How To Maximize Fixed-Value Points & Miles in 2023 How To Maximize Fixed-Value Points & Miles in 2023

How To Maximize Fixed-Value Points & Miles in 2023

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Fixed-value points and miles don’t get nearly as much attention as their transferable counterparts, but they form an essential part of any solid points and miles strategy. Diversity in loyalty programs and types of points is important, so we recommend you keep a stash of fixed-value points. Why?

In this guide, we'll walk through what fixed-value points are, the situations where they are useful, and their downsides. In addition, we'll also highlight some of the best cards that earn them.

What Are Fixed-Value Points?

Fixed-value points are points or “miles” (sometimes a bit of a misnomer) that have a fixed (either completely or mostly) value. I say mostly fixed since you can find a handful of currencies where your points can be redeemed within a limited range of values. A great example of this is JetBlue TrueBlue points. Other points have a completely fixed value (e.g. cash-back earnings, where rewards are always worth 1¢ per point).

In essence, with fixed-value points, you know what your points are worth. There's little to no guesswork involved. This is very different than flexible points, which have a variety of uses — or airline miles where you redeem them according to an established chart.

You can check out this introduction to the different types of rewards points for a full explanation of the different types of points and miles. Within fixed-value points, there are those offered by banks on their credit cards (more on that below) and also fixed-value rewards programs — such as Accor Live Limitless (where points are always used at a certain value to offset the cost of a hotel stay).

Benefits of fixed-value points

There are a number of upsides to fixed-value points, namely:

  • They are mostly immune to the devaluations common to frequent flyer programs.
  • Their programs are simple and don’t require any specialized knowledge of award charts, partner redemptions, etc.
  • There are no blackout dates; you can redeem your points at any time.
  • You may still receive hotel elite status benefits and earn frequent flyer miles, elite qualification miles/nights, and elite qualification dollars when you redeem fixed-value points and miles for flights and hotels as a statement credit or in the relevant travel portal.
  • It's easy to know the value of your points.

Drawbacks of fixed-value points

Of course, these points have their downsides as well:

  • Price changes can make redemptions cost more (i.e., when cash prices are high, you have to use more points).
  • There is little opportunity for “outsized value.”

You can always find tradeoffs between the types of rewards you earn. Unlike with more traditional frequent flyer miles, there's no way to use fixed-value points to book an international first-class flight for a fraction of the price. You'd burn an insane number of points since the points cost is tied to the cash price.

Let's explore the pros and cons of these points more fully.

an unseen person holds a credit card while sitting in front of a laptop

Fixed-Value Points Don't Lose Their Value

Fixed-value points tend to retain their value, as they are less susceptible to rewards program devaluations. When Delta pulls one of its regular, unannounced award devaluations, the value of your SkyMiles goes down. Just a few years ago, you could book a one-way business class ticket to Europe for 70,000 SkyMiles. Now, it requires at least 120,000 SkyMiles. That's a 70% increase in a few years. Delta has way outpaced inflation with its devaluations.

Fixed-value points, on the other hand, are simply worth their stated value when redeemed. If the value is 1¢ per point (as most are), it remains at 1¢ whether the award price in other programs goes up or down. The value of fixed-value points is tied to the cash price of the ticket. Yes, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card is an exception, as those points are worth 1.5¢ each toward travel, but you get the point: They're a fixed-value. Never more, never less.

In a market of cheap airfares and hotel prices, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card comes into its own as a fixed-value rewards card. It allows you to purchase heavily discounted rooms, tickets, or even mistake fares and redeem the cost back as a statement credit. You essentially pay using your points.

Easy To Redeem With Great Flexibility

Fixed-value points don’t require any specialized knowledge of rewards programs, transfer partners, or award charts. You simply make the purchase on your card and apply the points as a statement credit against the travel charge.

