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

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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.

Part 1 looked at using unwanted points in hotel schemes.  Today I look at some of the major European airline schemes and Tesco Clubcard.  I have not covered Avios as Head for Points readers are generally keener to build those up!

Tesco Clubcard (points convert to Avios or Virgin Flying Club)

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 option is earning 25 Clubcard points with Tesco Views for reviewing a Tesco shopping trip.  This 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 at Sainsburys or another partner.

Radisson Rewards is another option, requiring a minimum transfer of just three Amex points.  Hilton Honors requires a minimum transfer of 200 points.

Another option, if you are closing a Gold or Platinum American Express card to avoid the annual fee, is to get the FREE American Express Rewards Credit Card.  Holding this card will keep your Membership Rewards balance alive after you have closed your Gold or Platinum.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Lufthansa Miles & More

  • SPEND – You can cash out small amounts into Heathrow Airport shopping vouchers via Heathrow Rewards
  • SPEND – There are hotel redemptions available via the new M&M hotel booking portal
  • SPEND – Remember that one-way redemptions are allowed on Lufthansa and all its partners, so you need fewer miles than you think
  • SPEND – Keep an eye on the regular list of destinations which are on mileage sale
  • TOP-UP – Whist Lufthansa is not an Amex partner, you can get the dedicated Miles & More credit card to top off an account.  There is a sign-up bonus of 5,000 miles albeit with a £79 fee.  Getting the M&M credit card also stops your miles expiring, so you may not have to rush to spend them after all.
  • TOP-UP – You can indirectly earn Miles & More miles via Amex Membership Rewards by transferring them to Marriott Bonvoy at 2:3 and then on to Lufthansa at 3:1, with a 25% bonus for moving 60,000 points at once
  • TOP-UP – You can transfer in from Heathrow Rewards (and out, see the first point) and of course the usual hotel programmes, or credit a car rental
  • TOP-UP – You can also earn Miles & More miles from shopping at Bicester Village

Emirates Skywards

Etihad Guest

Etihad is a partner with Amex Membership Rewards which lets you top up your account to a suitable level.

You can also cash out via the Etihad Guest Rewards Card / PointsPay.  This is an impressive scheme for small balances which I have used – you get 0.55p per point, delivered as a ‘virtual Visa’ card number.  There is no excuse for having an unused Etihad balance.  I wrote more about Points Pay here.

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, Scandic Hotels, First Hotels, Best Western (selected countries only) amongst other hotel offers.  You can also redeem points for lounge access.  Expiring points, from just 1000, can be donated to charity.

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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Turkish airlines?

  2. daftboy says:

    For Lufthansa Miles & More you can also spend miles at the Lufthansa Worldshop – I don’t think there is a minimum spend amount, so useful if you have small amounts of miles from Lufthansa group airlines and the others that use Miles & More (like Luxair). They often have offers on the various categories of goods available (typically electronics and luggage), although given prices are in Euro it is less good value than it has been in the past. You can order to collect in Frankfurt or Munich, or delivery at a charge.

    • Couldn’t find anything at 1,000 M+M miles unfortunately so had to let them expire.

  3. The Savage Squirrel says:

    Any suggestions for a few thousand Qantas points? Not visiting Australia this year.

    • If you just want to stop points expiring then you can book AirBnB via QF website – earn 500 miles on first trip plus 1 QF per AUD IIRC. They also sometimes have some insurance surveys that will be enough to stop points expiring. Obviously can also earn/redeem on any other Oneworld partners.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Qantas Wellbeing app…not sure if it’s in the UK App Store, but based on your activity (which it can pick up via your phone) it throws me 20-50 QF points per week, which would help someone who needs to stop their QF points expiring, and there’s also some initial tasks which earn bonus points.

  4. Maybe I missed it but has donating to charity been mentioned as a good way to use small amounts of points…a number of airlines allow this including Lufthansa….can’t see this mentioned in the ariticle or the fee….which if true is a bit sad

    • I found with LH they specified a minimum so I had to let the 1k go to waste – would have much preferred to donate them and thought it was quite bad on their part they weren’t willing to accept them for that.

    • It is in Part 1.

  5. Nathan says:

    Any ideas for clearing out Emirates Skysufers (Skywards for U-18s) for any knid of appreciable value? Child 2 has 20+k expiring next month; is AKL based with no reasonable of redeeming for self and is under 18 so the EasyJet redemption option (for family members in Europe) is annoyingly closed off as one must be 18+ to redeem and they expire on 18th birthday!

  6. I recently managed to cash out 7,400 M&M miles earlier for Amazon vouchers. I was 25 miles short of 7,500 but it turned out that only needed 7,400 (2×3,700)! Converted into 2×10 vouchers and decided to forget about M&M – Miles&Bonus from A3 and Eurobonus from SK are so much better!

    Also LH and M&M customer services are simply horrible. I contacted them multiple times online and their replies arrived very late and very rude – their “nyet” is absolutely impossible to challenge and overturn

  7. Savinder says:

    What about Krisflyer? Some of my points are expiring.

  8. bunks unbound says:

    useful article. thanks Rob. I’ve got some orphan Emirates Skyward points I’ve been trying to find a home for!!

  9. Another way to use up very small amounts is on Amazon using the ‘Shops with Points’ option when paying with the card holding the points. Once set up the option comes up on checkout automatically.

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