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While I’ve written about these deals individually, I think it’s worth posting a reminder that three loyalty programs are offering a pretty compelling bonus on purchased points at the moment. In no particular order:
Buy Alaska miles with a 40% bonus through April 6, 2017
At the moment Alaska is offering up to a 40% bonus on purchased miles. The bonus is tiered, and the bonus you receive is based on how many miles you buy, as follows:
- Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles = 20% bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 39,000 miles = 30% bonus
- Buy 40,000 – 60,000 miles = 40% bonus
This is an opportunity to buy Alaska miles for as little as 2.11 cents each. While that might not sound that cheap, Alaska Mileage Plan miles are among the most valuable miles out there, for many reasons:
- You’re allowed a free stopover, even on a one-way award
- Mileage Plan has generous change & cancellation policies (up until 60 days before departure you can change and redeposit your award for free, and within that timeframe the cost is $125 per person)
- There’s no limit to how many miles you can buy per promotion, so this is great for people just getting started in the hobby (you can buy up to 60,000 miles pre-bonus per transaction, but can make as many transactions as you’d like)
- Alaska has some unique airline partners, like Fiji Airways, Hainan Airlines, Icelandair, etc.
- Alaska miles are especially useful for travel in Cathay Pacific business class, where there are often five business class seats available per flight; the ability to do a “free” stopover in Hong Kong enroute to elsewhere is awesome as well
- Now that American greatly devalued first class redemptions on partner airlines, redeeming Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific first class is the best way to book that award (though do note that Alaska may not have access to all Cathay Pacific seats)
- Redemption rates in Emirates business class are still reasonable, which is a great way to get to many regions, including India, Africa, Asia, etc.
Buy Starpoints for up to 30% off through April 30, 2017
Starwood is offering a tiered discount on the purchase of points, as follows:
- Buy 5,000 – 9,500 Starpoints and save 10%
- Buy 10,000 – 14,500 Starpoints and save 15%
- Buy 15,000 – 19,500 Starpoints and save 20%
- Buy 20,000 – 30,000 Starpoints and save 30%
This is an opportunity to buy Starpoints for as little as 2.45 cents each. Keep in mind that:
- You can convert Starpoints into Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio, so this is also an opportunity to pick up Marriott Rewards points for ~0.82 cents each, which is an exceptional deal
- Starpoints convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred; this is an opportunity to pick up airline miles in some unique programs for 1.96 cents each
- Starpoints can also be great for hotel redemptions, and there are plenty of circumstances under which you can get more than 2.45 cents of value per point
Buy Hilton points with a 100% bonus through May 3, 2017
Hilton is offering a 100% bonus on purchased points, as long as you purchase at least 5,000 points in one transaction. This is an opportunity to pick up Hilton points for 0.5 cents each. You can purchase at most 80,000 points per account per calendar year, before factoring in any bonuses. That means through this promotion you can pick up 160,000 points for $800.
0.5 cents per point is more than I value Hilton points, though you can definitely get more value out of them than that. For example, their highest end hotels go for $1,000+ per night, yet cost only 95,000 points per night, with a fifth night free. So this is potentially a way to score a huge discount on their best hotels.
With which credit card should you buy points?
All of the above points promotions are processed by points.com, meaning that generally they don’t qualify as airline or hotel purchases. Therefore you’ll want to purchase these points with a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spend, like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, Chase Freedom® Unlimited, or Citi® Double Cash Card.
The exception, however, is Starwood. Anecdotally, purchasing Starpoints triggers double points on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
While I wouldn’t recommend everyone buy points, with a specific use in mind it can represent a great value. I know lots of readers who take advantage of these opportunities to buy Alaska, Hilton, and Starwood points through this promotion, especially for premium redemptions. You should crunch the numbers for yourself as to whether or not this makes sense.