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I previously posted on some ways to make good use of hotel points that were stock-piled in anticipation of the 2012 US Airways Grand Slam that never materialized. Some of us earned and purchased points in hotel programs that we don’t normally utilize, so instead of having those points potentially go to waste, I want to help you maximize those points as much as possible.
To catch up on some ideas for your Best Western, Choice, and Club Carlson points read Part 1 of the Grand Slam Liquidation series. This post will cover a few of the other types of hotel points that might have been accumulated in anticipation of the 2012 Grand Slam. I’m going to skip a few of the types of points that I think are pretty popular anyway including Hilton, Marriott, Priority Club, and SPG. However, if you built up those balances solely for the purposes of the Grand Slam and you are looking for ways to use those points, feel free to ask in the comments section and I will be happy to brainstorm with you.
Instead, in this post I am going to look at the remaining two types of hotel points that may have been collected with the intention of transferring for a US Airways “hit”, Wyndham and La Quinta. These types of hotel points get slightly less coverage in the miles and points world, so I wanted to make sure you are aware of some of the different uses for those types of points.
Wyndham points are actually extremely valuable, so pat yourself on the back if you have a stash of those you were looking to use for the Grand Slam.
- If you aren’t familiar with Wyndham Rewards family of hotels, it includes Wingate, Hawthorn, Ramada, Days Inn, Super 8, Baymont, Mircotel, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, and Knights Inn.
- Within the US and Canada, free nights range from 6,000 to 45,000 points per night. My parents actually have a hotel reservation coming up using Wyndham points at a very nice looking hotel within a block or so of Macy’s on 34th Street in Manhattan for just 16,000 points per night for a prime weekend during the holiday season. I say that to point out that there are some good uses for these points other than just transferring them out to airlines.
- Another option is to use the points for retailer gift cards like Home Depot, Macy’s, Shell, CVS, etc. The gift cards typically go for 6,500 points for a $25 gift card, 12,500 points for a $50 gift card, and 25,000 points for a $100 gift card. I personally think 16,000 points for a night in Manhattan that would likely sell for $300 – $400 is a better option than gift cards, but if you are looking for a quick and easy way to cash out then gift cards are available.
- I know many people have purchased Wyndham points either with “phantom” hotel stays, or in previous promotions like the “Daily Getaway” deals with the intention of taking advantage of pretty favorable transfer rates to different airlines. The airline transfer rates are 8,000 Wyndham points: 3,200 airline miles; 17,5000 Wyndham points: 7,000 airline miles; and 30,000 Wyndham points: 12,000 airline miles. In all cases 2.5 Wyndham points = 1 airline mile. Some of the airline programs available at that redemption rate include Aeroplan, American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, Frontier Early Returns, US Airways Dividend Miles, and United MileagePlus.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards points are also available at a transfer rate of 8,000 Wyndham points = 2,400 Rapid Reward points and they have historically been Companion Pass qualifying points. While there is no longer a potential Grand Slam hit on the line, it will still make sense for some people to transfer their Wyndham points to an airline partner. Personally I will likely use most of mine for hotel reward stays.
- Wyndham points expire four years after being posted to a member’s account and can be forfeited if there is no account activity for 18 months. So, don’t expect to hoard these points forever. Plan some hotel stays or decide which airline you want to move them to at some point in the next 18 months (unless you have some other activity).
If you collected La Quinta points in anticipation of the Grand Slam, then you can now use those points for hotel nights, gift cards, or airline transfers.
- Free nights with La Quinta range from 6,000 – 24,000 points per night. They have a chart displaying the hotel categories here. Some examples of 6,000 point hotels are La Quinta Inn Norfolk and La Quinta Inn Albuquerque Airport. Some examples of 24,000 point hotels include La Quinta Inn Manhattan and La Quinta Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown.
- If you want to transfer the points to airline miles the transfer rate isn’t very good at all coming in at 6,000 points to 1,000 airline miles with most participating airlines such as United, US Airways, American Airlines, (Southwest is 6,000 to 1,200). You can also transfer 10,000 points to 2,000 US Airways miles.
- If you want to cash out for gift cards, there are many gift card options including Amazon, Chevron, and Lowe’s. $25 gift cards will cost you 7,500 points. La Quinta points do not expire as long as you keep your account active with some activity every 18 months.
- I don’t have any La Quinta points myself, but if I did I would look to use them for a hotel stay as the redemption rates otherwise are pretty poor. You could also save them for a bit and hope for a transfer promotion to an airline that makes the rate a little more favorable.
Let me know if I have left out some of your favorite uses of La Quinta or Wyndham points! It’s too bad we can’t use these points for their original intended use, but at least there are some other options out there.