Points.com: A Complete Guide to Buying Points & Miles

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Once you realize the amazing trips you can take by redeeming miles and points for award flights and hotel stays, you inevitably are more aware of ways to acquire more.

This often leads to wondering whether buying miles or points for these trips is a good deal. Airlines and hotels often send out emails to their loyalty program members promoting sales on miles and points that offer 40%, 50%, and even 100% bonus miles on top of the usual amount.

Many loyalty programs have contracted Points.com to run these miles and points selling programs for them. Let’s dig into what Points.com has to offer and whether you should buy miles from them.

What is Points.com?

Points.com Logo
Points.com sells miles for many partners. Image Credit: Points.com

Points.com is a company that allows consumers to buy, exchange, and redeem miles and points, though the exchange and redemption rates are generally pretty terrible.

Points.com also partners with airlines and hotel loyalty programs to run their miles and points selling promotions; if you’ve heard of Points.com before, it’s likely it was due to one of these promotions.

In fact, if you buy miles or points from an airline or hotel, you most likely will be making a purchase from Points.com rather than directly with the airline.

This is an important distinction as a purchase with Points.com will not code as a travel purchase, nor will it code as a purchase with whichever airline or hotel program you’re buying points for, making the purchase ineligible for a bonus multiplier on your travel rewards cards.

The prices you’re charged for buying miles and points can be high relative to the value you can get from them, so you want to be sure you have all the necessary info before making a purchase with one of the Points.com partners.

Points.com also provides a loyalty program tracking service called Loyalty Wallet that allows you to keep track of your miles and points in one place. This is a similar service to AwardWallet, which also helps miles and points users keep track of their point balances and expiration dates.

Hot Tip: New to pints and miles? Read our Beginners Guide to get your start. 

Points.com Partners

Points.com partners with several airline and hotel loyalty programs to track, sell, and exchange miles and points to consumers.

If you’re looking to buy points, you can purchase them from the following partners via Points.com:

Airline Partners

Aer Lingus AerClubChina Southern Sky Pearl ClubJetBlue TrueBlueSpirit Airlines FREE SPIRIT
Air Canada AeroplanCzech Airlines OK PlusKorean Air SKYPASSSun Country Airlines Sun Country Rewards
Air France/KLM Flying BlueDelta SkyMilesLufthansa Miles & MoreTAP Portugal TAP Miles&Go
Air India Flying ReturnsEL AL Matmid Frequent Flyer ClubMalaysia Airlines EnrichTHAI Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanEtihad Airways Etihad GuestOasis ClubTurkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
Alitalia Mille MigliaEurowings Boomerang ClubPhilippine Airlines Mabuhay MilesUnited Airlines MileagePlus
American Airlines AAdvantageEVA Air Infinity MileageLandsPorter Airlines VIPorterVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
ANA Mileage ClubFinnair PlusQantas Frequent FlyerVirgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
Asiana ClubFrontier Airlines FrontierMilesQatar Airways Privilege ClubVueling Club
British Airways Executive ClubHawaiianMilesSingapore Airlines KrisFlyerWestJet Rewards
China Airlines Dynasty Flyer ProgramJAL Mileage BankSouth African Airways Voyager
China Eastern Airlines Eastern MilesJet Airways JetPrivilegeSouthwest Rapid Rewards

Hotel Partners

Best Western RewardsJumeriah SiriusShangri-La Golden Circle
Choice PrivilegesLe Club AccorhotelsTaj InnerCircle
Coast RewardsMarriott BonvoyTrident Privilege
Hilton HonorsMeliáRewardsWorld of Hyatt
IHG Rewards ClubRed Roof Inn

Best Credit Cards to Use on Points.com

If you’re going to buy miles or points from one of these airline or hotel partners, make sure you use a credit card that will get you the best return for your purchase.

