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Redeeming Points, Miles Made Easy through Simply Purchasing Miles

If you don’t travel enough to earn gobs of points and miles than you may become disgruntled when trying to find an award redemption that you have enough points for.  In many cases, you might not fly enough with a certain airline to book the award flight you’ve been dreaming of.  Millions of miles each year go unused after travelers are unable to redeem their miles before they expire.  However, you don’t have to accept that you’re never going to fly enough to collect enough miles for that dream trip.

There’s an alternative to flying and spending thousands of dollars on credit cards.  You can buy miles directly from airlines and hotels.  Buying points and miles from an airline or hotel is a lot like using a credit card at an ATM to withdraw cash.  You are essentially buying a currency.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to buy points and miles.  Don’t worry, this might be the easiest part of using points and miles.

Step 1: Know The Programs and Promotions

The first step to buying points or miles is knowing what programs allow you to buy points/miles and what programs are most generous with points/miles purchases.  Some airlines and hotels do not allow you to buy points/miles while some airlines sell points/miles at a ridiculously high price.

However, most airlines and hotels will allow you to purchase points/miles.  You will, of course, need to first sign-up for the program before you can make any purchases.  Spur of the moment points/miles promotions is the reason I’ve signed up for airline frequent flyer programs I never fly.  Even though I never fly with these airlines, I can still buy their miles.

I’ve provided links to popular loyalty programs that allow you to purchase points/miles.  Those links can be found below.  However, before you rush to purchases your favorite program’s currency, note the restrictions that come with points/miles purchases.

Restrictions, Maximum Number of Miles Purchased in a Year

Airlines and hotels almost always limit that amount of points or miles you are allowed to purchase in a calendar year.  Similarly, some airlines and hotels limit the number of purchases that can be made in a day.  This is extremely important to note because it can be the difference between having enough and not having enough miles for a redemption.

Another important thing to note is that, though an airline might not directly sell points/miles, you might have the option to buy miles when booking an award redemption.  For example, with the Aeroplan program, you can’t directly buy miles.  However, you can buy Aeroplan miles when booking an award redemption.

One more thing to note is that points or miles that are purchased, not earned, do not go towards elite status.  Points and miles that are purchases can only be used for redemptions and transfers, not elite status.

Links to Popular Programs, Maximum Amount of Miles in a Year

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, No maximum amount of miles, On-going promotion

American Airlines AAdvantage, 150,000

Avianca LifeMiles, 150,000

AirFrance and KLM FlyingBlue, 75,000 for non-elite, unlimited for elites

British Airways Avios, 35,000

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles, 60,000

JetBlue TrueBlue, 30,000

United Mileage Plus, 150,000

Southwest RapidRewards, 60,000 in a day

Starwood Preferred Guest, 30,000, On-going promotion

Hilton Honors, 80,000

IHG Rewards, 40,000

American's buy AAdvantage Miles portal (Image: AA.com)

American’s buy AAdvantage Miles portal (Image: AA.com)

Promotions Offer Best Opportunities to Purchase Miles, Points

The best time to purchase points or miles is when a certain loyalty program is running a promotion.  These promotions often run for a month or so and usually involve receiving bonus miles or points.  For example, many airlines will sell points in 1,000-mile increments.  Let’s say that airline X is selling 1,000 miles for $100.  During a promotion, you might earn an additional 20% more miles in addition to the 1,000 miles for $100.  This means that you are essentially buying 1200 miles for $100.

Another type of promotion is when an airline or hotel will simply sell their points or miles at a discounted price.  The third type of promotion is when an airline or hotel will offer 2 for 1 miles.

In order to efficiently and effectively buy points and miles, you must keep up to date with promotions and sales.  These are the best time to buy points and miles and in some cases, are the only time buying points/miles is worth it.

The best way to keep up with points/miles promos is by following a travel blogger.  OneMileAtATime, View from the Wing, and Monkey Miles do a fantastic job of keeping up with the latest promotions.

Step 2: Buy Points Directly from Airline, Hotel

The second step is the easiest.  Using one of the links above or by going directly to an airline’s or hotel’s website, you can directly purchase miles from you preferred program.

You must have an account with the airline or hotel you wish to purchase miles from.  Additionally, it may take hours, days, or as long as a week for purchased miles to show up in your account.  Be patient and always have a confirmation number for your order on hand in the event the miles or points do not post.

Tip: I recommend you use a credit card with a high spending bonus or high earning rate when purchasing miles.  Doing this is like killing two birds with one stone.  You are both earning miles directly from the purchase and the purchase will count towards your spending bonus.

Step 3: Exchange, Transfer, Redeem Purchased Points, Miles

Once your points show up in your account, you can use them for anything.  You can exchange, transfer, or redeem your purchased points and miles the second they post in your account.  This is when the fun begins.


Most of the time, it might not be the wisest thing to purchase points or miles.  However, during promotions or special offers, it’s a great idea to buy points or miles.  Airlines and hotels will often restrict the number of points/miles you can buy in a year and purchases do not count towards elite status.  Aside from restrictions on purchases and elite status, once the miles post in your account, there yours to use any way you want.  You can earn airline miles without ever having to fly!

If you have any questions regarding the purchases of points and miles, please feel free to contact me anytime.  You can send me a message directly via Twitter or Facebook or shoot me an email at unaccompainedflyer@gmail.com.