One of the significant drawbacks to earning traditional points and miles is that you’re handicapped by blackout dates and limited award availability. This is often a problem around holidays. If your travel dates aren’t flexible, or you’re trying to travel around Christmas or Thanksgiving, you’ll find it much easier just to purchase a ticket with your card and redeem the points back as a statement credit.

With fixed-value points, as long as there are still seats available to purchase, you use your points to book them. You can buy them using a fixed-value points card and redeem the points against the charge. Or you can book using an airline that offers “fixed-value” airline miles (e.g. JetBlue TrueBlue, Southwest RapidRewards, and BreezePoints).

This type of point also provides a great way to take advantage of mistake fares. These types of points also are perfect for discount airlines that aren't part of a rewards program or don't have transfer partners. You can purchase the cheapest ticket available across any airline or OTA and still redeem points against the expense.

However, you'll run into some restrictions, depending on the card or merchant. With many cards, the merchant needs to code as a “travel” expense if you want to redeem points or miles against a charge. Moreover, your points may be worth more or less (but still at a fixed value) depending on the redemption method.

For example, American Express Memberships Rewards points are worth more toward flights and gift cards than cruises or statement credits. And many banks allow you to use points at a fixed value in their rewards portal, but how you do so might change the value proposition — even when using fixed-value points and miles.

Related: Why You Should Never Redeem Capital One Miles Through Capital One Travel

Earn Frequent Flyer Miles and Elite Status Credits

As you’re buying your room or ticket outright and not redeeming points or miles for an award within a program, you’ll still earn points/miles and elite status credits. For anyone trying to attain or retain elite status, this is a huge plus. For frequent travelers, one strategy is to use award miles for your family when booking a vacation but pay for your own ticket using fixed-value points. This ensures you keep earning elite credit.

You also should factor in the miles you’ll earn when paying cash for a ticket. Add this to the decision of whether you use fixed-value or transferrable points for a flight. In some cases, especially for premium economy or business class deals, the number of miles you earn from a ticket is substantial.

Fixed-Value Points Can Earn You Elite Credits like on this first class flight on Lufthansa
With fixed-value points, you can still earn elite airline and hotel credit if you pay with your card and reimburse yourself, but be careful when booking hotels through travel portals.

It's worth explaining that there are different methods at play here. You may be able to redeem your points in a bank's portal. Whether it's a hotel night or a flight, this counts as “buying” the ticket. You'll earn miles and status qualification for flights here but not with hotels. That's because hotels require you to book directly to earn stay credits toward elite status. In this regard, you're better off paying the hotel directly, using your credit card, and then reimbursing yourself with points afterward.

Redeem for Award Fees and Taxes

Redeeming fixed-value points or miles for award fees and taxes is a great way to further reduce the cost of award travel. Carrier-imposed fees and taxes can run into hundreds of dollars per ticket. Sometimes, it's worth paying them — usually when you can save a massive number of miles. The ability to wipe those charges out using fixed-value miles is a huge money-saver.

Just make sure you use a card that offers solid travel insurance protections.

Use for Lodging That Isn't Part of a Rewards Program

Airbnb is a useful alternative to chain hotels when availability is slim or there is little coverage in that area. Unfortunately, Airbnb doesn’t have a rewards program. Unlike Hilton or Marriott, you can’t redeem points for your stays. However, you can redeem fixed-value points against the expense of vacation rentals like Airbnb and VRBO that don’t fall under the umbrella of a rewards program. Just be sure to pick up a few SkyMiles or earn British Airways Avios when you book with Airbnb.

The same can be said about boutique hotels that don't participate in rewards programs. Since the elite status/rewards programs questions aren't an issue here, redeeming fixed-value points can be a great opportunity to offset the cost of these stays.

When to Not Use Fixed-Value Points

Don't use fixed value points for expensive fares — especially premium cabin fares that cost thousands of dollars. Instead, fixed-value points are best used for cheap domestic tickets or mistake fares, award taxes and fees, or vacation rentals and hostels. Generally speaking, you should use fixed-value points when the cash price of the item is low enough that you can’t justify redeeming frequent flyer miles or transferrable points. Or when it's something you could afford if you didn't have points.

