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Worst and Best Ways to Spend Your Points and Miles

Worst and Best Ways to Spend Your Points and Miles

Points Genius
Worst and Best Ways to Spend Your Points and Miles

Welcome to Point Genius’ comprehensive guide to credit card points and frequent flyer miles redemption, crafted by the ultimate insiders in the industry. We’re unveiling the best and worst ways to utilize your points and miles, offering guidance on what to embrace and what to steer clear of.

This Pursuitist resource is dedicated to helping you avoid common pitfalls and making the most of your accumulated points and miles. We’ll explore the items and services that you shouldn’t spend your credit card points and miles on, helping you sidestep devaluations and get the maximum benefit. More importantly, we will uncover the top methods of redemption that provide the best value – all with the aim of enhancing your lifestyle and catapulting you into the realm of luxury travel. Don’t waste your points and miles any longer! Instead, learn how to strategically utilize them for a truly rewarding and luxurious travel experience.

Starting with our Points Genius policy! It’s important to note that we don’t profit from commissions, we maintain an ad-free platform with no affiliate links, and refrain from tracking and remarketing. As the singular trusted authority in the world of loyalty programs, credit cards, and travel journalism, Pursuitist doesn’t derive income from our readers. Our primary goal is to empower and inspire our Pursuitists to explore the world and indulge in unparalleled VIP access.

Worst and Best Ways to Spend Your Points and Miles Points Genius

Welcome to the thrilling realm of credit card points, miles, hotel rewards, and airline perks, where routine expenditures can transform into phenomenal travel adventures. You may recognize some of the powerhouses in this sphere – American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, along with hotel reward programs from Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, and airline rewards from Delta and United. These programs serve as a portal to luxury experiences that typically demand a substantial investment. The key, however, lies in mastering the navigation through these intricate programs.

Understanding Credit Card Rewards Programs

Not all reward programs are crafted alike, and this disparity becomes especially apparent in the realm of points and miles. Each program showcases distinctive characteristics such as the value assigned to points or miles, methods for earning them, and the array of redemption choices available. For instance, while a Chase Ultimate Reward point may hold a specific value, a Citi ThankYou point might possess a different worth altogether. Although sign-up bonuses frequently provide the swiftest route to accumulating points and miles, certain spending categories, such as dining and travel, can also serve as lucrative avenues for bolstering your rewards balance. Additionally, various hotel and airline brands, like Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, Delta, and United, collaborate with these programs, presenting diverse opportunities for earning and redeeming rewards.

The Points Pitfalls to Avoid

While it’s easy to dive headfirst into points and miles, it’s important to be aware of common misconceptions and mistakes. Not all redemptions offer the same value, and understanding this can save you from making costly errors. Some people believe that points and miles are equivalent to cash or that all points have the same value, which is not accurate. Furthermore, redeeming points for merchandise, gift cards, or low-cost flights usually provides less value than other options.

A few specific things to avoid include:

  • Cash or Gift Cards: These options might seem attractive but often provide less value compared to travel-related redemptions.
  • Merchandise: Points used to purchase merchandise often carry a lower dollar value compared to other redemption options.
  • Inexpensive Domestic Flights: Points and miles might not be worth spending on low-cost flights, especially when those same points could unlock far more valuable experiences.
  • Points or Miles Expiration: Some programs have points or miles that expire after a period of inactivity. Stay active in your account to avoid this.
  • Transferring Points without a Plan: Transferring points to partner airlines or hotels can be beneficial, but doing so without a specific redemption in mind could lead to a loss of point value.
  • Low-Value Upgrades: Using points for minor upgrades, like a slightly better seat on a flight or a room with a slightly better view, usually provides lower value.
  • Non-Travel Related Services: Shopping, dining or other non-travel related services can significantly reduce the value of your points and miles.

Achieving Maximum Points Value

Credit card points and miles offer the best value when used for travel-related expenses. Here are a few smart ways to use your points and miles:

    • High-Value Airfare: Redeeming points for high-value, long-haul flights, particularly in business or first class, offers the best value per point.
    • Hotel Stays: Luxury hotel stays can offer fantastic value, especially when using programs like Marriott Bonvoy or Hyatt’s World of Hyatt.

Hyatt's World of Hyatt

  • Unique Experiences: Many reward programs let you use points for exclusive events or experiences, like concert VIP packages or gourmet dining experiences.
  • Partner Airline Transfers: Cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve allow you to transfer points to partner airlines, often at a 1:1 ratio, unlocking high-value redemptions.
  • Round-the-World Tickets: Some airline programs like Star Alliance, Oneworld, or SkyTeam offer round-the-world tickets for a set amount of miles.
  • Suite Upgrades: Hotel programs like Hyatt’s World of Hyatt allow the use of points to upgrade to a suite.
  • Travel Packages: Programs like Marriott Bonvoy offer travel packages, combining hotel stays with airline miles for great value.

Becoming a genius of credit card points and miles is akin to mastering a fine art. It empowers you to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of reward programs, tailor your strategies to align with your unique travel preferences, and make informed decisions about your spending habits. With this invaluable knowledge at your disposal, you’re poised to seize the full potential of your points and miles, unlocking a world brimming with luxurious travel experiences. Embrace this newfound wisdom, become a Points Genius, and embark on your journey to discover the extraordinary.

Bon voyage!