This is the second part of the updated article I began two weeks ago, 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 how to use 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 or allow in-app points conversion. You can then chuck the card.
Tesco can also merge accounts together if you contact them.
American Express Membership Rewards
If you are closing your American Express card and emptying out 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.
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. You can learn more about the Amex Rewards Credit Card in this article.
Virgin Flying Club
- SPEND – You can use a small amount of points as part-payment towards a cash flight on Virgin Atlantic, or via Virgin Holidays. You will get £16.50 per 3,000 miles used.
- SPEND – Virgin Points (10,000+) can be transferred into Hilton Honors (1:1.5) and IHG Rewards Club (1:1)
- SPEND – 2,000 points gets you a £10 Virgin Voucher, valid at many Virgin Group businesses
- SPEND – you can redeem Virgin Points for hotel rooms booked via the Kaligo.com site
- SPEND – Remember that one-way redemptions are available, so you may need fewer points than you think for a flight (use Avios to come back!). Note that you cannot do a ‘miles and money’ one-way redemption.
- SPEND – In January 2021, Virgin Red will be adding new redemption partners for Virgin Points. These will include options as low as 200 points.
- TOP-UP – You can earn Virgin Points whenever you shop in Morrisons stores
- TOP-UP – There is a 15,000 points sign-up bonus with the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ credit card
- TOP-UP – Alternatively, you could get the free Virgin Atlantic credit card (no bonus) and top-up your account at 0.75 points per £1 spent
- TOP-UP – You can top-up your account from various hotel schemes, Tesco Clubcard, Heathrow Rewards, the Virgin Atlantic credit cards and American Express Membership Rewards, or via a car rental.
- TOP-UP – Some hotel chains give Virgin Points even when they do not give Avios points
- TOP-UP – Receive 3,000 miles with your first Virgin Wines purchase
Lufthansa Miles & More
- SPEND – You can cash out small amounts into Heathrow Airport shopping vouchers via Heathrow Rewards
- SPEND – You can redeem for UK High Street gift cards from 3,700 miles
- SPEND – There are hotel and car hire 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. Applications are currently suspended until Summer 2021 when the card will relaunch as a Visa.
- TOP-UP – You can transfer in from Heathrow Rewards (and out, see the first point) or credit a car rental. Many hotel schemes have suspended transfers into Miles & More due to a on-going legal dispute in Germany.
- TOP-UP – You can also earn Miles & More miles from shopping at Bicester Village
- SPEND – You can redeem Skywards miles for Arsenal football tickets, both general seats and the Emirates Skybox
- SPEND – Once sporting events return to normal, you will also see other event tickets offered. Here are details of an earlier VIP package at the Queen’s Club tennis tournament for example.
- SPEND – You can transfer miles INTO Heathrow Rewards. The minimum is 6,000 miles which gets you a £20 Heathrow shopping voucher. You can also top-up your account with Heathrow Rewards points.
- SPEND – You can redeem Skywards miles for easyJet travel credit
- SPEND – If you are travelling to Dubai, Skywards miles can be used for gift vouchers for various Dubai shops and tourist attractions
- SPEND – You can use your miles to book a hotel via this Emirates / Rocketmiles site
- TOP-UP – Emirates Skywards is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. Miles transfer INSTANTLY as long as your accounts are already linked.
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.
You can redeem SAS points for Radisson and Park Inn hotels, Scandic Hotels, First Hotels, Best Western (selected countries only) amongst other hotel offers – see here. You can also redeem points for lounge access.
SAS EuroBonus is also an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner if you need to top-up your account..
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.