How to use small orphan amounts of miles and points – Part 1 (Hotels)

I thought it was about time to revise and update the lists I first published in 2012 about the best way to use up small amounts of miles and points.

What I want to explore is ‘What is the smallest or most optimum small reward, and how can you ‘top-off’ an account?’.  Please join in the discussion with your ideas in the Comments section.  

Today I will look at some hotel loyalty schemes, and Part 2 tomorrow will focus on some airline and shopping schemes.  Click on the links to read relevant historic Head for Points posts on the topic mentioned.

In all cases below except Accor, there is a formal ‘buy points’ option you can use to get to the level you need for a redemption.  This page (click) has links to the ‘buy points’ pages of the major airline and hotel schemes.  However, I try to find more creative ideas that don’t involve spending money.

How to spend small amounts of points or top up a small balance to something worthwhile:

Club Carlson

Hilton HHonors

Hyatt Gold Passport

My prefererred small Hyatt reward is the 6,000 point suite upgrade, although this is only now valid for one night instead of fourHyatt recently introduced ‘cash and points’ awards, so you may have enough for a reward after all.  You can also buy Hyatt points now – this is another fairly recent innovation, and currently comes with a 30% bonus.  Airline transfers are from 5,000 points.

Accounts can be topped up by eating at a participating Hyatt hotel restaurant or crediting an Avis car rental to Hyatt.

That’s it!

You can merge your Hyatt points with those of your partner, but I think you need to redeem them at the same time.

Hyatt is not an American Express Membership Rewards partner.

The Gold Passport expiry rules are summarised here.

IHG Rewards Club

Le Club Accorhotels

Marriott Rewards

Starwood Preferred Guest

In Part 2 of this post tomorrow, I will look at some airline and shopping programmes.

How and why to transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points to another person for free
Amex Platinum insurance pays up again (when it didn't need to)
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  1. Guesswho2000 says:

    Notice you’ve mentioned erewards for Accor – this is also applicable to Hilton & IHG (although really erewards points should be sent to Iberia Avios imo!).

    • If you need Hilton, 8000 eRW gets 7000 HH as opposed to 3000 IBAv. (There is a “flat fee” for transferring to Hilton but not IB so it’s not proportional)

    • I needed 247 points to reach Accor gold status. Signing up with e-rewards for Accor (250 points welcome bonus) did the trick.

  2. With regard to earning miles from car hire how in practice does it work. I have Avis Preffered with a corporate wizard no. Can I present a loyalty card at point of hire? ( Presuming my corporate account allows it?)

    • Should be ok, and easy to retroclaim otherwise. I know some Hertz rates do not allow miles earning, although you can get Hertz points – not sure if Avis has similar rules.

    • I currently have a 6 week rental with Avis until 1 Sep. I booked over the phone (you can’t book long term rentals online) and asked if I could get any airline miles. The guy said the rate I’m on doesn’t qualify for reward miles. Is it worth submitting a claim after the fact?

      • Does no harm although he may be right. Some hotel stays over 30 days do not earn points.

        • I think it was more which daily rate he put me on than the length of rental. He said the Preferred rate I had was better than the Amex rate, which would be different again from the Virgin rate. No idea how they all work, as I just needed the best price for the time.

  3. plongs3 says:

    Hi , anyone know what to do with 75k Korean Air miles, last time I looked it was about 100K to get to spain with their partners!

    • Korean is in SkyTeam so you should be good for KLM, Air France and Czech Airlines short haul redemptions.

      If they do one way redemptions, it sounds like enough for a one way long haul in business – although I have never seen their reward chart.

    • czechoslovakia says:

      Sorry to bother, but a similar “problem”. 20k Delta Skymiles. Suggestions on best use other than flying SkyTeam? TIA

      • Isn’t there a hotel booking portal which lets you part pay with points, like AA?

        • czechoslovakia says:

          You sir, are a goldmine for nuggets of info like this. Buried away, in the Delta Shop, is a button for Hotels. Looks like the avios equivalent, fixed $/point ratio. MANY thanks. These miles had nowhere better to go as I flew PRG-CDG-LAX-LAS-MAN with OK,AF,DL & VS. Delta offered me a card match challenge on my LH FTL card (I mentioned United when requesting) so I credited them there. Big Thanks Rob

    • AlanYoung says:

      I thought it was only 25,000 return. Also using them with Delta in the US can be as low as 15,000.

  4. Ricardo says:

    You can also top up / drip-feed a small number of points into SPG by linking your account with Uber.

  5. I tried to use my Accor points against a europcar car hire in Ireland. Doesn’t work Ireland isn’t on their list of countries. It’s quite annoying as the list of eligible countries is v small

  6. SPG points can be earned on Emirates also!

  7. Don’t forget the IHG new member quiz if you’ve not done it –

    I think it gives 200 pts

  8. Hi Rob. I have 13000 Virgin Miles which I was considering using for a mile plus money. However, I could transfer 10000 to IHG which would give me the 75000 for Spire and another 25000 IHG miles. Do you think this is the best option? Thanks

    • Assuming you won’t hit the 75k for Spire in any other way before December 31st, 10k Virgin for effectively 35k IHG, including the Spire bonus, sounds pretty good. Remember that Miles & Money fares do not earn miles book which is why I don’t like them much.