Transferable points and traditional frequent flyer miles are more valuable when redeemed towards business- and first-class redemptions that can cost thousands of dollars or when cash prices are high but the cost of a flight in miles hasn't inflated.

the inside of an Emirates first class cabin; you shouldn't pay for this with fixed-value points
Don't redeem fixed-value points for expensive premium cabin fares!

For instance, if a domestic award is 25,000 miles or $187.00, you would get better value redeeming 18,700 fixed-value points at 1¢ per point. However, for an international business class award that costs 80,000 miles or $4,500, you’re better off spending 80,000 miles than dropping 450,000 fixed-value points. Just run the numbers!

Which Cards Earn Fixed-Value Points?

There are several well-known fixed-value cards familiar to U.S. travelers, along with some others that may be less familiar. Here are some of the best credit cards that earn fixed-value points and miles:

Card NameWelcome OfferEarning RatesAnnual Fee
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardEnjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. 5 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.$95
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit cardNEW OFFER! Receive 60,000 online bonus points - a $600 value - after you make at least $4,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire.$95
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases$0
Citi® Double Cash CardEarn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.$0
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® CardEarn 50,000 bonus points worth $750 on travel. Just spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.5X points prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center, 3X on eligible travel purchases and mobile wallet spending, and 1X on all other purchases U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

We rate the Capital One Venture as our favorite in the fixed-value rewards category as it offers the best mix of earnings and travel protection. Plus, it sports a high-value signup bonus.

In addition to redeeming miles for fixed value, you can also transfer Capital One miles to a variety of airline and hotel programs, making them potentially worth more. Thus, the Capital One Venture is technically a flexible miles-earning card that also offers fixed-value redemptions.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
Following the revamp of Capital One's rewards program and the addition of airline transfer partners, the Capital One Venture has catapulted into our list of top travel rewards cards. The ability to earn 2X miles on every purchase provides a decent return on spending. Plus the card offers some great perks.
  • Earn 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening; worth $750 in travel if redeemed for a fixed-value, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 2 Miles on every purchase
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® (up to $100)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • 5X miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2X miles per dollar on all other purchases

The same can be said of the Freedom Unlimited and the Citi Double Cash. When combined with premium cards, the points can become flexible points. However, as stand-alone cards, the rewards act as simple cashback cards.

Related: How to Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Between Credit Cards

The Altitude Reserve deserves a hot mention here. Although it sports a $400 annual fee, you can redeem points for 1.5¢ per point on any airfare, hotel, or car rental service. This card also comes with $325 back in annual travel credits, effectively making the annual fee $75. It's an often-overlooked card that can provide great value.

Final Thoughts

Fixed-value points currencies, like those earned via the Bank of America Premium Rewards Card and Capital One Venture, have a fixed redemption value of 1¢ per point. But you can redeem them for a wide variety of travel expenses, ranging from cheap domestic airfares to vacation rentals or the cost of car rentals.

These points should be on your radar as part of a well-balanced rewards strategy. It's nice to have points you can use to pay for incidentals and travel expenses not typically covered by other points or miles. They're also great for situations where you’d otherwise get poor value using program-specific awards.

If you have any questions or a fixed-value tip you’d like to share, please reach out in the comments.

5 / 5 - (7 votes)
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  • Great info. Feels like I am almost always subject to blackout dates when I want to redeem.

  • Blackout dates are so annoying. I’m glad there is a way around it! Thanks for this info.

  • this is very helpful…thank you for sharing…

  • Fixed “exchange rates” always allow us better redemption.

  • Great to use in Asia and Europe to hop around as well, considering all the low cost carriers that have no milage programs.

  • awesome post but there’s nothing on Amex Membership rewards or Chase Ultimate rewards. Do these two have any fix points value ?

