Orphan points

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CarefulBuilder14
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Orphan points

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 12:04 am

Who here might call it quits with a particular hotel/airline loyalty program simply because you don't use it much and haven't earned a lot of points (or you've redeemed most of them)? This would mean either redeeming points inefficiently (like for a retail gift card), transferring them at a bad rate to another program, or just letting them die.

And who would make the effort to keep points active and intended for efficient redemption? What award value would you need to bother?

A few days ago I used the AAdvantage portal and earned a few miles. Mostly I wanted to try it out to see how it compared to other portals in terms of convenience, and Citi AA is my minimum spend card, anyway. (That ruled out Discover Deals, etc.)

But it occurred to me: I may never use those miles.

With the card, I earn a 50k bonus. With spending I put on the card, I might earn 6k points. If I redeem miles in increments of 12.5k, then I'll redeem 50k (4x12.5k) and have 6k miles left over. If I close the card and wait 18 months to become eligible for another bonus, I'd lose the 6k to inactivity. Even if I fly or use the portal in the future and keep the points active, I might not even use the second card enough to earn a lifetime total of 112.5k (and thus make the original surplus 6k really worth something). I know the redemption options are more flexible than just 12.5k increments, but my general point should be clear.

Take Marriott. I have something like 10k-15k points. That limits my hotel redemption options. Before 5/24 was a thing, I earned the points from stays and assumed I'd be getting the Marriott or Ritz cards within a year or two. Now, I have a little gardening to do before I'm 5/24-compliant (if I want to even be that). I won't likely be redeeming those points soon (unless I transfer some URs which is unlikely).

10k-15k is probably worth keeping alive with one portal purchase a year if I don't stay there, but if the sum was small enough I think I'd just let the points die off.

What insights/advice do others have on dealing with potential orphan points?
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card


Tubpbs
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Re: Orphan points

Postby Tubpbs » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:54 pm

I think there's not much you can do about it. It's like change left over when you're done visiting a foreign country. You can probably find a place to exchange it but you're gonna get a dog shit rate. That's best case scenario...

I have no tactic because I've never had that problem to solve, but I'm sure there aren't that many options to keep them.

Is there some action or activity you could take that would stop the expiration date and reset it?
Amex - BCP, Platinum, Business Gold
BoA - BankAmericard Cash Rewards
Chase - Freedom, CSP, RC, Ink Plus
Citi - DC, Prestige
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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Orphan points

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:16 pm

Tubpbs wrote:Is there some action or activity you could take that would stop the expiration date and reset it?

Actually, the language on some programs seems a bit unclear as to whether portal purchases count as activity.

And at some point, the question is more about whether it's worth the effort.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

Tubpbs
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Re: Orphan points

Postby Tubpbs » Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:40 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:
Tubpbs wrote:Is there some action or activity you could take that would stop the expiration date and reset it?

Actually, the language on some programs seems a bit unclear as to whether portal purchases count as activity.

And at some point, the question is more about whether it's worth the effort.



Well, I think that's an easier question. It's not. Which I assume is ultimately what you realized when you decided to start this thread. But, that basically means there's no point in earning all these points in the first place... Why not just use flat 2%?

It really isn't worth it, but it would be a valuable dipsosal / a waste...
Amex - BCP, Platinum, Business Gold
BoA - BankAmericard Cash Rewards
Chase - Freedom, CSP, RC, Ink Plus
Citi - DC, Prestige
Discover - It

kdm31091
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Re: Orphan points

Postby kdm31091 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:57 pm

At some point you have to ask yourself if you are spread too thin with travel programs. Having to find ways to use points before they expire suggests you may find it a good idea to pare down the travel programs a bit. Just my opinion

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Orphan points

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:14 pm

Let’s be clear on exactly what I am saying and am not saying.

I’m not saying I can’t use travel points. I can and do use them well. Across my main “travel currencies” (MRs, URs, IHG, Hyatt) I have points worth several thousand dollars. Those are easy to redeem and they give me good value.

This thread is just about orphan points - points I have only a few of that I can't do much with. I may waste some points, but it’s on a much smaller scale, and limited to my minor currencies (as well as a few surplus transferred MRs and URs).

With AA, I might waste 6k miles (worth about $100) but only after I use 50k miles (worth $800) and get free checked bags. Using a flat 2% card to get cash back on $5k of spending would only give me $250.

My Marriott points are worth maybe $100. Those aren’t from using the wrong credit card. Those are purely from hotel stays (where I paid with CSP, a great all-around travel card).

At most, I might waste like 5% of all my points. I can still use 95% of them.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

kdm31091
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Location: Claymont, DE

Re: Orphan points

Postby kdm31091 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:14 pm

Oh, ok. I did misunderstand slightly what you were saying.

If the amount were small enough I wouldn't worry about keeping them active, but if it's going to help with a meaningful redemption in the near future then go for it.



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