Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to use small orphan amounts of frequent flyer miles and hotel points – Part 1

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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, and I will add in any additional ideas.

Today I will look at hotel loyalty schemes.  Part 2 – coming in a day or so – will focus on some airline and shopping schemes.  Click on the links to read relevant Head for Points articles 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.

Note: I give links below to the expiry policies of various hotel programmes.  These rules may have temporarily changed due to coronavirus so please double check.

How to use up Accor Live Limitless points

How to use up Accor Live Limitless points

How to use up Hilton Honors points

How to use up Hilton Honors points

How to use up IHG One Rewards points

How to use up IHG One Rewards points

How to use up Marriott Bonvoy points

How to use up Marriott Bonvoy points

How to use up Radisson Rewards points

How to use up Radisson Rewards points

How to use up World of Hyatt points

How to use up World of Hyatt points

My preferred small Hyatt reward is the 6,000 points per night suite upgrade.  You can also upgrade to Club rooms using points for a small premium.

Hyatt has ‘cash and points’ awards at half of the usual points price so you may have enough for a reward after all.  You can also buy Hyatt points.  Airline transfers are from 5,000 points.

You can use 2,000 points for a $10 dining or spa credit at a Hyatt hotel – you do not need to be a guest to do this.  This is surprisingly good value at the higher levels, eg $1,000 of credit for 65,000 Hyatt points. Another option is to use 6,000 points for a one-day Avis car hire redemption

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

You can merge your Hyatt points with those of your partner but both accounts need to have had a cash stay in the previous 12 months.

Hyatt is not an American Express Membership Rewards partner.

The World of Hyatt expiry rules are summarised here.

In Part 2 of this article, which will appear in a day or so, I will look at how to use small amounts of points in some airline and shopping programmes.

Comments (15)

  • ChrisC says:

    You can convert 2k Accor points to 1k avios by sending them to QR then assuming you’ve linked to BA then sending the 1k avios to BAEC.

    Same 2:1 ratio as BA but helpful if you’ve a smaller number of points.

  • Nick G says:

    Can you still buy IHG ambassador for 40k points?

    • Rob says:

      I think so, but very easy to check …. anyone buying Ambassador is unlikely to be bailing out of IHG though!

  • QFFlyer says:

    Pretty sure you can’t transfer QF into Accor. You can double dip, and transfer Accor to QF, but never seen any way of doing it the other way.

  • S says:

    For airline miles, I’d be interested in seeing a summary of what you can do with TAP miles – I suspect a number of your readers have them from the status match promotion. I’ve got 15k or so, but redeeming for flights on TAP (or Lufthansa) seems to be terrible value with very little availability.

    • Rob says:

      I’m also sitting on a similar sum. Need to have a dig but from the last time I looked there are no real options.

      • meta says:

        You can get a discount on economy tickets only. You can also purchase extra miles in one of their sales to top up for one-way awards in business or transfer from Bonvoy.

        • meta says:

          You can also upgrade any economy ticket (apart from basic fare) to business class starting from 6.5k (15k gets you an upgrade in Europe). The process for upgrading is a bit complicated as you fill in the details and they call you.

      • ChrisC says:

        I transferred mine to LH then redeemed for Tesco if I remember correctly

  • DanGK says:

    Good timing for me as I have 3,000 Accor points expiring. I’m finding the transfer page doesn’t do anything except make the ‘Submit’ button grey when I click it!

  • John says:

    Any ideas what I could do with 40,000 odd American Airlines Miles?

    I’ve got no trips to the USA planned for this year or next so I’m not in the best place to use them easily.

    • Rob says:

      Etihad Business Class. Probably best use of AA miles if you’re not heading to the US. Is that enough for a one way to Abu Dhabi?

      You can book any oneworld airline though. Assuming you’ve got some Avios too, you could travel outbound on your AA miles and back on Avios.

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