You can currently buy points at a 100% bonus — but should you?

Sep 9, 2021

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with the latest promotions.


The travel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. Last year, thousands of aircraft were parked due to low passenger loads, while hotel occupancy in the U.S. and abroad plunged to historic levels.

While the recovery is ongoing, airlines and hotel groups are still scrambling to find new or increased income streams to secure fast cash. One of these ways is selling airline miles and hotel points at a discount or bonus. This gives the airline an immediate cash injection as travelers are essentially prepaying for future travel at a potential discount.

Today I’ll walk you through some of the best current airline mile and hotel point sales. But first, let’s discuss if it ever even makes sense to buy miles.

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In This Post

Should I buy points and miles now?

There are a couple of things to consider before taking advantage of point sales. The first is that buying points and miles only makes sense for certain travelers. It’s generally much better to earn points and miles for ‘free’ through welcome bonuses on top travel rewards credit cards.

However, buying points and miles during good promotions can make sense for those who have tapped out their credit card options and can get high value from their points and miles. That said, I only recommend buying points or miles when you have an immediate plan to use them; otherwise, you’re left open to unexpected devaluations.

With that out of the way, here are the buy-points and miles promotions currently available.

Buy airline mile promotions

Singapore Airlines business class
Singapore Airlines business class (Photo by Agent Wolf/Shutterstock.com)

Southwest Rapid Rewards

  • Current promo: Up to a 45% discount
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.51 cents per mile
  • TPG valuation: 1.5 cents per mile
  • Ending date: Sept. 21, 2021
  • Link to buy miles

Southwest is offering up to a 45% discount on points purchased by Sept. 21, 2021. This brings the price down to 1.51 cents per point when you purchase at least 20,000 points, which is just slightly higher than TPG’s valuation. You’ll almost never get more value than 1.5 cents per point in value as Southwest prices award tickets based on the cost of a cash ticket. As such, only use this sale if you need to top up your account for a specific award ticket.

Verdict: Only worthwhile for topping up an account to book a specific award ticket.

United Airlines MileagePlus

  • Current promo: Up to a 100% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.88 cents per mile
  • TPG valuation: 1.3 cents per mile
  • Ending date: Sept. 28, 2021
  • Link to buy miles

United is offering up to a 100% bonus on MileagePlus miles purchased by Sept 28, 2021. This drops the price per mile down to 1.88 cents when you purchase at least 30,000 miles. This is higher than TPG’s 1.3 cent valuation, but could be a good deal if you’re looking to score a discount on expensive business class tickets. Make sure to compare the cost of buying miles with purchasing the ticket outright.

Verdict: May be worthwhile for booking expensive United and Star Alliance award tickets.

American Airlines AAdvantage

  • Current promo: Up to a 75% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.84 cents per mile
  • TPG valuation: 1.4 cents per mile
  • Ending date: Sept. 30, 2021
  • Link to buy miles

American is offering up to a 75% bonus on miles purchased by the end of September. You’ll get the highest bonus when you buy at least 125,000 miles, which drops the price to 1.84 cents per mile. This is higher than TPG’s 1.4 cents per mile valuation but can be a good deal for high-end awards.

Verdict: It can be an OK deal for buying expensive tickets.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

  • Current promo: Up to a 100% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.61 cents per mile
  • TPG valuation: 1.2 cents per mile
  • Ending date: Sept. 30, 2021
  • Link to buy miles

Air France-KLM Flying Blue is offering 100% bonus miles when you buy 30,000 miles or more by the end of September. This lowers the cost to 1.61 cents per mile, which is still higher than our 1.2 cent per mile valuation. That said, it can make sense to buy miles if you redeem them for a high-value business class award and can save money over buying a cash ticket.

Verdict: Can be a good deal for buying premium SkyTeam tickets.

Related: The best credit cards for paying taxes and fees on award tickets

Buy hotel points promotions

Punta Cana coastline
Punta Cana coastline (Photo by Preto Perola/Shutterstock.com)

Radisson Rewards Americas

Radisson Rewards Americas is offering a 100% bonus on points purchases of 3,000 points or more. This brings the cost down to 0.35 cents per point, which is 0.05 cents per point cheaper than TPG’s valuation. In turn, this can be a good way to stock up on Radisson Rewards points to redeem for expensive Radisson stays.

As always, do the math and see if it makes sense to buy points instead of booking a paid stay.

Verdict: Potentially great way to save on expensive Radisson hotel stays.

Marriott Bonvoy

You can earn a mystery bonus on Marriott Bonvoy points when you purchase by Sept. 25, 2021. I was targeted with a 45% bonus, which lowered the purchase price to 0.86 cents per point. This is only moderately higher than TPG’s 0.8 cents per point valuation, but your targeted offer may vary.

Verdict: This can be an excellent way to get a discount on Marriott stays at some hotels and resorts.

Hilton Honors

Hilton is selling points with a 100% discount through September. You will earn this bonus when you buy at least 10,000 points by Sep. 30, 2021. You can buy up to 160,000 points during this promotion, equal to 320,000 points with the bonus. This lets you purchase Hilton points for 0.5 cents each, lower than TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents apiece.

Verdict: Great way to get a discount on some Hilton stays.

Which credit card should you use to buy miles?

Most of these promotions are processed through Points.com rather than directly by the hotel or airline. Unfortunately, that means that you won’t generally get bonus rewards with a card that has a travel category bonus.

Instead, go for one that offers a solid return on non-bonus spending. Some of the best cards that fit this bill include:

If you’re completing a credit card spending requirement, buying points or miles can help you get it done faster. You can check out our guide to the best cards for everyday spending for additional suggestions. The main exception to this rule is American miles. The airline reportedly codes mileage purchases as airfare, so you’ll want to use a credit card that earns bonus miles on airfare for the highest returns on your mileage purchases.

Featured image by Caroline Tanner/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
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.

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.