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:

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).

La Quinta:

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.

 

Posted by mommypoints | 14 Comments

14 Responses to “US Airways Grand Slam Point Liquidation: Part 2”

  1. DaninSTL says:

    I’m holding minor orphan points in most of the (odd to me) programs like best western, etc hoping either to gain some addl points down the road (like Topguest provided) and in dim hopes of a future grandslam type event. I think it’s too early to cash out unless you have expiration issues on a given account.

  2. Joel says:

    Which is more valuable, American Airlines or United Airlines miles? Thanks for this blog post!

  3. mommypoints says:

    @Dan, I agree there is no rush for most programs. I included the expiration info so folks can keep that in mind. I will likely not “cash out” until 2013 “just in case”. ;)
    Joel, totally depends what other miles you have and where you want to go. I favor UA miles, but that is because I live at a UA hub.

  4. Michael says:

    Mommypoints:

    1) Have you received any opensky points? I’ve emailed them after you posted that helpful link, but only heard crickets;

    2) Did you participate in the Wyndham 16K promotion? They said they would credit me in an email if I sent the folios for my stays but, again, only crickets, since I did.

  5. Lee says:

    You’ll have to have a lot of LQ points, but LQ has an association with some pretty nice resorts at which points may be redeemed, beginning at 20K points per night (the Sanibel Inn at 20K and the South Seas Resort on neighboring Captiva at 25K are pretty good options). See more at this link: http://www.lq.com/lq/returns/nmembers/resorts.jsp.

  6. mommypoints says:

    Michael, still waiting on my MyPoints. I still trust they will post, but it is getting quite annoying. Their FB rep is active, but not overly helpful.
    I did not participate in the Wyndham promo, but again, just keep on them and I bet they will follow through.

  7. KF says:

    Michael, I did the Wyndham promo and had to send them a credit card receipt or paper receipt for stay. My points just posted so it took about 4-5 days for them to post after I contacted them with the rquired stuff.
    I had to HOUND them though since at first they refused to give me the promotion points citing the terms and conditions which I was prepared for. I luckily, had the appropriate screen shots and what not to show them that I reserved the room BEFORE they changed the terms and conditions.
    Hope you get them soon :-)

  8. Michael says:

    Thanks KF.

    My situation is more frustrating because they said I would receive the points once I sent the folios and then I sent them and nothing!

    As for opensky…just post the points! Why do these places advertise and then delay? Makes the whole open sky experience go from something positive to bitter.

  9. I gonna hold out hoping they come out with something similar in early 2013 or next fall.

  10. Ken Y. says:

    How do I keep my La Quinta account active without any stay?

  11. Marathon man says:

    Great info and thanks for compiling it!

    Although I tend to make a point (no pun intended) for not usually signing up for or buying something I cant use anyway. Mostly.
    .
    Last year I went smaller on the USGS but everything I did or bought went to use aside from also giving me US miles. Except that supershuttle thing where you were supposed to get miles for booking a shuttle you never showed up for or whatever it was. I paid like $4-7 and well, I also never even got the miles or hit for it. Earned enough elsewhere to justify it, etc but still, that kind of thing gets me sometimes. It would be like doing the staples gc rebate thing and scoring chase ink ur points but never getting the staples gcs in a way.
    .
    Anyway I just thought Id share that babble. I hope others can use any left over points or things they got from doing the GS.

  12. Marathon man says:

    I also wanted to comment on all those in here waiting for windham and open sky…
    .
    To me both these deals had “Cartera” written all over them. I wont go on about that here but while this may make you wonder, I seriously suggest all who are waiting this long now send every detail of your entire situation in either promo to your state Attorney General. Eventually enough similar complaints sent to enough Agos will force action. Especially if they are all filed in the same state -like perhaps the one where the company dies business!
    .
    Why? Well as the famed ski movie producer, Warren Miller once said about wanting to attain personal goals or destinations in skiing, “do it — and do it now or you’ll be one year older when you do!”

  13. mommypoints says:

    Ken, you need to earn or use points to keep the account active.

  14. adz says:

    any idea when grand slam 2013 starts?

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