.
One reader signed up for a Chase Ink Business Preferred to use Ultimate Rewards for a first class flight to Tokyo. Photo by Getty Images.

“Ultimate Rewards. I’m saving them to take my husband to Hawaii for his 50th birthday in 2019!” — Melissa M.

“UR to transfer to United so I can go back and visit New Zealand again. My favorite place on the planet!” — Dorina M.

“Ultimate Rewards. Just opened an Ink Business Preferred for the sign up bonus to give us enough for our first ever first class flight: ANA to Tokyo in 2019 for our 30th birthdays.” — Anthony I.

“Chase UR! Even though I just spent 120,000 transferring to Hyatt for my Baha Mar stay, I still have another 160k.” — Rob M.

“UR… banked more than one million in the past 5 years, have a little over 300,000 after several flights purchased with points.” — Joseph J.

“UR. Currently at 162k and saving for my wife’s 40th b-day trip to Paris next year.” — Vanessa R.

American Express Membership Rewards

Traditional junk boat sailing across Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong.
Membership Rewards are getting one reader a hotel in Hong Kong this year.

“I am trying to build up my MR [Membership Rewards] points with a few signup bonuses. Saving for business class to Europe for Oktoberfest and then start rebuilding for the 2020 Olympics.” — Michelle H.

“MR and UA [United Airlines]. Honeymoon at the end of 2018!” — Brandon P.

“I churn through rewards points pretty fast. Never let balances hit 200k… saving up for round-trip biz with Amex MR right now, but then it’s back down again. Can’t stand the thought of having so many miles and points that could devalue so fast. Gotta use them!!!” — Joey P.

“Amex MR. Planning to use the MR for a hotel in Hong Kong later this year!” — Ric P.

American AAdvantage

AAdvantage miles can be used to book premium seats on partners, such as Qatar’s Qsuite.

“343K with AA [American Airlines]. I’ve been stockpiling miles for years. Now I’m going to start using them for a year filled with as much travel as possible. I’m thinking some will be used for Egypt, France, and Chile.” — Becky B.

“American Airlines – just spent 300k points (saved over the last 8 months or so) on two round trip tickets via Qatar QSuite from JFK-Nairobi and back from Seychelles-JFK for our honeymoon in November. We are so excited and I’m not sure what I’m looking forward to more, the Qsuite or the safari in Kenya!” — Ted D.

“AA… planning to leverage for Qatar Airways and fly IAD [Washington DC] to SEZ [Seychelles].” — Patrick K.

“Since I don’t fly that much anymore, I buy AA miles when it’s on sale. I use AA miles in exchange for business class tickets to Asia on CX [Cathay Pacific] or JAL – 140k AA miles round-trip = ~$2500 – well worth it.” — Ariel K.

“AA 650K…deciding between Maldives and Fiji, used some of them for our trip to Antarctica next week…” — Debbie H.

Hotel Programs

I loved my stay at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto.
One reader is planning to redeem Marriott Rewards for a room at the Ritz-Carlon Kyoto.

“IHG is my bread & butter since I don’t need fancy for work travel. Makes it easy to complete offers (like Accelerate). Usually earn 150k-200k a year.” — Mark S.

“Hilton – saving for a honeymoon someday! I’ve got somewhere up around 600,000 socked away.” — Caroline J.

“We’re banking plenty of Marriott Rewards to stay in the Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto Ritz Carltons.” — Jordan J.

“Starting to pick some up with SPG. I have begun using them primarily for first class flights and nice mini vacations before and after cruises. Pay cash for the cruise but use points to take advantage of the fact that we have to travel to a particular port(s) anyway, and have nice vacations there as well.” — Susan F.

“IHG and just used most of them to cover all of our hotels for our 2 week honeymoon in London, Liverpool, and Rome!” — Gretchen E.

“Hilton, I’ve banked more than a million points in the last 16 months thanks to generous promotions. I’m still hovering north of a million after redeeming 160k for two nights at the Hilton Amsterdam and two tickets to Lady Gaga next Saturday.” — Michael J.

“Marriott. Looking to cash in on a flight+hotel deal!” — Jared M.

“Hilton. 870,000. I really just want to get to a million for fun. But we keep using them so it’s hard!” — Christine S.

And others…

The first-class cabin is quite spacious with 5 seats per row.
One TPG reader is saving United miles to fly his family first class from New York/Newark to Hawaii.

“Delta, I bank for flash sales. Just scored an MCI [Kansas City] – PTY [Panama City] flight for 14k miles round-trip when normal 50-70k.” — Jason C.

“Alaska Airlines! Saving for two round trip first class tickets to Europe from the west coast.” — Mike B.

“800k United miles. [Flying] family of 4 first class from EWR [Newark] to Hawaii.” — Peter J.

“Aeroplan. 60k miles. Waiting to hear back about international exchange at my University to use them up. If not, probably a trip to Europe.” — Patrick M.

“Delta Skymiles – 2.2 million right now amongst myself, wife, and kids. I bank around 750K SkyMiles a year and try to cycle them as much as I can.” — Beau S.

“1 million+ LifeMiles. Living in Colombia it makes sense. Also have redeemed them for nice biz class trips on Asiana and Ethiopian.” — Tim G.

“I try not to let mine get over 300k in one program. Once i hit that number i am looking for discounted business or first class tickets somewhere cool and distant.” — Jerrod K.

Southwest points because ‘I wanna get away’ but a few times it’s turned out to be ‘I wanna get back’ after a few hours in that new place.” — Ben H.

Bottom Line

It’s important to have a travel goal and to keep your eye on it — just don’t hoard too many points for too long, lest you lose your chance to maximize them because of a devaluation. So make sure you’re using your points just as often as you’re earning them.

Featured image of Auckland, New Zealand by Getty Images.

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CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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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.