Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to use small orphan amounts of miles and points – Part 2 (Airlines & Shopping)

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

This is the second part of the updated article I began yesterday, discussing the best ways to ‘zero out’ loyalty card accounts which you want to abandon.  You need to remember that you may first need to ‘top off’ an account by earning a few more points before you can reach the smallest redemption level.

Yesterday I looked at the hotel schemes.  Today I look at some of the major European airline and shopping schemes.  I have not covered Avios as Head for Points readers are generally keener of building those up!

Tesco Clubcard

If you have multiple cards in your name, try to get them up to 150 points using extra points coupons or offers.  150 points is the trigger to receive vouchers.  You can then chuck the card.

The easiest options are bonus Clubcard points for giving Tesco Bank your insurance renewal dates and 25 Clubcard points with Tesco Views (the latter is repeatable monthly).

Tesco can also merge accounts together if you contact them, although you may be wary of doing this if you have been putting aggressive multiple purchases through it.

American Express Membership Rewards

If you are closing your Amex card and emptying your Membership Rewards account, you will discover that transfers to Avios are in multiples of 1,000.  If this leaves you with 1-999 spare points, get a Nectar account and transfer the exact balance there.  Each point is worth 0.5p.

Club Carlson is another option, requiring a minimum transfer of just three Amex points.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Lufthansa Miles & More

Emirates Skywards

Etihad Guest

Etihad is a partner with Amex Membership Rewards which lets you top up your account to a suitable level.  There is also a generous hotel booking promotion at the moment.

You can also cash out via PointsPay.  This is an impressive scheme for small balances which I have used – you get 0.4p per point, delivered as a ‘virtual Visa’ card number.  There is no excuse for having an unused Etihad balance.

Etihad has a UK credit card.  You can also transfer in Heathrow Rewards points as well as the usual mix of car hire and hotel partners.

SAS EuroBonus

SAS used to let you redeem small amounts of miles for iTunes and Amazon vouchers but these seem to be permanently out of stock recently.  You can redeem for Radisson and Park Inn hotels amongst other hotel offers.

SAS EuroBonus is also an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner.

Apologies for the lack of Flying Blue coverage, but this scheme is really not my strong point!  Please leave any further suggestions or ideas I have missed in the Comments below.

Comments (23)

  • Koshka says:

    SAS Eurobonus – if you actually have a SAS flight then you can use them for the food and drink menu.

  • Xavier says:

    If I remember well, the smallest amount you can spend with Miles and More is for charity donation (5000 miles). It won’t get you any voucher or plane ticket but I think it’s not a bad way to spend a few orphans miles. I did that one year instead of topping up my account (especially when you consider the low value of LH miles).

  • ADS says:

    Anybody got any suggestions what I can do with 4,409 ANA miles which expire 1st October ??

  • Froggitt says:

    9,600 Delta miles?

  • Guesswho2000 says:

    Air Berlin – I had about 8k languishing until last year, close to expiring they launched a shopping portal which lets you burn your miles for terrible value – better than expiry though. Their topdeal tickets, when available, are good value miles wise, but the taxes make it more or less pointless.

  • Daftboy says:

    You can put Miles and More miles (any amount) towards purchases at the Lufthansa Worldshop – mostly nothing that special apart from Rimowa cases, which are very reasonably priced (in euro) and delivery is ca. €7 anywhere in Europe. 30k odd miles (which would not have been useful for flights for me personally) got me €250 off.

    A somewhat niche option but it is the only “discounted” means I have seen of getting a Rimowa.

  • Tilly71 says:

    Can you transfer small amounts of MR points to Nectar or does this need to be done by a CS rep at Amex?

  • Rob says:

    SQ is a bit niche. Good Economist offer at the moment, 12k for 1 year sub (EDIT: apparently not, it is 3 years!)

    • Jules says:

      Rob do you have a link for the SQ/Economist sub offer and do you know how much it would cost in Pounds? THANKS! 🙂

      • Oliver says:

        It’s not a one year sub, it’s three years for 12,000. And it’s an outrageous price, even if you do legitimately want an Economist subscription.

        One year will get you 8,000 for just under S$450. Again, not great but may be worth looking into if you genuinely want an Economist subscription. No pro-rata refund on either offer.

        FYI they killed the one year 12,000 offer from earlier this year when everyone took it out then cancelled it for a pro-rata refund. 12,000 KF for less than a tenner. Yes please.