How Do YOU Use YOUR Points and Miles?

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The sun sets behind a Delta 757 at Kona, Hawaii (KOA). We took this picture on a trip paid with Delta SkyMiles!

The sun sets behind a Delta 757 at Kona, Hawaii (KOA). We took this picture during a trip paid with Delta SkyMiles!

As a points, miles, and travel enthusiast, I love learning how others use rewards to create great experiences for themselves, their families, friends, and others. These discussions usually provide great ideas for future trips, different ideas on how to save money (and points/miles), and inspire ideas about personal points/miles strategies.

Most of all, though they’re fun discussions. (These informal chats happen all the time at the Chicago Seminars, BTW. Will I see you there?)

A recent FlyerTalk discussion about using SkyMiles was interesting to read.

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort

Some people Points It Forward and treat others to trips. Others use them for last-minute getaways or emergency purposes. One poster treats themselves to premium drink in Sky Clubs.

The majority of people pretty much echoed what René said long ago:

Think of them like a new car – they are NEVER more valuable than the moment you get them. Then immediately they start to become less valuable.

People find ways to use points that make their own, personal lives better or enjoyable somehow.

So I want to hear how YOU use YOUR points and miles. SkyMiles, American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Thank You, FlexPerks points, whatever.

Please share your experiences, tips, and ideas in the below Comments section. Or if you’re new to the points and miles game, ask a question!

Please respectful of your fellow readers and commenters. Suggestions are one thing; name-calling is another. The former is welcome; the latter will be deleted.



  1. I give away more than I use – friends, family, Make a Wish – I guess a version of Points it Forward.

    For my own travel, I like to book experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise pay for – I pay for Holiday Inn Express, but recently for fun travel I used IHG points at the Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong Intercontinental hotels. All amazing properties. Nice way to use the credit card bonuses.

    Similarly for air miles, I’ve found that it doesn’t pay to use them for domestic travel. For the points equivalent of 3-4 domestic r/t tickets, I was able to get $15,000 Qantas business class tickets on the A-380 from SEA to SYD via LAX.

  2. I points/miles for getaways for my wife and myself. Anything from long weekends a few hours away using hotel free nights and points, to week+ long trips to other countries on miles and points. I’ve offered other people flights a couple of times, but they’ve felt to awkward getting such a “large” gift and never taken me up on it.
    I’ve also used them for last minute emergencies to get to a funeral or book a hotel night when we couldn’t drive any longer on a long road trip.
    I usually find chase UR -> Hyatt points transfers some of the best value. I also used to use the BOS – > DUB BA avios award route before they raised the price.
    These days I book quite a bit through the chase portal bc round trips are often less than using points via the airline for a typical award ticket.
    My wife and I don’t like southwest in general, and we don’t like basic economy tickets bc we aren’t guaranteed to sit together.
    Some of our best trips have been to join family who are taking more extravagant trips that we otherwise couldn’t afford to join them on!

  3. As I’ve become a bit more a person of size, I’ve appreciated being able to use points to travel in domestic first. It makes the trip more comfortable for everyone.

  4. This just happened three weeks ago. I call my daughter and ask: I heard you were coming home for Labor Day weekend. She: I was, but it costs $450, so I’m not. Me: I just got more points with my new credit card. Let’s see what we can do. Upshot: For 40,000 Skymiles she is coming after all to see us and her elderly grandparents.

    I can’t think of a better use of my points than to make these sorts of trips possible.

  5. It’s a mix between things would not pay for (like business class to Europe for our family of 5, 2 years in a row using Alaska miles on AF and AA), but then otherwise just limiting travel expenses (will use the points for an airport hotel if the redemption value is decent). UR and TY points are good for cheaper domestic flights — good points value redemption and then still accrue miles and status (again on Alaska).

  6. I recently managed to snag an upper class ticket on Virigin Atlantic from LHR – JFK and on the new A350-1000. It is a work trip and they paid for my premium economy seat – 25,000 miles later I’m in upper class! That was worth it. I’m also trying to plan my bucket list trip to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with miles. But upgrading and paying partial tix with miles as well as when super cheap sales come about are when I use them.

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