For a while, there was a huge influx of blog posts out there about buying points. Whether it was airline miles or hotel points, bloggers kept writing about what a good deal buying these points was. When Alaska Airlines made changes to their Emirates award chart shortly after a points sale, a lot of people began criticizing bloggers for promoting mileage purchases so heavily and never disclosing that they received a cut of the sales. This part surprised me because 1.) I had no idea this was the case and 2.) When it comes to affiliate links, most bloggers are required to disclose their relationship with the banks, both in the post and on a designated page of their sites. But I guess Points.com isn’t as strict about disclosures as Chase or American Express, so understandably some people felt duped.
At some point, most of us will find ourselves in a position where we may be considering buying points or miles. Whether it’s a small purchase to top off an account for an award redemption or purchasing hundreds of thousands of airlines miles at a substantial discount for a premium cabin redemption, buying miles makes sense sometimes. I wouldn’t do it speculatively (i.e. buying 100k+ Alaska miles with the intention of flying Emirates first class), but when it comes to topping off an account for an award redemption, I’ll buy points if it makes financial sense.
For example, if it’s between buying 1,000 Alaska miles for $27.50 or paying $500+ for roundtrip airfare, I’ll gladly buy the miles. You should always do the math and figure out whether buying miles makes sense for you. My personal rule of thumb? Don’t buy more than 4,000 miles – and even then, make sure it’s for a premium award redemption.
If you ever do find yourself in a situation where you need to purchase airline miles or hotel points, you might as well pay yourself back for it. Go through a cash back portal and earn the rewards for yourself. At the moment, Yazing, which is my favorite portal for my regular Giftcards.com purchases, is offering 2.5% – 15% cash back when you buy miles or points with various rewards programs. Below is a summary of each rewards program Yazing is offering cash back for, the percentage of cash back being offered, as well as the cost for the minimum and maximum number of points or miles that can be purchased.
PLEASE NOTE: While I’ve included my Yazing affiliate links, I don’t want you guys to actually use them – make sure you log into your own Yazing accounts and use your own links to make point purchases to earn cash back. The only reason I’m including my referral links in this post is because I’m told it helps Yazing’s SEO ranking and since they’ve been so helpful with my manufactured spending routine, I want to help them out. Again, don’t use the links in this post for point purchases if you want to earn cash back for yourself.
Air Fra FlyingBlue – 4% cash back
- Minimum: 1,000 miles for $27.50
- Maximum: 60,000miles for $1,650
Hilton HHonors – 2.5% cash back
- Minimum: 1,000 points for $10
- Maximum: 80,000 points for $800
Hyatt Gold Passport – 8% cash back
- Minimum: 1,000 points for $24
- Maximum: 55,000 points for $1,320
IHG Rewards Club – 2.5% cash back
- Minimum: 1,000 points for $13.50
- Maximum: 60,000 points for $690
- Targeted 50% bonus points through July 18, 2016
JetBlue True Blue – 5% cash back
- Minimum: 2,000 miles for 55 Euro/$61.15
- Maximum: 75,000 miles for 2,062.50 Euro/$2,293.05
Southwest Rapid Rewards – 2.5% cash back
- Minimum: 2,000 miles for $60
- Maximum: 60,000 miles for $1,710
Starwood Preferred Guest – 2.5% cash back
- Minimum: 500 points for $17.50
- Maximum: 30,000 points for $1,050 (or $735 during 30% promo)
- Through July 1, 2016: 30% off purchases of 5,000 points or more
United MileagePlus – 2.5% cash back
- Minimum: 2,000 miles for $70
- Maximum: 150,000 miles for $5,250
Virgin America Elevate – 15% cash back
- Minimum: 500 miles for $26
- Maximum: 20,000 miles for $1,0240 (plus 12,000 bonus points during promo)
- Buy 1,500 – 4,500 Elevate points and get 30% more bonus points
- Buy 5,000+ Elevate points and get 60% more bonus points
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – 2.5% cash back
- Minimum: 1,000 miles for $52
- Maximum: 100,000 miles for $2,725
Wyndham Rewards – 4% cash back
- Minimum: 1,000 points for $11
- Maximum: 5,000 points for $55
Points.com – $5 per point redemption/$3 per swap
What’s your criteria/cut-off for buying points or miles?
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