“Points” It Forward: Good Deeds for Others Using Your Travel Perks and Points

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Giving a helping hand.

(Photo: ©iStock.com/Pornpak Khunatorn)

Many of us have lots of points/miles, guesting privileges to airport lounges, spare BOGOF certificates, and other travel perks. Sharing them with others is, in my opinion, part of the fun.

And when people find themselves in ugly or otherwise unpleasant situations, using our points and perks is a privilege that can make their lives easier.

Firsthand Experience Being “Points Forwarded”

During a particularly heinous November 2000, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A week later, one of my best friends suddenly collapsed and died.

A family friend and loyal Northwest traveler — we’ll call him “Tom” — gifted me a roundtrip ticket to fly home for my friend’s funeral and to see my mother.

Thanks to his generosity, I was able to attend my friend’s memorial service — and spend a few days with at home with Mom before she returned to the hospital, where she died a few weeks later.

I am forever grateful to Tom. Sure, had WorldPerks reward tickets up the wazoo. But he didn’t have to give one to me. He did it because he’s an awesome guy and he could.

Since then, I’ve enjoyed paying — or “points-ing” it forward to help friends and family (or even the odd stranger in an airport) in a time of need.

Some Examples of Points-ing It Forward

BOGOFs, points, and lounge access — oh my!

I want to be clear: I’m not mentioning this to get recognition or anything. I just to share the experience of how rewarding it can be — and maybe inspire some ideas, if you’re so inclined.


One of my neighbors passed away a couple of years ago. His grandsons couldn’t afford to come home for Christmas after paying through the nose for last-minute flights after he died. Thanks to my Delta Amex cards, I had several BOGOFs. Miracle of miracles, we found Christmas itineraries that were companion certificate eligible. They were able to afford one; Delta and Amex picked up the other. (Remember, the cardholder doesn’t need to be on the BOGOF itinerary). Their mother gives me a big hug and can’t stop thanking me whenever we run into each other. Their grandmother gets teary-eyed when she remembers it. I simply was happy to help and make sure my BOGOF got used by someone who really needed it.


Thanks to sign-up bonuses, spend challenges, or just points racked up through various spend methods, many of us have enough points for modest personal travel and then some.

We recently used SkyMiles to fly a family member home to see her ailing father.

My friend Carol is always traveling for business. She tells me she’s booked numerous hotel rooms and flights for friends (“it’s easier than trying to gift points,” she notes). A friend of hers needed a place to stay near Mayo Clinic in Rochester — Carol took care of it with points. She also helped another friend visit his daughter — so he could watch her get engaged.

René recently gifted a friend 15,000 MQM, thanks to meeting spend on his Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express (learn more).


My Platinum Card from American Express (learn more) gets my wife (she’s an authorized user) and me our Global Entry credit every four years. We sometimes have Global Entry credits to spare because so many credit cards now offer that perk. (The credit is not limited to the cardholder and can be used toward anyone’s Global Entry application fee.) Two of my friends enjoy Global Entry; one because of my IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and another with the credit from my Business Platinum Card from American Express (learn more).

If my wife and I see an active duty military member in fatigues on one of our flights, we offer to guest them into a lounge. (They always politely decline.) Or if we’re eating an airport restaurant, we’ll pick up their tab.

Again, these are all just some ideas to share the privileges and fun of points and perks in the travel world.

Have You Points-ed It Forward? Received a Travel Gift in Time of Need? Both?

Have you “Points-ed It Foward” or been the recipient of points, perks, or another travel gift? Share your experiences in the Comments section below! Maybe we’ll learn some creative, new ideas!

“Pay it forward” is a great principle and practice



  1. I’ve used points / miles to help my friends have experiences they wouldn’t otherwise be able to have. My wife and I took three of our friends to Peru earlier this year and paid for business class flights and most hotels with miles / points. We flew another one of my friends and his girlfriend to Pittsburgh for a Steelers game and gifted them a hotel stay so that they could be close to the stadium and not pay out the nose, thanks to Chase UR transfer to World of Hyatt. Another of our friends is flying on a prohibitively expensive weekend for a competition later this year so I found flights and booked them with miles for her.

    We are lucky to have so many miles / points that I don’t know how we’re going to use them all (our bottleneck is time). As such, I feel free to use them on our friends as I can always replenish as needed. It makes me feel good and allows us to give gifts that we couldn’t justify if we were paying cash.

  2. I use my points and miles as perks for employees and to help family and friends for various occasions. I have sent several employees on very nice honeymoons over the years, taking care of the flights and hotels. Funerals and illnesses are another thing we use them for often and a favorite is to send grandparents to see their new grandchild.

    Through our business we earn more than we can burn as well so I enjoy doing things for others who aren’t able to travel themselves.

  3. I offered my BOGO to people in my community but nobody took me up on the offer!

    @Chris how do you know what “Pointsvah” means?

  4. @Barry: I have dozens of Jewish family members and friends. A cantor married my wife and me. I know “mitzvah” technically means “commandment” — but is also associated with good deeds. 🙂

  5. Thanks Chris! No issue with using Mitzvah for a good deed although you are correct, it does mean a commandment.

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