The post is updated with new information and offers on a regular basis.

Many people are wondering what to do with their points and miles because of inflation and uncertainty.

We try to maximize our points and miles when we travel. We are aware that this may not be the case for everyone. There are some places where your points and miles can go.

It's possible to cash in some rewards for household expenses while budgets are tighter. Flexible points give you options. Non- travel redemptions are a good value for your points in many rewards programs.

If you aren't traveling, here are some ways to maximize your points.

Keep an emergency stash

Before we talk about cashing in your points for a new iPad or cold hard currency, we recommend that you keep at least an emergency stash of points and miles. Travel is back to normal, but it wasn't normal during the heart of the Pandemic. We heard from readers who had to travel to care for relatives or stay with their parents during the Pandemic. Airline miles helped them out of a difficult situation.

If you have points and miles saved up, you'll get the most value out of them. There are other choices.

Redeem for statement credits or cash back

If you redeem your points for statement credits or cash back, you'll only get 0.6-1 cent in value per point. Many people might benefit from using their points to offset expenses during the current economic downturn.

You can redeem your rewards points for a statement credit to cover essential purchases. You can get a lot of value by cashing in your points for credit.

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You can link your Ultimate rewards account to a bank account with Chase and use a 1 cent per point cash transfer to make purchases. If you prefer to have extra cash on hand or need to access cash to pay rent, this is a great option.


If you are going to use points for statement credits or cash back, keep in mind the minimum redemption levels.

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 1,000 points.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1 point.
  • Citi ThankYou points: 1,000 points for statement credits; 5,000 points for cash rewards.

A statement credit can take up to two cycles to be credited. If you opt for checks, they are only valid for 180 days, so make sure to cash them as soon as you receive them.

Accelerated redemption offer from Chase

In 2020, Chase introduced a redemption option called Pay Yourself Back that provides a higher redemption rate when you use points to cover gas, grocery and home improvements. The categories of internet, cable and phone services have been extended by Chase.

If you use Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature, you won't get the maximum value. It could be a good choice if you want a simple return.

There is a guide to Amex pay with points.

Redeem points for rental cars

People are adding car rentals to their vacations because travel is back to normal. You can redeem your rewards for car rentals if you have a card that earns cash back.

Most rewards programs allow you to redeem points for CarRentals CarRentals. Even if you're just going to stay with relatives who have more space, this can be useful. If you redeem your points, car rentals can be a great use of them.

Chase Travel gives 1.5 cents worth of value per point for car rentals. That is the same redemption you get from using Chase's travel portal for booking flights or hotels. Chase is giving 1.5 cents worth of value per point to its preferred card holders.

Redeem points for online shopping

You can redeem your points for online shopping if you have a tight budget. You can use points to pay for things like a new laptop, household appliances and more.

You might be able to get a good deal if you use points for merchandise.


American Express will sometimes run promotions for points at Amazon. One Membership rewards point can be used to save 40 dollars. You can use this deal to buy household essentials or art supplies for the kids.

You can get 0.7 cents per Membership Reward point at Amazon. You can get a similar value at Amazon if you use Chase Ultimate rewards points.

You can redeem them for cash and buy what you need if you choose to do neither of these.

Credit cards for Amazon purchases.


If you need a new iPad, MacBook or other Apple device, you can redeem Chase Ultimate rewards points online at a value of 1 cent each.



Amex has the ability to redeem merchandise through their website. Kitchen and dining accessories, home decor and appliances are all available. There is a discount on certain items.

If you need new cookware for your homecooked meals or new toys for your kids to play with, you can redeem your points for these items instead of spending money. 30% off merchandise redemptions are offered occasionally by membership rewards. At a discount, you can get anything from home decor to kitchen appliances.


They have an online catalog that will show you how to burn your I hg rewards club points. Redemptions for as little as 1,000 points are available from IHG.


Digital downloads

I wouldn't redeem points for merchandise unless absolutely necessary because the points are valued at less than half a cent. I use my points for digital rewards before. You can get popular movies, music, Ebooks, games and software for 200 points.


Credit cards for streaming services.

Redeem points for gift cards

Redemption rates for gift cards are usually less than 1% per point. It might be worth it if you have reward priorities outside of travel.

There are discounts on gift card redemptions. At the moment, Ultimate rewards points are worth 1 cent each for gift cards, but you can get 10% off gift cards from more than one store.



You can redeem points for gift cards at a discounted rate. You can use 2,500 points to get a $25 gift card from many merchants. If you need the most right now, these are good places to buy household items and work-from- home gear.

Recent discounts for 10% off some gift cards from Citi include Chili's, Happy, and many more. A $25 gift card costs 2,250 points, instead of 2,500 points. A gift card can be a good way to redeem points while saving money if you shop with these merchants frequently.

There is a wide selection of merchant gift cards from American Express. A $50 Sam's Club or Walmart gift card will cost you less than a penny per point.

Amex occasionally runs promotions on gift cards. There is a promotion running at Amex. You can score a $50 gift card for only 3,750 points, instead of the standard 5000 points.

I wouldn't redeem my Amex points for less than 1 cent per point, but the option is there.

Donate your points

Donate points if you want to keep them from expiring or if you feel generous. Points can be donated at a rate of 1 cent per point. The Citi ThankYou program is one of the programs included.

American Express gives points to more than 1.5 million nonprofits through Just Giving. If you want a way to give back, this is one way to do it.

Bottom line

With the current state of the economy, a lot of people have shifted priorities away from travel and are looking for alternatives to redeem points. Redemption points for travel may not be a priority for many people.

It's better to use points and miles than not to use them at all. They are your points and you should redeem them for anything you need. Go for it if it means cashing in your points for a Target gift card.

It may be time to switch to a cash-back credit card if you frequently turn points into cash equivalents. The Citi Double Cash Card has 2% cash back when you use it and 1% when you pay it off. You can redeem these rewards as cash back or convert them to Citi ThankYou points, and for a limited time, you can earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.

The 1.5% back on purchases is provided by Chase Freedom unlimited. You can redeem points on that card for future travel rewards with a Chase Ultimate rewards card.

If you don't know how to use your rewards in the future and would like some flexibility for your redemptions and generous returns on your spending, these cash-back cards are a good option.

The additional reporting was done by Ehsan.