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You can currently buy points and miles with up to a 140% bonus — but should you?

Sept. 08, 2022
8 min read
Park Hyatt Chennai
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with the latest promotions.


Loyalty programs are a huge moneymaker for airlines and hotel companies — in large part because they have so many revenue streams. One of these revenue streams is selling airline miles and hotel points at a discount or with a bonus.

Selling points or miles gives the seller an immediate cash injection, as travelers are essentially prepaying for future travel at a potential discount.

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This guide walks you through some of the best current sales on airline miles and hotel points. But first, let’s discuss when it makes sense to buy points and miles.

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Should I buy points and miles now?

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

There are a couple of things to consider before taking advantage of these sales. The first is that buying points and miles only makes sense for certain travelers. It’s generally a much better deal 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.

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

Promotions for buying airline miles

American AAdvantage

  • Current promotion: Up to a 35% discount.
  • Purchase rate: As low as 2.4 cents per mile.
  • TPG valuation: 1.77 cents per mile.
  • Ending date: TBD.
  • Link to buy miles.

American Airlines AAdvantage is offering up to a 35% discount on miles. You’ll get the highest discount when you buy 150,000 miles, dropping the price to 2.4 cents per mile. This is significantly higher than TPG’s valuation but can be a good deal for specific high-end awards.

Verdict: Can be a decent deal if you expect to redeem your miles for otherwise expensive, premium tickets.

Avianca LifeMiles

  • Current promotion: Up to a 140% bonus.
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.37 cents per mile.
  • TPG valuation: 1.7 cents per mile.
  • Ending date: Sept. 8.
  • Link to buy miles.

Of all of this month’s promotions for buying points and miles, Avianca LifeMiles may very well be offering the most appealing. When you buy at least 51,000 LifeMiles, you’ll unlock a 140% bonus. There are some incredible sweet spots in its Star Alliance award chart that you can use to maximize the value of your purchased LifeMiles.

Verdict: A great promotion for buying Star Alliance award tickets.

British Airways Avios

  • Current promotion: 50% bonus.
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.84 cents per Avios.
  • TPG valuation: 1.5 cents per Avios.
  • Ending date: Sept. 14.
  • Link to buy Avios.

British Airways is selling Avios with a 50% bonus through Sept. 14. You must purchase at least 2,000 Avios to be eligible for the bonus, which drops your purchase rate to 1.84 cents apiece. This is higher than TPG's valuation of 1.5 cents per Avios, but it could make sense if you can get a discount when booking an award over a paid ticket.

Verdict: Could be worthwhile to book flights at a discount.

United MileagePlus

  • Current promotion: Depends, but up to a 100% bonus.
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.88 cents per mile.
  • TPG valuation: 1.21 cents per mile.
  • Ending date: Sept. 21.
  • Link to buy miles.

United MileagePlus is offering targeted promotions when buying miles through Sept. 21. Across the TPG staff, we saw offers with up to a 100% bonus when buying at least 40,000 miles. Those who are not targeted for the 100% bonus appear to be largely targeted for a less impressive 85% maximum bonus.

Verdict: Probably skip, unless you’re buying for a flight where you can really maximize United miles.

Promotions for buying hotel points

The Punta Cana coastline in the Dominican Republic. PRETO PEROLA/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% bonus when you purchase at least 2,000 points by Sept. 15. This drops the cost per point to 1 cent, which is higher than TPG's valuation. However, you might find the sale worthwhile if you need to top up your account for a specific award or can save on an expensive stay.

Verdict: Worthwhile if you need to top up your account for a specific redemption.

Hilton Honors

  • Current promotion: Up to a 100% bonus.
  • Purchase rate: As low as 0.5 cents per point.
  • TPG valuation: 0.6 cents per point.
  • Ending date: Sept. 18.
  • Link to buy points.

Hilton Honors is giving its members a 100% bonus when they purchase more than 5,000 Hilton Honors points by Sept. 18. This brings the purchase rate below our valuation of Hilton Honors points. For 120,000 points (purchasable for $600), you can stay in a king lagoon-view suite at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui that usually sells for $1,456.99.

Verdict: Worth comparing cash and award prices on your next Hilton stay.

World of Hyatt

Right now, you can buy World of Hyatt points with a 30% bonus when you purchase at least 5,000 points. This drops the cost per point down to 1.68 cents, which is lower than TPG's valuation of 1.7 cents per point. This makes the sale a solid deal for buying high-end Hyatt stays at a discount.

Verdict: Can be a good deal to buy Hyatt nights at a discount.

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 usually get bonus rewards with a card that has a travel category bonus.

Instead, go for a card that offers a solid return on non-bonus spending. Remember that certain airlines, like Air Canada, sell their miles in currencies other than U.S. dollars. In these cases, ensure that your card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Some of the best cards that fit this bill include:

If you’re working toward a credit card spending requirement, using that card may be the way to go. You can check out our guide to the best cards for everyday spending for additional suggestions.

The main exception to this rule is American. The airline reportedly codes mileage purchases as airfare, so you may want to use a credit card that earns bonus miles on airfare for the highest returns on your mileage purchases.

Additional reporting by Kyle Olsen, Benji Stawski and Katie Genter.

Featured image by (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards

1 - 3X points
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases