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How to Rescue Abandoned Points by Way of Transfers
I recently went to book the Aloft downtown Detroit, a one night staycation for the wife and I. The problem is all of my Marriott/SPG points are in my Marriott account. Not a big deal, I can instantly transfer between the two. But I ended transferring a few extra thousand to unlock some abandoned SPG points.
Unlocking Abandoned Marriott/SPG Points
I had a balance of 480 SPG points just collecting dust in my account. You can only transfer points back and forth in 1000 point chunks so I was unable to move them anywhere else.
I don’t have a personal or business SPG card anymore so I couldn’t spend my way to unlocking them. You are probably saying no SPG card, what? I canceled them before the once per lifetime terms kicked in for Amex and most of my non bonused spend goes towards sign up bonuses anyways so I never got them again. I also rarely have paid stays since it goes against my principles so I can’t add points that way.
So I had 400 SPG points sitting there and no way to make them useful…I had created my own breakage. I had to transfer 30,000 Marriott points to SPG in order to get the 10,000 SPG points I needed for the 1 night stay. That is because Marriott transfers at a 3 to 1 ratio to SPG.
While setting up the transfer I realized that if I transferred an extra 2000 Marriott points that would give me another 666 SPG points. That would bring my SPG total to 11,146 points. I could then transfer the extra 1,000 SPG back to Marriott netting me 3,000 Marriott points. That essentially turns my 2,000 Marriott points into 3,000 when it is all said and done.
I am not sure why I didn’t think of this earlier, probably because it isn’t that many points. But you should be able to use this logic towards other currencies as well.
Transferring Points to Unlock Value
There are not many programs that work like Marriott and SPG, where you can freely transfer back and forth. Maybe Iberia and British Airways would be somewhat similar but this can also be applied to transferable currencies.
If you have abandoned points in a frequent flier or hotel loyalty account (looking at you IHG) that you don’t really use anymore would it be worth it to transfer points to it in order to book a trip and use what is left?
Let’s say you have 5,000 Delta Skymiles left over and you loathe Delta. That doesn’t mean you should let those points go to waste. You could transfer 7,500 American Express Membership rewards points and book a one way. That is like getting a one way flight for 7,500 MR points since those 5,000 miles are collecting dust.
Remember the only point with no value is the one that goes unused.
I am sure many of you already do this but I thought I would bring it up as an option to get more value out of your points. This may finally motivate me to do something with my remaining 7,000 Alaska miles since I can’t seem to get on Bank of America’s good side anymore 🙁.
Do you do anything similar? Do you have a balance that just continues to sit there?
Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.