You are currently viewing 7 current promotions for buying points and miles

7 current promotions for buying points and miles

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.

Loyalty programs are a huge moneymaker for airlines and hotel companies because they have many revenue streams. One of these revenue streams is selling airline miles and hotel points directly to travelers.

This gives the program an immediate cash injection as travelers prepay for future travel. However, it generally only makes sense when a discount or bonus offer is available.

This roundup 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?

Etihad business class Boeing 777-300ER side
Buying miles for high-end travel can be a good deal. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

There are a couple of things to consider before taking advantage of points and miles sales.

First, buying points and miles only makes sense for certain travelers and at certain times. It’s generally a much better deal to earn points and miles for “free” through welcome bonuses tied to 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. It can also make sense when you need more points to lock in a specific award now.

We generally only recommend buying points or miles if you have an immediate use in mind. Otherwise, you’re left open to unexpected devaluations.

With that, here are seven current promotions for buying points and miles.

Related: What are points and miles worth? TPG’s current monthly valuations

Promotions for buying airline miles

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 at gate
Alaska Mileage Plan is offering one of the best promotions for purchasing miles now. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

  • Current promotion: Up to 50% off
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.5 cents per point
  • TPG valuation: 1.4 cents per point
  • End date: Oct. 25
  • Link to buy points

Some Southwest Rapid Rewards members are targeted for a 40%, 45% or 50% discount when buying at least 3,000 points through Oct. 25. Southwest award rates vary with paid rates, so getting more than 1.5 cents per point is often hard. So, we generally only recommend buying Southwest points to top off your account for a specific redemption.

Avianca LifeMiles

  • Current promotion: Up to a 135% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.4 cents per point
  • TPG valuation: 1.7 cents per point
  • End date: Oct. 26
  • Link to buy miles

Avianca LifeMiles is currently running a promotion until Oct. 26. When you purchase between 1,000 and 20,000 LifeMiles, you will receive a 130% bonus. Buying between 21,000 and 200,000 LifeMiles means you’ll get an additional 135% in bonus miles. While this is a great way to lock in Star Alliance award tickets for a discount, Avianca LifeMiles offered miles for 1.25 cents earlier this year.

United MileagePlus

  • Current promotion: Up to a 90% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.98 cents per point
  • TPG valuation: 1.45 cents per point
  • End date: Oct. 26
  • Link to buy miles

Through Oct. 26, United MileagePlus is offering a promotion when you buy at least 5,000 miles. In our tests, most accounts are targeted for a 90% bonus when you purchase at least 40,000 miles, with smaller bonuses when you buy fewer miles. Unfortunately, even with the 90% bonus, the purchase rate for United miles is much higher than our valuation. And remember that United raised the price of some award flights by over 100% earlier this year, so your miles may not go as far as they used to.

Alaska Mileage Plan

  • Current promotion: Up to a 60% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 1.85 cents per point
  • TPG valuation: 1.4 cents per point
  • End date: Oct. 30
  • Link to buy miles

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can use a bonus offer when purchasing miles. Depending on the number of miles you buy, you can receive a 40% bonus for buying between 3,000 and 24,000 miles, a 50% bonus for purchasing between 25,000 and 44,000 miles or a full 60% bonus for buying between 45,000 and 100,000 miles until Oct. 30.

You can check out our guide on maximizing Alaska miles to see if this sale would benefit you.

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 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 buying American miles for specific high-end awards could still make sense.

Promotions for buying hotel points

Hilton Agadir grounds outside
Buying Hilton points with a 100% discount can be a way to save. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Choice Privileges

  • Current promotion: Up to a 30% discount
  • Purchase rate: As low as 0.79 cents per point
  • TPG valuation: 0.6 cents per point
  • End date: Nov. 10
  • Link to buy points

Choice Privileges is offering targeted offers for buying points by Nov. 10. In our sampled account, Choice offered a 30% discount for buying 18,000 or more points, with smaller bonuses for buying fewer points. Although this isn’t the best Choice promotion for buying points we’ve seen, you may be targeted for a better offer.

Hilton Honors

  • Current promotion: Up to a 100% bonus
  • Purchase rate: As low as 0.5 cents per point
  • TPG valuation: 0.6 cents per point
  • End date: Nov. 23
  • Link to buy points

The current Hilton Honors promotion allows you to earn a 100% bonus when purchasing at least 5,000 points, effectively buying Hilton points for just 0.5 cents each. You can buy up to 160,000 points (or 320,000 points after the 100% bonus). While buying points with a specific redemption in mind is generally recommended, it can be beneficial when you’re close to booking your dream vacation. Hilton’s points can be especially valuable for high-cost hotels like the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, where cash rates can exceed $1,000 per night but can be booked for 120,000 Hilton Honors points. Additionally, promotions for buying points can make more affordable stays at less expensive Hilton hotels. With Hilton Honors elite status, you can enjoy a fifth night free on award stays.

Which credit card should you use to buy miles?

Most of these promotions are processed through rather than directly by the hotel or airline. So, you won’t earn bonus rewards with most travel rewards cards.

As such, you’ll want to use an everyday spending card that offers a solid return on non-bonus spending. Or, if you’re working toward a minimum spending requirement to earn a welcome bonus, using that card may be the way to go. 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:

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 return when buying AAdvantage miles.