5 Reasons to Redeem Fixed-Value Points for Your Holiday

It is no secret that credit cards that earn flexible rewards points, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, Citi Prestige Card and The Platinum Card from American Express, are more versatile than cards that earn fixed-value points, such as Capital One Venture Card and Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. Flexible points can be transferred to airline and hotel programs and be worth as much as 2 cents, or more, apiece, depending on the redemption. Capital One does a fantastic job marketing its credit cards, but the points are worth just 1 cent each, and there’s no way to increase their value.

Still, cards that earn fixed-value points offer decent redemption options, and there are certain reasons you might want to redeem those points specifically. Let’s look at examples of when you want to redeem fixed-value points.

New to credit card rewards? Check out a comprehensive list of travel rewards credit cards here.

Cheap Airfare Deals

Just the other day, I came across a fantastic airfare from the U.S. to New Zealand for $336. Unfortunately, I was 20 minutes too late to book it. Had I not been dilly-dallying, I could’ve redeemed 33,600 Capital One or Arrival miles valued at 1 cent each to cover the entire airfare. In comparison, I would have to transfer 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to United Airlines for a round-trip flight to New Zealand at the Saver level…if I found award space. I would’ve also paid taxes on the award. In this case, redeeming those points for a cheap flight makes a lot more sense than booking a similar award flight via an airline program. I would also earn miles on this paid booking.

Zero Award Availability

In a perfect world, there’d be plenty of award seats on Fridays and Sundays, with no connections and on your favorite airlines. Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect, and unless you search for award flights far in advance, many desirable flights are gone and the available itineraries leave a lot to be desired. If the price is right, it can make sense to redeem fixed-value points for the flights you want on your preferred dates. Because business-class flights are usually priced quite high, this strategy works best for economy flights. Fixed-value points can get you free flights when flexibility isn’t an option, which is advantageous to travelers with limited vacation days.

Chasing Airline Status

If you’re an elite flyer, you know more than anyone else that award flights don’t count toward elite status or mileage earning. Say, it’s the end of the year and you’re close to the next level threshold. You need to book a flight that would place you in the next elite tier. You can redeem fixed-value points for a paid flight at a value of 1 cent per point. As mentioned already, using fixed-value points doesn’t always present a great value, but in this case, it does. You’re not spending cash, yet you’re earning all the elite credits you would on a revenue booking. In this scenario, redeeming Capital One or Arrival miles can get you closer to in-flight upgrades and earning bonuses.

Offset Airline Taxes

Say, you book an award flight, but the airline program quotes exorbitant fuel surcharges on your business-class ticket. Sure, paying a few hundred dollars beats the actual thousands you could be spending on a revenue ticket, but it still sucks. This is where fixed-value points come in. You can use them to offset airline taxes and reduce your out-of-pocket cost significantly. For every 10,000 points you redeem, you can erase $100 off your card statement. This strategy is best for those who are points-rich and cash-poor. Leave some green for the meals and activities at your destination.

Miscellaneous Travel Components

Award travel is fine and dandy, but not every travel purchase can be covered with points and miles. Hotel rooms and flights – usually yes. Room and seat upgrades – sometimes. Train or ferry tickets – not so much. Amusement park tickets – nope. It is easy to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on rail passes in Europe and in Japan or on a three-day pass to a theme park for the entire family, and the costs add up quickly. If the purchase codes as travel, you can redeem your fixed-value points toward miscellaneous, yet essential, travel costs that can’t be erased with airline miles or hotel points. It’s good to have a stash ready to go to minimize your overall holiday spending.

What’s your favorite way of redeeming fixed-value points, such as Arrival miles or Capital One Rewards miles?

Anya Kartashova

The JetBlue Plus Card

  • Annual Fee: $99 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: 0%
  • Card Type: Travel

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  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights. Points required for an Award Flight will vary based on the published base fare at the time of booking
  • Points awarded in your TrueBlue account don’t expire.
  • Earn and share points together with Family Pooling
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember’s first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights
  • Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
  • Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card
  • Your first checked bag is free.

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


3 months

30,000

$1,000


JetBlue Purchases

6.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Groceries Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


The JetBlue Plus Card

  • Annual Fee: $99 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: 0%
  • Card Type: Travel
FTG Review Reward Breakdown Points Breakdown
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights. Points required for an Award Flight will vary based on the published base fare at the time of booking
  • Points awarded in your TrueBlue account don’t expire.
  • Earn and share points together with Family Pooling
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember’s first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights
  • Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
  • Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card
  • Your first checked bag is free.

Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


3 months

30,000

$1,000


JetBlue Purchases

6.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Groceries Purchases

2.00

$1


All Purchases

1.00

$1


Apply Now

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