    • They do in the respect that you can use them through their respective travel portals at a fixed-value. However, they will only cover travel you can purchase through the travel portal, not items like award fees and taxes or vacation rentals like Airbnb.

  • I enjoy reading everyone’s comments on the fixed value points, it helps me gauge where I am at with this fun hobby….

  • Great info as always! Thanks much!

  • Having had the Flex Perks card since it first came out, I’ve used the points to pleasantly travel to both South Africa and Central Europe for little or no cost in economy + and/or Business Class. Did my homework for the flights I wanted and then called their agency. Worked like a charm. Great card and bank!

  • Fixed value points are a nice addition to any miles and points arsenal!

  • I have enjoyed all of the discussion and comments on this subject. It’s wonderful to know that we have so many options! I continue to stand amazed how inexpensively we can actually travel!

  • Really nice bit of info for us. Nice breakdowns. This is a good one to bookmark.

  • Great info, thanks.

  • Jocelio Francelino says:

    Great review! Thanks!!!

  • Thanks for the tips!

  • Fixed value cards can have a place in the overall mileage picture. Discover It Miles, with no fee, can be a compelling offer for one year.

  • Barclaycard Arrival Miles gives the best return

  • The fixed value cards are definitely an option worth considering but, in general, you can find more value from travel rewards credit cards.

  • Thanks for the information. I will be more mindful when booking as a result of this blog.

  • I don’t have many options for decent points programs through credit cards overall, so I use any points I can get! I am a beginner but learning, thanks for the updates.

  • Sign up bonuses aside, the Citi Double Cash is a better choice than all of these cards. Most listed above have annual fees and the Double Cash earns 2% versus the Discover It Miles at 1.5%.

  • This is almost like coming full circle for me. I used to be more in the “cash is king” mode a few years ago and then as i started traveling for work, it got me into the miles and points game and i moved away entirely from pure cashback cards. Now it seems like i need to bring in a “fixed value” card into my portfolio 🙂

  • good stuff thanks for the information

  • I also prefer the flexible rewards.

  • Great summary of these “other” programs. Certainly some good value to be had here and they shouldn’t be ignored.

  • I do not have any of these cards but interesting overview and concept, I might have to look at them a bit further. thanks

  • Living near two major HUB. I felt that Fixed Value is more valuable for variable value points, especially considering the devalued AA and UA miles.

  • I used a Barclaycard Arrival Plus card for a wedding anniversary trip to Athens/Santorini island in Greece last year. A big advantage is that the expensive things you buy (like airline tickets and AIrBnb/boutique hotel stays) count towards creating the points that you can redeem to pay off the tickets with since you can pay off any travel items up to 60 or 90 days later with those points. Its buy now and redeem later!
    I was able to sign up for the card, buy airline tickets with it to help meet the minimum spend for the signup bonus of 60,000 points and then redeem those points for $630 off the credit card bill. They have a deal where 5% percentage gets rebated so its slightly better than $.01 per point. The current deal is 70,000 points for signing up but its for $5000 spend.

    This is an advantage over other programs like airline and hotel cards where you cannot redeem the points for tickets until you have the points. If you don’t have a job where you can run a lot of work travel expenses (like meals, rental cars or hotels) through a personal credit card and get reimbursed for them, it can be hard to make the minimum spend of $5000 on a card off of personal expenses like gas and groceries alone.

  • Igor Icovski says:

    Fixed value points are great on cards that you can transfer the points to the program. Getting 1 cent per point is actually really terrible. When transferring to airlines you can get way more value.

  • It’s good to diversify your points portfolio, but the Fixed-Value Points might not Lose Their Value, yet they take quite a few for first international….

  • This is great post since a lot of points are now getting devalued.

  • I do like the cash equivalent info! I do tend to redeem for these quite often rather than using for travel or other.

  • Kerry Elkins says:

    Nice reminder for those of us that are fixated on transferable currencies.

  • Any article that helps maximize your coveted points is a good article

  • I will absolutely use fixed value points for some redemptions.