Purchases through Points.com will not code as travel purchases, so you will not receive any bonus multiplier for using a card that rewards travel purchases like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. Be careful not to mix up where you’re buying your points, or you’ll miss out on utilizing your credit card’s bonus categories.

If you want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards when buying miles or points through Points.com, check out the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card which earns 1.5x points per dollar on all purchases.

If you want to earn American Express Membership Rewards, there isn’t a better option than The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, which earns 2x points on all purchases up to $50,000 in spending every calendar year. When buying miles or points through Points.com, this card will earn more points than any other card on the market.

If you’re buying miles directly from an airline, like American Airlines, the purchase will code as an airline purchase. You will be able to really maximize your returns by earning 3x points per $1 with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, 4x points per $1 with the American Express® Gold Card, or 5x points per $1 with the Platinum Card® from American Express.

By using a card that earns you the most points possible, you’ll earn a bunch of points that can be redeemed for future travel.

Hot Tip: If you need some inspiration for future award flights, check out the best ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards.

When Should You Buy Miles or Points?

Now that you know what to expect when buying miles or points, the question comes down to whether you should buy them at all.

The simple answer is that it depends on your personal situation. Let’s take a look at a few examples of when buying miles or points might be a good move for you.

Prevent Miles or Points From Expiring

Many loyalty programs require activity on an account every 12 to 24 months for the miles or points to remain active. This isn’t usually a problem, but sometimes life events drastically cut down our ability to travel for an extended period of time. It would be a shame to lose your hard-earned points because of these situations.

Often an account can be kept active by something as simple as earning or redeeming miles or points. With that in mind, buying miles or points can get you the account activity you need very quickly to ensure your miles or points don’t expire.

There are better ways to prevent expiration if you plan ahead just a little bit. By using a service like AwardWallet, you’ll know your miles and points expiration dates, and it will send alerts so you’re never caught off guard.

With that information, you can then transfer points from a transferable program such as Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards, or use a co-branded credit card to make a purchase. Keep in mind that the points won’t post until your statement closes, so this might not be quick enough.

You could also use an airline or hotel shopping portal to make an upcoming purchase. You might even go eat at a restaurant that participates in an airline or hotel dining program.

If for some reason these other options don’t work out for you, buying miles or points can be a solid backup plan for keeping your account active.

Top off an Account for a Specific Award Redemption

Etihad Apartment, Suite View in Light Leather
The Apartments on Etihad’s A380 are second to none. Image property of Upgraded Points.

Sometimes you can do everything right… but the timing of released award space may not quite fit your schedule, and you’re still a few thousand miles short of an amazing redemption. This is when topping off your account by buying miles can make a lot of sense.

For example, let’s say you want to book the famous Etihad Apartments from New York City (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH). You have nearly enough American miles, but you’re just a bit short. You know that award availability can be tough to find on this flight from JFK, and buying the last few thousand miles could solve your problem.

American Airlines allows you to place 5-day holds on award flights, which means you can place the award you want on hold before buying the miles you need. This ensures that the award availability doesn’t disappear while you wait for the miles you just bought to deposit in your account!

Bottom Line: Definitely take advantage of a hold on your award ticket, if offered, before buying miles! Not all airlines allow holds on award tickets, but some airlines with great business and first-class products do, like Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines.

Limited Access to Credit Cards That Earn Points

Alaska Airlines Miles Sale
Make sure you buy your miles during a promotional sale to get even more value. Image Credit: Points.com

In the U.S., many people have access to credit cards that earn miles and points. These credit cards often come with sign-up bonuses that go a long way toward helping you book award flights. However, in other parts of the world, there often aren’t as many credit card options.

If this is the case for you, buying miles can be a creative way to cut down on the cost of a fun flight. While the out of pocket cost could still be a couple of thousand dollars for a business or first-class flight, this can be a fraction of the cost of a cash ticket.

Time your purchases wisely during big sales so you can get the most miles possible.

