9 promotions for buying points and miles for less
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
Loyalty programs are a huge moneymaker for airlines and hotel companies — in part because they have 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.
This round-up of points and miles sales walks you through some of the best current offers on airline miles and hotel points, including some that may be targeted. But first, let’s discuss when it makes sense to buy points and miles.
Should I buy points and miles now?
There are a couple of things to consider before taking advantage of these sales.
First, 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 rewards.
That said, we only recommend buying points or miles if you have an immediate use in mind. Otherwise, you’re left open to unexpected devaluations.
With that out of the way, here are nine promotions for buying points and miles.
Promotions for buying airline miles
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada Aeroplan is letting members select up to 85% bonus points when purchasing Aeroplan points through April 29. Remember, Aeroplan processes point purchases in Canadian dollars, so use a card without a foreign transaction fee and do a currency conversion to determine your cost in U.S. dollars.
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Air France Flying Blue
Flying Blue offers some very reasonably priced awards in both economy and business class, making this one to consider if you want to head to Europe for less.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Current promotion: Up to a 50% bonus.
- Purchase rate: As low as 1.97 cents per mile with a 50% bonus.
- TPG valuation: 1.8 cents per mile.
- End date: May 21.
- Link to buy miles.
The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has been devaluing partner redemptions left and right, but the current promotion could be appealing if you’re ready to buy and redeem miles quickly.
Targeted members can buy Alaska miles with a bonus based on how many miles they purchase. In our test, we were targeted for a 50% bonus, which we have included here, but your rates may be higher or lower. Note that Alaska charges around an 8% tax recovery fee when you buy miles, which is included in the above totals.
American Airlines AAdvantage
- Current promotion: Up to a 35% discount.
- Purchase rate: As low as 2.45 cents per mile.
- TPG valuation: 1.77 cents per mile.
- End date: Unknown.
- 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 2.45 cents per mile. This is significantly higher than TPG’s valuation of American miles but could still be a good deal for specific high-end awards.
JetBlue True Blue offers a bonus that varies based on how many points are purchased and what offer you’ve received. Our offer was for up to a 50% bonus, so that is reflected in the figures above.
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Southwest Rapid Rewards is offering a discount when you buy points through May 19. With this offer, you can receive a 50% bonus as long as you purchase at least 3,000 points in one transaction.
- Current promotion: Up to a 50% discount or 100% bonus.
- Purchase rate: As low as 1.89 cents per mile.
- TPG valuation: 1.21 cents per mile.
- End date: April 28.
- Link to buy miles.
United MileagePlus is offering a bonus and discount when you buy miles by April 28. You’ll unlock a 30% bonus when you buy at least 5,000 miles, a 65% bonus on at least 15,000 miles and a 100% bonus when you buy at least 40,000 miles. The purchase rate is significantly above TPG’s valuation of United miles, but if you are redeeming for a high-value premium award seat, the math can still work in your favor in specific cases.
Promotions for buying hotel points
It is very possible to come out ahead when purchasing Hilton points for half a cent each, especially if you can find standard award availability at a resort such as the Conrad Bora Bora or another high-dollar destination. Here are additional details on this Hilton buy points promotion.
World of Hyatt
World of Hyatt is a favorite of the TPG team for having the most valuable hotel points. When you buy at least 5,000 points through June 2, you’ll unlock a 25% discount.
Last year, we saw a more intriguing promotion from Hyatt that allowed members to buy points for just 1.68 cents apiece. Still, this promotion could be worthwhile since Hyatt waives resort fees on award stays.
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 you won’t usually get bonus rewards with a travel category bonus card.
Instead, go for a card that offers a solid return on non-bonus spending. Remember that you may incur foreign transaction fees on some cards when buying points or miles from a program abroad. As such, you may want to use one of the following cards:
If you’re working toward a credit card spending requirement, using that card may be the way to go. For additional suggestions, check out our guide to the best cards for everyday spending.
The main exception to this rule is American Airlines. 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 when buying AAdvantage miles.
Additional reporting by Caroline Tanner, Clint Henderson, Andrew Kunesh, Benji Stawski, Summer Hull and Katie Genter.