  • Cindi, you are so right about cash rebates and international long haul flight rewards.

  • I learned a lot!

  • I recently realized these cards are also very valuable, and complement mileage-earning cards very well.
    Very nice post.

  • Although many people would not agree with me, I like to use my UR and MR as fixed value points. I value elite status and I appreciate that using these points for tickets keeps my status chasing inexpensive. I earn airline points from the tickets and then can redeem those for the long haul business class flights. When I retire, my strategy might be different, but for now, this is the best use of my points for my lifestyle.

  • Great article. I will definitely be considering the Altitude card.

  • Besides the Skymiles for AirBNB, which I didn’t know about until a recent post here (a little too late for me this time) I have been getting an additional 5% back promo on my Bank Of America Premium cards for a while.

  • In my opinion it’s not true that they are immune to devaluation.
    It’s like having some shares and not a single one. Of course you are more protected than having just a single share.
    But if the stock exchange go down having several shares doesn’t mean you will not lose money.

  • Good advice. Thanks!

  • Not really a fan of fixed points buy I guess I will get to the point when the well runs dry and I start adding those cards as well.

  • US Bank cards are picking up some steam. Thanks for the headsup!

  • Please correct me if I’m wrong, but in addition to the $.015 of value for every point redeemed that is implied, the link to the US Bank Altitude(TM) Reserve VISA signup page says it earns 3 points per dollar spent on eligible travel and net wallet purchases. That would make each dollar spent using that card for those categories worth $.045. If that’s true, the $325 annual travel credit, plus the annual Priority Pass Select membership and Global Entry application fee statement credit every four years make this card worth an average of $458/yr, justifying the $400 annual fee. And that doesn’t include the signup bonus (worth $750), onetime GroundLink(R) promotional credit (worth $30), or any of the other card benefits.

    It seems U.S. Bank is either dissembling or has sweetened these card terms since this article was written. I think this article requires clarification and an update.

    • Yes, 4.5c on travel, same as the CSR. But here you get it also on mobile pay. No place that I go seems to have mobile pay yet. You also get 12 in flight gogo per year which is nice. But the Priority Pass membership isn’t nearly as good. You only get 4 visits free, then they are $27 each. The website I found didn’t discuss travel insurance benefits, so I’m not sure how that compares

  • This is the first time that I heard about Fixed-Value Points. Is this a new feature? Why there are only a few banks offer this? I think Fixed-Value Points is much better than other loyalty programs. I want to see more banks to offer this to their customers.

    • fixed-value points are simply a name we’ve associated with a rewards currency that has a fixed value. If you have 100 of them they are always worth X. If you have 1,000 of them, they are worth 10x of 100; no more, no less.

      Airline miles and hotel points don’t necessarily correlate to fixed cash values for what an airline or hotel might sell that travel product. Every bank I can think of offers some type of product like this, but they don’t necessarily offer the best value.

  • Travelfreek says:

    Thanks for this article! I just got approved for the Barclay card – my first adventure into the fixed award arena! Cheers!

  • It’s great that you still earn frequent flyer miles when using fixed value points to pay for your ticket.

  • Fixed value points do have their… value.

  • For any of these point cards to make sense you need to be earning at least 2 points per dollar spent. Otherwise just get the citi double card which gives you 2% spendable cash on anything you want, not just hotels or airline tickets. Simple math.

  • I just had this talk with my daughter-in-law, Craig is right. Some will burn miles on a cheap domestic ticket when there is a better value out there.

  • Other than international business or first class, it is difficult to find miles tickets now that come out better than using fixed value points / cash back. So I have moved a lot of my spend to cash back. But even better than anything shown here is the Alliant Credit Union visa card which is 3% cash back the first year, then 2.5% after that. Frankly at those cash back rates, and the current low pricing on airfares, it’s even hard to beat that with international business class and points.