Do Not Buy Miles or Points Speculatively

We’ve discussed when it might make sense to buy miles, but we need to be clear that buying miles speculatively is a very risky decision. If you don’t know exactly when you’ll be using the miles you buy, don’t buy the miles!

In fact, the ideal time to buy miles (if absolutely necessary) is right before you redeem them. Miles and points are not an investment that increases in value over time, so buying and holding them is extremely risky. When you consider the no-notice devaluations of award programs that we’ve seen by airlines such as Delta, this should be very clear.

Bottom Line: Don’t buy miles unless you know exactly what you are going to do with them!

Final Thoughts

Buying miles isn’t for everyone. Purchasing a few miles here and there might not cost too much, but buying a significant chunk of miles can easily cost you over $1,000. With that in mind, it’s vital that you be strategic when purchasing miles.

If there is a sale on miles and you have an award you would like to book, it may be the right move for you. Otherwise, utilize your credit card spending and sign-up bonuses to plan ahead.

Remember, if you buy miles, you want to make sure you are going to get a ton of value out of them! After all, the point of your miles and points is not to spend more than necessary for a redemption!


FAQ

Should you buy miles or points?

This depends on your personal situation! If you are close to being able to redeem miles for an award flight or points for a hotel stay, it might be a good deal. Otherwise, it likely is not a good option.

What is Points.com?

Points.com is a company that sells airline or hotel points and miles to consumers. Points.com also provides a market to exchange and redeem points. However, the value that these options provide is generally quite poor. You can also use their Loyalty Wallet service to track your point balances across various programs.

What is the Points.com Loyalty Wallet?

Similar to AwardWallet, Points.com has a product called Loyalty Wallet that helps people keep track of their miles and points in 1 place.

The service offers real-time point updates every time you sign in, bank-level security to keep your information safe, and access to these records via your phone or tablet through the Points.com app.

Should you exchange your points from 1 program to another through Points.com?

Generally, no you should not. The exchange rates from program to program are usually pretty terrible. With that said, if you have points with a certain program that you know for a fact you have no use for, then it could make sense to transfer or exchange them.

Will buying miles help keep my miles from expiring?

Buying miles will almost always prevent your current miles from expiring, depending on the program. Usually, any qualifying activity that adds new miles to your account keeps your current miles from expiring. Purchasing a small number of miles can be a great way to accomplish that.

Do purchases from Points.com code as travel?

Unfortunately, no they do not. If your purchase of points or miles is being fulfilled by Points.com, you should use a credit card that maximizes non-bonused spend, like the Freedom Unlimited card.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

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6 comments

  1. Mario H · March 23, 2018 · Reply

    Hi,

    I just purchased some points (60,000) from IHG (-points.com)- I did see the charge on my credit card right away and I am now able to see my 60,000 points in my IHG account but I still don’t see the 60,000 bonus I am due as per the promotion that ended yesterday.

    Mario H.

    • Sorry to hear about this, but we’re just a blog though and wouldn’t be able to help you. It would be best to get in contact directly with points.com to fix your issue. Thanks

  2. Rocky Chugh · July 8, 2019 · Reply

    What about converting airlines miles to points for redeeming gift cards? You didn’t mention what are the rates for this?

    For example, how many points would I need for say a $50 gift card? I know it’s possible according to the points.com website, but the rates are nowhere online.

    Any info would be appreciated.

    • Hi Rocky,

      The rate to redeem miles for gift cards depends on the merchant you’re looking to obtain a gift card for. You would need to sign into your points.com account and select your desired merchant to see that rate.

  3. Carol Sether · August 13, 2019 · Reply

    8/13. My 24,700 points expire tomorrow! What do I have to do to extend them 6 months? Thank you for your help. Carol

    • Andrew Kunesh · August 13, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Carol, it’s hard to answer this question without knowing which loyalty program you’re referring to. However, we recommend buying a small number of miles as this should immediately reset the expiration date for most airlines. Thanks!

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