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For anyone in the game of using points and miles to travel for next to no cost, one of the most common questions is, “what is the best way to use my points and miles to get the most value out of them?”
Traditionally, the answer to that question involved hours of Googling and reading through various blog articles that discussed various sweet spots for award flights and hotels. However, for anyone looking for a more personalized solution, it could be difficult trying to figure out how to use their specific combination of available points and/or miles.
That is where tools like Foxtrot Dash™ come into play. Free to join, Foxtrot Dash is a digital platform to help educate award travelers on the value of their credit card and hotel points and airline miles.
Foxtrot Dash has many features, like a dashboard that includes:
- Points management to let users easily view all of their points.
- A “points maximizer” that provides personalized suggestions and valuations for best and worst-valued redemptions that are possible with their hard-earned points.
Not all points and miles are created equal, and not all point and mile redemptions yield the same value.
For example, one of the most common ways to use points earned through credit cards is to cash out the points or redeem them for gift cards or items such as magazines or a household product like a vacuum cleaner. However, that is actually one of the worst ways to use your points and miles, as you will generally receive a value of a flat one cent per point (CPP).
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By redeeming your points through credit card portals, you can get a higher redemption than cashing out your points. For example, if you earn points on a Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, you can redeem points for 1.25 CPP through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, you can redeem points for 1.5 CPP through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The highest value redemptions come through transferring your points to various transfer partners.
For example, the Alila Ventana Big Sur is an all-inclusive luxury resort in California that can cost more than $3,000 per night. For those who aren’t looking to pay that high fee, it’s possible to transfer flexible points — like Chase or Bilt points — to Hyatt and redeem 40K Hyatt points for a standard room at Alila Ventana. That yields a CPP value of 7.5 cents per point (3,000/40,000=.075)!
Sometimes, in my experience, it is also possible to transfer points to one airline or hotel partner to book a flight on another to get more value out of your points.
For example, I booked a transcontinental flight for next summer from JFK to LAX in American Airlines Flagship® First. Typically, this flight costs approximately $1,300 per person or at least 50K American Airlines AAdvantage® miles. This redemption would yield a value of 2.6 cents per point (1,300/50K), which isn’t bad.
However, the same flight could be booked through Etihad Airlines due to its oneworld® partnership with American Airlines for only 30K points, rather than 50K points. In the end, I transferred 30K American Express Membership Rewards® points to Etihad to book my seat, which yields a value of 4.3 cents per point — much better than redeeming my points for magazines or a Roomba®!
It can take months of research and years of practice to find lesser-known alliance transfer partners to help maximize your points. Luckily, by using Foxtrot Dash, the work is done for you, and it is able to provide these recommendations for you, saving you time and points.
Featured photo courtesy of Foxtrot Dash