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Normally, earning airline miles during hotel stays doesn’t make sense. But this winter, La Quinta — which will be folded into the Wyndham Rewards program soon — is offering the opportunity to earn three times the normal amount of American Airlines AAdvantage miles when you forgo earning La Quinta Returns points. Through this offer, you’ll earn 750 AAdvantage miles per stay, a haul worth $10.50 based on TPG’s most recent valuations.

If you want to earn American miles instead of La Quinta points, you’ll need to be a member of the AAdvantage program as well as the La Quinta Returns program and stay by March 31, 2019. No registration is required — simply provide both your AAdvantage number and your Returns number at check-in and specify whether you’d like to earn AAdvantage miles or La Quinta Returns points during your stay.

This offer is particularly valuable if you need to stay at any La Quinta properties this winter but don’t particularly care about earning La Quinta Returns points. It’s also valuable for one-night stays at inexpensive La Quinta properties where you’d normally earn minimal Returns points. TPG’s valuations don’t assign a value to Returns points, but La Quinta and Wyndham points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio. So, assuming you agree with TPG’s valuations, you’ll want to earn AAdvantage miles during this offer on any stay costing less than $87.50. Since you’d otherwise earn 10 La Quinta Returns points per dollar spent, you’d take home 875 points on this stay, and if you transfer them to Wyndham Rewards (worth 1.2 cents apiece), you’ll have $10.50 worth of points.

If you have Gold status with La Quinta, your breakeven point will be $72.92 if you have Gold status (and hence earn 12 Returns points per dollar) and $67.31 if you have Elite status (and hence earn 13 Returns points per dollar). If you have stays where the base rates are higher than these amounts, you may want to stick with earning La Quinta/Wyndham points, though if you have zero use of these points, taking home 750 AAdvantage miles may be a much better option.

If you’re going to take advantage of this offer, be aware of the following caveats:

  • You must pay an eligible room rate, which are most rates available to the general public, including Best Available Rate, AAA and AARP.
  • A stay is defined as one or more consecutive nights at the same hotel, even if intermittent check-in / check-out events occur.
  • This offer can’t be combined with any other offers, discounts or promotions.
  • Electing to earn AAdvantage miles per stay is in lieu of Returns points, including any bonus points offer that may be available at the time of stay.
  • Miles will take 6-8 weeks to post to your AAdvantage account.

Read more about this offer on La Quinta’s website here. Regardless of whether you decide to earn La Quinta Returns points or AAdvantage miles, make sure to pay with a rewards-earning credit card. My personal choice would be the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but the annual-fee version of the Wyndham Rewards Visa or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card would also be good choices.

For stays after March 31, 2019, you’ll earn the normal rate of 250 AAdvantage miles per stay if you choose to earn AAdvantage miles. TPG’s latest valuation values 250 AAdvantage miles at only $3.50, so you won’t want to earn AAdvantage miles during La Quinta stays once this offer ends.

Featured photo of La Quinta San Jose Airport courtesy of La Quinta.

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