The key to this miles and points game is to make things work for you. There are often many options for where you can credit and spend them, and funny quirks of arbitrage that can work to your advantage.
Perhaps one of the most most flexible currencies is the American Express Membership Rewards Point. You earn 1 point per £1 spend, with a few bonuses such as Travel. These points can be transferred into a number of different airline miles and hotel points.
If you take out the card on referral you can get 22,000 bonus points when you spend £2000 in the first 3 months. Over the course of the year, I had built up 51,000 MR points and had to move them before I closed the account.
One option was to transfer them to SPG at a rate of 2:1. I have done this before and redeemed 48k SPG points for a 5 night stay in New York. I did think about this as a possibility, with the addition of taking out the SPG AmEx for another 10k points which would help build up a reasonable stash. However, without a specific redemption plan in mind, it is a bit speculative for me so I ruled it it.
Some friends suggested transferring to some Eastern carriers who offer decent redemption opportunities but as this would require more miles for two to travel it didn’t seem like the best plan for me as I generally don’t travel alone.
The final option for me was Avios. 51,000 MR points convert to 51,000 Avios which is enough for 11 one way redemptions to Nice. Regular readers will know that I value 9,000 Avios at £150 because that is the floor cash price of what I know I will get for them when I spend them on a flight to Nice. If it is less than £150 at times I want, I tend to pay cash.
For me, those 51,000 points are therefore worth around £675 which is a decent return!
As I had nothing better to do with the points, I sent them to Avios. My balance will look pretty healthy for a while but I am sure it won’t be long until I spend them!
What would you do with 51,000 MR points?!