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

Oct 27, 2021

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The travel industry was hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, but fortunately, travel is starting to look a lot brighter. 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 75% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.57 cents per mile
  • TPG valuation: 1.57 cents per mile
  • Ending date: Nov. 16, 2021
  • Link to buy miles

Southwest is offering up to a 75% bonus on points purchased by Nov. 17, 2021. This brings the price down to 1.57 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.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plus

  • 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: Oct. 30, 2021
  • Link to buy miles

Alaska Airlines is offering a ‘mystery bonus’ where you’ll have to log into your account to view your specific bonus — this means you might see a less than 60% bonus offer. This promotion is valid for miles purchased through Oct. 30. If you received the full 60% bonus offer, this drops the price per mile down to less than 1.85 cents when you purchase at least 40,000 miles. This is on par with TPG’s 1.8 cent valuation, which means depending on where you are looking to travel, this may or may not be a good deal. You’ll want to make sure to compare the cost of buying miles with purchasing the ticket outright.

Verdict: May be worthwhile depending on the cost of purchasing the ticket outright.

American Airlines AAdvantage

  • Current promo: Up to a 35% discount
  • Purchase rate: As low as 2.09 cents per mile
  • TPG valuation: 1.4 cents per mile
  • Ending date: Oct. 31, 2021
  • Link to buy miles

American is offering up to a 35% discount on miles purchased by the end of October. You’ll get the highest discount when you buy at least 100,000 miles, which drops the price to 2.09 cents per mile. This is higher than TPG’s 1.4 cents per mile valuation but can be a good deal for specific 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: Nov. 5, 2021
  • Link to buy miles

Air France-KLM Flying Blue is offering 100% bonus miles when you buy 30,000 miles or more by Nov. 5. This lowers the cost to 1.61 cents per mile, which is still higher than our 1.2 cents 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)

Hilton Honors

Hilton is selling points with a 100% discount through the beginning of December. You will earn this bonus when you buy at least 10,000 points by Dec. 7, 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, which is lower than TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents apiece.

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

World of Hyatt

Through the end of October, you can purchase World of Hyatt points with a 30% bonus, as long as you buy at least 3,000 points or more. You can purchase up to 55,000 points per account per calendar year (plus the bonus), but fortunately, Hyatt makes it very easy to transfer points from one account to another. With this promotion, you’ll be purchasing points at 1.85 cents per point which is slightly elevated than TPG’s valuation of 1.7 cents per point. If you are traveling during a peak time period, you might find that this promotion will save you money versus paying the hotel price. Just remember that Hyatt’s peak and off-peak pricing is now live for stays beginning in March 2022, so double-check how many points you need.

And remember, when redeeming points, you don’t have to pay any resort fees.

Verdict: Depending on the hotel’s current price, purchasing points could save you money.

Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham Rewards is selling points with a 25% discount through Nov. 12, 2021. With this promotion, you just have to purchase at least 2,000 points in one transaction to receive the discount. Since Wyndham has a fixed award chart — 7,500 points, 15,000 points or 30,000 points per night — with this promotion, this is similar to paying $73, $146 or $292 with this current promotion. However, you can only purchase 45,000 points per account per calendar year.

Verdict: If your hotel stay is greater than the purchasing rate, then this can be a great opportunity to purchase points. Or, if you are looking to stay in a 1-bedroom home rental with Vacasa, that’ll cost you just $146 per night.

Choice Privileges

Choice is selling points with up to a 30% bonus when you purchase at least 20,000 points through Nov. 8, 2021. This means you are purchasing points at 0.76 cents per point, which isn’t much higher than TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents per point. With the Choice Privileges program, you can typically book any room type available with your points — even a multi-bedroom suite — so you might find that purchasing points is a great way to save money on an upcoming stay. However, since Choice only allows you to book hotel stays 100 days out when using points, you will only want to purchase points with a specific redemption in mind. You also need to have at least 6,000 points in your account to view award availability.

Verdict: This could be a great way to save money, but you’ll want to compare the price of purchasing points to paying for the hotel room outright.

IHG Rewards

IHG is back to offering their 100% bonus promotion — as long as you buy at least 30,000 points.

This offer allows you to purchase up to 250,000 points plus the bonus points earned. With this promotion, which goes through Nov. 8, 2021, you are purchasing points at 0.5 cents per point, which is the exact same as TPG’s valuation. Similar to many of the other hotel purchasing promotions, you’ll want to compare the cost of purchasing points to the room cost.

Verdict: Depending on where you are looking to stay, this may or may not be a great promotion.

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, 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 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 Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

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
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • 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.