Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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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 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 – and if you did want to bail out, the obvious route is to convert them to Nectar and go on a spending spree at Argos, Sainsburys or eBay to get 0.66p per Avios.

Using small numbers of Tesco Clubcard points

Tesco Clubcard (points convert to Virgin Points)

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.  There is no minimum conversion into Nectar.

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. You can learn more about the Amex Rewards Credit Card in this article.

Using small numbers of Virgin Points

Virgin Flying Club / Virgin Points

Lufthansa Miles & More

Using Emirates Skywards miles for Arsenal tickets

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 used to 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 although I haven’t run the numbers for some time on the current value.

Use small amounts of SAS Eurobonus miles

SAS EuroBonus

You can redeem SAS points for Radisson 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.

Flying Blue

Apologies for the lack of Flying Blue coverage but this scheme is really not my strong point.  The obvious way to cash out of Flying Blue miles is by transferring them into Accor Live Limitless hotel points in chunks of 4,500.  Please leave any further suggestions or ideas I have missed in the comments below.

Remember that Part 1 of this article, which shows how to use up or top up hotel loyalty points, is here.

Comments (11)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Peter says:

    Unless I have missed something, it is not possible to convert Flying Blue Miles to Accor points.

  • John says:

    RE Flying Blue: Flying Blue has cheap short-haul award flights not unlike BAEC, especially under the Promo Awards scheme.

    For instance, throughout December, you could book GLA-AMS in o/w eco for 5,625 miles and EUR 36 in fees. [Seems some of the December Promo Rewards are gone already; they’ll load the new ones for January in a day or two.]

    • E says:

      The Promo Awards are often a good rate but worth remembering that these aren’t cancellable unlike standard redemptions.

  • Ed says:

    I found Emirates Skywards the most unhelpful of schemes. When I lived in the UAE, I used Emirates for certain business trips in region. When I retired I had a balance of 80K miles in my account and then the pandemic came. Despite BUYING miles to keep the account alive, they cancelled the lot after a year, saying I hadn’t understood the web-site which was crystal clear in suggesting I could extend. I tried appealling, but the London call centre staff aren’t empowered at all and I decided I couldn’t be bothered chasing any more. As a result, I aim to avoid Emirates at every opportunity. Besides, my experience of its Business offering was average with new cabin crew who needed to be told that Scotch was whisky!

  • RussellH says:

    The highest my FB a/c ever got to was 624 or thereabouts (from Accor stays + 1 KLM flight).
    I donated 500 to Médecins sans Frontières and am now stuck with 100+.

    I used to have a decent Miles + More balance, but after various redemptions was left with 116, which they finally cancelled last September. They were stuck there long after the 3 years from when they were earned, thanks to covid.

  • Julia says:

    I’ve used our orphan Kris flyer points on their vRooms site. Originally booked the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates but changed to the Marsa Malaz Kempinski Doha.

    I won’t save Singapore’s points again; transfer in rate is too low, hard expiry date is unhelpful, and opportunities to fly with them are rare. Also even though I wanted to go to the Kempinski in Dubai we are only going to the one in Doha to use up the points. Not my best redemption….

  • Jan M says:

    Any suggestions on what to do with 12,000 TAP miles? I got them through their status match thing during the pandemic and they are about to expire.

  • Mike says:

    1944 Etihad points currently converts to £10. So closer to 0.51p a point. There is also a small conversion fee of 170 pts. You can however convert the points to almost any currency in the world. A handy option if you have a small online paymebt in forex to do and want to avoid fees.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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