Get up to a 100% bonus when you buy points and miles

Jan 20, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The travel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. Thousands of aircraft are parked due to low passenger loads, while hotel occupancy in the U.S. and abroad has plunged to historic levels. This has left airlines and hotel groups scrambling to find new 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 discount.

We’ll walk you through all of the current airline mile and hotel point sales that we consider good deals. But first, let’s discuss whether or not buying miles during the global coronavirus outbreak is a good idea.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In This Post

Should I buy points and miles now?

While these deals sound great on paper, there are a couple of things to consider before taking advantage of point sales. The first is that buying points and miles makes sense only 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, we only recommend buying points or miles when you have an immediate plan to use them; otherwise, you’re left open to unexpected devaluations.

But here’s the thing: Now isn’t the time to travel, given the state of the coronavirus outbreak. This means that you’re buying miles that you’ll likely use for travel in late 2020 or the first half of 2021. However, there’s no guarantee that travel will be safe by this time, so make sure you understand the cancellation policy of the airline or hotel you’re buying from.

Many airlines and hotel groups are on rocky financial ground right now. We’ve already seen one major airline go bankrupt — when this happens, your miles could be deemed worthless depending on the outcome of the bankruptcy. To play it safe, only purchase points and miles from airlines and hotel companies that you think will make it through the pandemic without filing for bankruptcy or otherwise going insolvent.

With that out of the way, here are the buy-points and miles promotions currently available, sorted by those ending first:

Buy airline mile promotions

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Buy airline miles and fly business class on the cheap. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

American Airlines AAdvantage

American Airlines is offering up to a 40% discount on AAdvantage miles. This drops the price as low as 2.26 cents per point. You must purchase 40,000 AAdvantage miles to get the full discount as smaller amounts give a smaller discount.

This isn’t the best deal we’ve seen for American miles, but it is a solid discount over the normal 3.5 cents per point price.

Verdict: It can be a good deal for those topping up their account balance for a specific award ticket.

Southwest Rapid Rewards

  • Current promo: up to 70% bonus
  • Purchase rate: as low as 1.61 cents per mile
  • TPG valuation: 1.5 cents per mile
  • Ending date: Jan. 27, 2021
  • Link to buy points

Southwest is selling Rapid Rewards points with up to a 70% bonus through Jan. 27. You can earn the highest bonus when you purchase 15,000 points or more, dropping the cent per point value to 1.61 cents apiece. This is higher than TPG’s valuation but could be worthwhile for topping up for a specific award ticket.

It’s worth noting that purchased points do not count toward Companion Pass status.

Verdict: Good option for topping up for a specific award ticket.

United MileagePlus

United is offering up to a 75% bonus on MileagePlus miles purchased by Jan. 31, 2021. You’ll need to buy 40,000 miles or more for the full bonus, and you’ll pay 2.15 cents per mile after the Tax Recovery Fee. This is almost a cent higher than TPG’s valuation of 1.3 cents apiece, so it’s not a good deal unless you can use it to get a discount on a very expensive United award.

Verdict: OK option for topping up account or booking high-value United award ticket.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

  • Current promo: up to a 60% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.85 cents per mile
  • TPG valuation: 1.8 cents per mile
  • Ending date: Feb. 14, 2021
  • Link to buy points

Alaska Airlines is running a targeted buy Mileage Plan miles promotion through the end of the month. Depending on your offer, you may be able to purchase miles with a 60% bonus through the end of October. This bonus brings the cent per mile cost down to 1.85 cents per mile when buying at least 39,000 miles.

TPG values Alaska miles at 1.8 cents apiece, so this can be a good deal if you use the miles for a high-end partner award like Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines first class. For example, you can book a Cathay Pacific business class flight from the U.S. to Asia for 50,000 miles with minimal taxes and fees. You can effectively buy this flight for just $925 (plus tax) with this bonus.

Verdict: A good deal for high-end partner award tickets, especially if targeted for the full 60% bonus.

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

Buy hotel points promotions

Choice Privileges

Choice Hotels is offering a 30% discount on Choice Privileges points purchased by Feb. 12, 2021, dropping the price per point to 0.69 cents. This is just 0.09 cents per point higher than TPG’s valuation and can be a great way to subsidize expensive Choice Hotel stays. Note that you need to purchase at least 3,000 points to take advantage of the discount.

Verdict: Excellent deal for scoring cheap Choice stays.

World of Hyatt

Hyatt is offering a rare opportunity to buy World of Hyatt points with a 30% bonus when you purchase at least 3,000 points. This drops the price to 1.85 cents apiece — just 0.15 cents per point higher than TPG’s valuation. You can use this promotion to score an excellent deal on award stays, especially if you combine it with one of Hyatt’s ongoing special offers.

Verdict: Great for booking discounted Hyatt stays.

Hilton Honors

Hilton is currently offering a 100% bonus on Hilton Honors points purchased by March 5, 2021. You’re eligible for this bonus when you purchase at least 5,000 points, bringing the price down to just 0.5 cents per point. This is 0.1 cents per point lower than TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents per point and can be an excellent way to save on expensive hotel stays.

Verdict: Good for scoring a discount on Hilton stays.

Which credit card should you use to buy miles?

Most of these buy-point/mile 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 the following:

If you’re in the midst of completing a credit card spending requirement, buying 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 only 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 travel for the highest returns on your mileage purchases.

Featured photo by Javier Rodriguez/The Points Guy

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, 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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.