Which Airlines & Hotels Have Promos For Buying Points?

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One of the best ways to book luxury vacations at huge discounts is by buying points at a discount. In the past I’ve explained under which circumstances it makes sense to buy points. Even though I have on average maybe five million points across my account balances at any given time, I often find that it still makes sense to buy points.

The holidays seem to be an especially popular time for loyalty programs to sell points, so I figured I’d write a post recapping some of the offers for buying points at the moment, especially as several of these offers expire tomorrow, November 30, 2015.

Park-Hyatt-Maldives-21
Buying points can be the great way to visit the Maldives at a discount

Without further ado, below are some of the best options. They’re sorted first by airlines and then hotels, and within each category based on when the offer expires. I won’t be too detailed in the description of the offers, but rather will just link to the original posts, which have lots of details.

Airlines

American AAdvantage

Expires: November 30, 2015
Lowest price per point: ~2.0 cents
Post with more info

American-Bonus-2

American is offering tiered bonuses on the purchase of miles, which is technically their best offer of the year, on a cent per mile basis. The catch is that you have to purchase at least 125,000 miles to achieve that rate, so there’s quite an investment required to get that bonus. Taking advantage of this deal could make sense if you can redeem miles at pre-devaluation prices.

Avianca LifeMiles

Expires: November 30, 2015
Lowest price per point: 1.375 cents
Post with more info

LifeMiles-2

LifeMiles is offering a cyber weekend sale, which offers miles for slightly less than the promotion they’re offering through December 18, 2015. What makes this promotion so special is that you get the 140% bonus even if you’re buying miles in small increments; usually they only offer such a big bonus when you’re purchasing 100,000+ miles, which can be quite costly.

Alaska Mileage Plan

Expires: December 23, 2015
Lowest price per point: ~1.97 cents
Post with more info

Alaska-Bonus-3

Alaska is offering “mystery bonuses” on the purchase of miles, whereby different accounts are targeted for either 35%, 40%, or 50% bonuses. The 50% bonus is unusually large, and can represent a fantastic value, given all of Alaska’s unique airline partners. Even the 40% bonus is otherwise as good as it gets. This is the “buy miles” promotion I take advantage of most frequently.

Hotels

Hyatt Gold Passport

Expires: November 30, 2015
Lowest price per point: ~1.85 cents
Post with more info

Hyatt-30-November

In the past we’ve seen Hyatt occasionally offer 40% bonuses on purchased points, though this is still quite a good offer. It could make sense to take advantage of this offer across a wide spectrum of properties, whether you’re eying a luxury hotel or a lower end one as well. It all comes down to how much the hotel would otherwise cost in cash for your stay.

IHG Rewards Club

Expires: November 30, 2015
Lowest price per point: 0.575 cents
Post with more info

Buy-IHG-Points-2

This is the best offer on the purchase of IHG points of the year, especially since IHG is offering a 100% bonus regardless of how many points you’re purchasing. Keep in mind that if you have IHG’s co-branded credit card you get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, for up to 100,000 points refunded per year. That can potentially increase the value of your purchased points even further.

Hilton HHonors

Expires: December 15, 2015
Lowest price per point: ~0.6 cents
Post with more info

Hilton-Bonus-2

Much like Alaska, Hilton is offering a “mystery bonus” on the purchase of points, whereby you can receive a 30-40% bonus on purchased points. Personally I don’t find Hilton properties to be especially aspirational, though the good news is that there are lots of lower end properties where you can actually get value out of this promotion.

Starwood Preferred Guest

Expires: December 31, 2015
Lowest price per point: 2.625 cents
Post with more info

Starpoints-Discount

Starwood seems to offer this promotion a couple of times per year. It can make sense both for stays at hotels, and also for mileage transfers. You can transfer Starpoints to airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, and you get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. So this is basically also a way to generate airline miles for ~2.1 cents each.

Using the right credit card to buy points

Not only do you want to take advantage of the best opportunities to buy points, but you also want to be sure you’re maximizing the points you can earn for the purchase.

Of the above programs, Avianca LifeMiles and American AAdvantage process mileage purchases directly, which means you’ll want to use a credit card which maximizes your return on airfare, like the following:

Meanwhile the other programs listed above process points purchases through points.com, which doesn’t count as airfare or hotel spend. Therefore you’ll want to use a card which maximizes your return on everyday spend, like one of the following:

Bottom line

The above represent some fantastic opportunities to buy points at a discount, and many of them expire tomorrow. While the value of the above promotions will vary from person to person, I do think most people would get value out of buying at least some of the points currencies.

The best general tip I can give is to not buy points too speculatively. I generally only recommend buy points if you think you’ll be able to use them within a few months, and also if you have a use for them in mind.

Do you plan on buying points through any of the above promotions?

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Comments

  1. Hey Lucky, I think the CPM between AA and LifeMiles are flipped! How cool would it be to pick AAdv miles at that rate!

  2. Thx Ben for your great advises couple of days ago. I bought 75,000 AAdvantage miles, got another 40,000 bonus and bought to business class tickets on Cathay and Etihad.
    JFK-HKG-BKK
    SIN-AUH-DUS
    Getting ready for my around the world trip.
    Your the best.

    Cheers

  3. I was interested in buying IHG points for a trip to Bora Bora but Intercontinental Bora Bora never seems available to book with points…

  4. Yes, bought the 120K IHG miles. Between a few ICs that I’m familiar with, I think I know how to lucratively liquidate them. Contemplating the Alaska miles, but don’t have a similar plan.

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