Redeem Points for Experiences. A complete Roundup.

I’ve long argued that the best use for points & miles is for travel.  It’s often possible to get outsized value from your points with just the right flight or hotel awards.  That said, there is another way to get outsized value: use points to book experiences.  These include things like backstage concert tickets, impossible to get sports event tickets, dining with famous chefs, etc.  Some experiences have fixed award prices, but most are setup as auctions.  In either case, you may or may not get good value depending upon circumstances.

In this post I’ve compiled all of the points for experiences options that I could find.  I did this, initially, for me.  I had an upcoming trip to London and wanted to see if I could use points to do something really cool.  Unfortunately, I first looked  too early: the sites hadn’t yet loaded experiences for the dates I would be there.  Then I looked too late: all still-available experiences in London were happening after my visit.  That’s why I’ve added a date to start looking to the round-up so that you’ll avoid my mistake.

Hilton Experiences (click here to visit website)

  • Search by: location, category, date range, keyword, points range, group size
  • Fixed Price & Auction
  • When to start looking: 2 months in advance
  • Greg’s notes: Large selection of experiences.  What I really like about this site is that it includes experiences in many less-popular cities.  Most other sites concentrate all the good stuff in cities like New York and LA.  On the other hand, some of the fixed price experiences are outrageously priced.

SPG Moments (click here to visit website)

  • Search by: location, category, date range, keyword, points range, group size
  • Fixed Price & Auction
  • When to start looking: Events start to appear ~3 months in advance. 2 months seems to be the sweet spot.
  • Greg’s notes: Large selection of experiences in popular cities around the world. It’s annoying that SPG Moments and Marriott Moments are still separate considering that they’ve merged their rewards programs. Hopefully that will change soon.

Marriott Moments (click here to visit website)

  • Search by: location, category, date range, keyword, points range, group size
  • Fixed Price & Auction
  • When to start looking: Events start to appear ~3 months in advance. 2 months seems to be the sweet spot.
  • Greg’s notes: Large selection of experiences in popular cities around the world. It’s annoying that SPG Moments and Marriott Moments are still separate considering that they’ve merged their rewards programs. Hopefully that will change soon.

Hyatt Find (click here to visit website)

  • Search by: location, category, date range, keyword, points range, group size
  • Fixed Price only (1.4 cents per point value)
  • When to start looking: Anytime. Hyatt Find experiences are available far in advance.
  • Greg’s notes: Very small selection available at this time.  With only fixed prices available, it’s impossible to get great value from your points, but at least 1.4 cents per point isn’t terrible (but note that Hyatt points are often worth more than that when used towards stays).

IHG Auctions (click here to visit website)

  • Search by: location, category, date range, keyword, points range, group size
  • Fixed Price & Auction
  • When to start looking: 3 months in advance
  • Greg’s notes: Very small and very eclectic selection (example: an iRobot Braava Mopping Robot was one of the options when I looked). My impression is that there are some amazing values to be had if you happen to be in the right place at the right time.

Delta Experiences (click here to visit website)

  • Search by: location, category, date range, keyword, points range, group size
  • Fixed Price (none available when I looked) & Auction
  • When to start looking: Most experiences are for events within 2 or 3 months, but some of the travel related ones let you pick your own dates approximately a year in advance.
  • Greg’s notes: Decent selection.  Great deals can be had if your auction doesn’t get bid up too high.

United MileagePlus Exclusives (click here to visit website)

  • Search by: location, category, date range, keyword, points range, group size
  • Fixed Price & Auction
  • When to start looking: 2 months in advance.
  • Greg’s notes: Decent selection within the US. Not much going on internationally.  Search filter doesn’t appear to work correctly.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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toomanybooks
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toomanybooks

Southwest has similar (More Rewards) for cardholders only (as I recall). A couple years ago, they had a KY Derby Package (both auction and immediate purchase) that was not that bad a price I thought.

Details on that deal in an old Flyertalk thread.

Examples of things available:

https://www.1.awardhq.com/24468SWA0SWARR/RapidRewards?icid=SWArewardspotlight_July2018_events&p=Auctions

Neeraj
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Neeraj

Yesterday I ended up using an experience from my kids’ BA avios (to save 39k miles from expiring). Cost me 1100 avios, but was running out of time snd options.

tro
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tro

But Greg…you’re not a millennial…how is it you value experiences? 😉

All joking aside, thanks for the post. This hasn’t been on my radar before but it sounds like there are more channels & choices available than I had assumed.

Cap
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Cap

Coachella Music Festival sells out every year but was always bookable thru SPG Moments. Starpoint CPP value for winning bids wasn’t great from what I recall, often just 1-2 CPP. But was always a backup option for years where tickets sold out too fast (which is often minutes after they go onsale). This past year, SPG held out until just a month before the event to offer all ticket levels, including Artist Passes. Not an ideal use for Starpoints but a great once in a lifetime experience for someone with boatloads of Starpoints/Marriott Rewards.

wise2u
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wise2u

lots of choices, little value…I notice a lot of times auctions go for more than retail value, due to someone that has too many points and nothing better to spend them on…this occurs on all of the sites, but especially IHG…that $200 I-Roomba mentioned could wind up going for $1000 worth of points…also many of the auctions end less than a month (some less than 2 weeks) from the date of the event….which is great for someone with trip plans in place, but nearly impossible for those that have to book flights and rooms at the last moment…it is a gimmick, just another way to use points at a poor value.

P-nope
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P-nope

Which ones offer bidding only with no outright redemption?

P-nope
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P-nope

Also, BA has ways to redeem avios for experiences. Have you looked at those?

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[…] awards travel companies are enticing us to burn our miles and points on. Here we go: Redeem Points for Experiences. A complete Roundup. I still have never redeemed any of my miles or points for these things, just not my […]