Buying miles and points is, most of the time, not a great way to get travel for less. There are exceptions – like maybe you are a little shy of the amount needed for an awesome reward, then it would be worth buying to top up.
Or some programs like Alaska sell miles at a “cheap” enough price that you can actually get a great deal for premium awards. The same can be true with some hotel point sales.
Wyndham’s Latest Move Again Shows the Danger of Buying Points
But, while it is ok to earn points and not use them right away, it is almost never a good idea to buy miles or points without a real idea on how you plan on using them – and then redeeming them shortly after buying them.
The reason for that is you are paying real money to buy points at a value you find reasonable in terms of redemption for certain awards. Like, with the recent Wyndham sale on points through Daily Getaways. You can buy 15,000 points for $175 (still available, as a matter of fact).
The Good Part About Buying Points
The upside of such a purchase is that you can get two nights at the 7,500 point level for less than $90 per night – in some areas that may require more than $150 per night for a paid stay. You could also redeem for a mid-level property in an expensive city and you have only paid the $175 for the points instead of the potential $300-400 that the property could require as a cash reservation.
A Huge Downside to Buying Points
The major downside is that hotels and airlines are free to move the goal posts on redemption values, categories of hotels, or make decisions that completely remove certain properties from redemption possibilities.
People buying Wyndham points with this sale likely already know that Wyndham had earlier reversed their 15,000-points-per-night-for-any-hotel redemption plan and had created a three category system – 7,500 points per night, 15,000 points per night, or 30,000 points per night.
But, what no one that just bought points could know was that some of the gems of the Wyndham program (even at the new cost of 30,000 points per night) would soon be leaving the program. I am talking about the recent news about the Viva all-inclusive properties that will no longer be redeemable with points as of June 1, 2019. This means that all of the following properties are not going to be available for points:
- Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach
- Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace
- Viva Wyndham Tangerine
- Viva Wyndham V Samaná
- Viva Wyndham V Heavens
- Viva Wyndham Maya
- Viva Wyndham Azteca
- Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach
Even though they were now 30,000 points per night, some people may still have been able to find some value and may have even bought points to help build their accounts in preparation for some great trip next year. Now, they may be sitting on a bunch of points for a family vacation at Howard Johnson instead.
Summary – and Word of Warning
Let this be another lesson – never buy points or miles without a hard plan of how you are going to use them and that shortly after the points hit your account. Airlines and hotels have developed a nasty reputation of devaluing portions of a program right after an “amazing” sale on points (British Airways had a great sale on points and then announced some kind of devaluation coming soon).
Blogs and Affiliates
Blogs, including this one, do make money as part of an affiliate relationship with the seller of points (Points.com). If the deal is right for you and you find out about it from one of us, it is a win/win – you get a deal on upcoming travel and we make a small commission.
But, that also gives us the incentive to really make a sale seem overtly attractive and to highlight the great values you can get from the deal. Make sure you do your own math and do not get caught in the hype of a sale to buy points on a speculative basis! You certainly don’t want to have $1,000 in miles or points that all of a sudden aren’t even worth what you paid (and you are still subject to award availability).
This is why I always highlight clearly when a deal for points may pay me a commission so that you know ahead of time that I will make money off any sale you make through my links.
Oh, and Wyndham, pretty poor customer-faced move to not have this announcement before your deal with Daily Getaways went live.