  • Can fixed value points such as those earned on the Discover It Card be combined with points earned on a Delta card or points that can be converted from an SPG card?

  • There’s also an HSBC Premier World Mastercard if you have a HSBC Premier account.

  • Award Traveller says:

    Another way to obtain a stacking benefit on miles with Airbnb is to use the free United Plus X app. A United card is not needed although a United Mileage Plus account is necessary.

    Airbnb is now a listed vendor on the app. If you do have the Chase United card you get another 25% on top of the Airbnb multiplier. Your payment card also accrues its regular miles.

    This can result in many thousands of extra miles at no cost. Quite easy to do. You get the bonused United miles through the app plus whatever currency (I tend to use the Hilton Surpass for 6X Hilton points) you are using within the app to charge the Airbnb cost on. The app is quite ingenious in how it works.

  • While it’s true that fixed value programs “Are immune to the devaluations” in terms of face value, programs can still be nerfed incrementally. For example, the Barclaycard Arrival+ a couple years ago increased the minimum redemption amount and also reduced the redemption bonus.

  • One of these would work great for me, since I regularly fly on Allegiant Air, which has no (worthwhile) points system. They do have an expensive MasterCard ($69 a year for a free in-flight beverage and priority boarding), no thanks.

  • I was declined for Arrival Plus. I called the reconsideration line and was told it was because I have the no fee Arrival card. Heads up to cancel the no fee card before applying for the Plus.

  • I have been eyeing the Bank of America Rewards Premium Rewards Card, but after this post I am wondering if the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card might be a better choice.

  • I’ve always been reluctant to these cards since the points can only be used to cover travel, etc. However, I can see the benefit.
    One question though, to redeem a credit on Discover does it have to the It travel card towards credit? I thought my mom used to have just a regular Discover card and just credited her points towards her balance at the end of the year. Is that still a thing or have the separated it all?

  • Many people would indeed be better off with a fixed value reward. I suspect that thousands of people willingly spend 25,000 miles on a $150 ticket without knowing.

  • Fixed value is cool and all, but somehow less fun than hunting for sweet spots of outsized value (although harder these days!)

  • The_Bouncer says: is an often overlooked and under-rated program.

    Ok, the “status” benefits are negligible, but the return is good – one night per 10 at average spend, i.e. 10% return, plus good percentages through cashback sites and airline portals.

    This beats the average return of most hotel programs and frees you from being tied to any particular chain.

    • Great point Tim. I personally use it for non-chain brands and my brother uses it exclusively (fight the battles I can fight). I think we need to cover the program and cash back portals a bit more — and we’ll do just that.

      • I use them mostly for places where the chains are weak – South Africa, for example.

        I do sometimes use them for chains where I stay too rarely to get anything. I certainly wouldn’t use it for the two chains where I maintain any status – IHG (plat) and Hilton (gold).

  • Damn I don’t have any of the above.

  • Great article, thanks for the information

  • Bertrand Say says:

    In this case, cash or cash equivalent points are the way to go.

  • One nice feature of FlexPerks cards is that you can use points to pay for the card’s annual fee.

  • On another note, while it’s nice to see a list of available bonuses, this article could really have been useful if it included more comprehensive information on the earning rates for everyday spend & bonus categories for the cards mentioned. Or at least a link to a previous post, if that’s been examined before.

  • Definitely good advice to always run the numbers (FV vs flexible) when redeeming points. However, one also should consider the opportunity cost of earning points. For instance, spending money on your FV-point-earning credit card means you’r also NOT earning flexible points for a given transaction. It’s always good to think about the value of the points you’re earning as well.

  • are AMEX membership rewards and Chase Ultimate reward points also considered fixed-value since they can be used to book travel directly?

    • They have the ability to be used as a fixed-value reward, but because they also can be transferred to other loyalty programs, and that is where often-times you’ll be able to achieve the maximum value from them, we don’t consider them fixed-value rewards. Citi ThankYou Points and SPG points could be added to the list as well.

      • I have a question. I just did the recent SPG business card deal. 100,000 points after 3 to 5 months. But I don’t stay in hotels. That could change as I might travel more. What other cards can I transfer the 100,000 points to a travel card if I want to use for flight. What other cards use or associate with the SPG American express card. Thanks very much

        • So the first thing you want to know is that SPG and Marriott have merged loyalty programs, so your SPG points can be transferred to all the airline partners for Marriott Rewards. You can learn all the details in our dedicated post on the topic.

      • Chase cards can earn 1.5x, 3x, or 5x spend (depending on the card/purchase). Why not “earn” at those rates & cash out at .01 if necessary?

        Big distinction is URs & TYPs can ALSO be cashed out at a flat .01 whereas SPG cannot. They are really both, making the points that much more flexible/valuable than a strict Fixed Value program.

  • Very helpful information. I only have miles with airlines so I should start some fixed value points for cheaper flights.

  • I had not heard of the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve before. Even though it has a larger annual rebate $325 vs $300 on my Chase Sapphire Reserve, I prefer transferable points.

  • Some of these are about equivalent to other currencies such as UR which can be redeemed for 1cent as cash. In this situation cash and “miles” or “Points” are basically the same since they’re all worth around the same. I’d much rather have cashback than these points unless theres some real advantage to them such as being worth more than a cent or getting a significant rate of return on spend.

    • URs are, of course, also worth .01 when redeemed as cash only but can be worth .0125 or .015 in travel credits when redeemed within the Chase Travel Portal.

      Accumulations can also be made quicker as URs can be earned at 1.5x, 3x, or 5x depending on the type purchase.

      I therefore prefer accumulations/redemptions in transferrable currencies (since they can be quicker). If there is a travel purchase I simply cannot do on the Chase portal, however, then I will either transfer URs to a partner at 1:1 to accomplish or use proceeds saved in a separate savings account from my 2% Citi Double Cash Card or 4% (certain categories) with Capital One Savor.

  • This tutorial is very enlightening. Do not just accumulate miles. You also need to know when to use them.

  • Thanks. This post is super helpful. I didn’t realize that you still earned miles when using fixed value cards. And I like your example on how to determine when to use miles or when to use fixed value. The only problem is there is a pretty big spend requirement to get the fixed value bonuses. While you can still get some miles card bonuses for relatively little spend.

    • lorem ipsum says:

      It’s not explicitly stated in the blog post as a distinguishing feature, but Discover has no minimum spend to earn miles. You could use the Discover It Miles card for one year, and Discover will double the miles for all spending during that year. 3% is pretty compelling, imho. After the first year, I don’t think I’d put much spend on this card, absent a promo.

    • I dislike credit cards where you earn miles because the true value of a mile fluctuates enormously. You can redeem a mile for a penny each on a domestic flight or for 10 cents each on an international first class flight. What you have to consider is face value isn’t real value. Sure I can get a “bargain” and spend 70,000 miles to get a first class ticket that normally costs $30,000 but there’s no way that seat is worth $30,000 to me so that’s not it’s true value.

      So anyway, that’s why I prefer fixed value cards. I have the CSR so I either get 4.5% cash back (when redeemed for travel purchases through the portal) or I can also look into getting more bang for the buck by transferring to a partner and redeeming that way. Having the option for a good fixed value and transferring to partners (and not being locked in like having a United, Delta, Hyatt, etc card) is extremely valuable (partial pun intended).

  • Great tips! Thanks.

  • nice overview if you are interested in another card

  • There’s definitely nothing wrong with fixed value options. They can be a part of a larger strategy.

    • Especially when paired with a higher tier card (ie the Chase Trifecta). The Freedom and Freedom Unlimited are good cards by themselves but then pair them with the CSR or CSP and you can pack a powerful punch with only three cards and one annual fee.

  • I hadn’t really considered the altitude reserve before this…what do the “annual travel credits” consist of? airfare? or just incidentals?