5 extraordinary ways to redeem rewards points this summer

Tracy Brackman
Staff Reporter
Credit card products expert.

Five summer experiences

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Discovering the best ways to maximize credit card rewards can be difficult. After working so hard to determine which credit card offers the highest sign-up bonus, with the best rewards value and the lowest annual fee, you want your rewards to be – well – as rewarding as possible.

Instead of redeeming your hard-earned miles and points for a flight upgrade or hotel stay, why not try an exciting new experience – something that you would never try if you had to pay out of pocket with cash?

In addition to the typical line up of travel rewards and merchandise, many rewards programs allow cardholders to use points to purchase or bid on experiences, such as private dinners with celebrity chefs and personal tours through foreign cities.

While we generally recommend airfare and hotel stays as the best use of rewards points, we also realize that it’s hard to put a price tag on everything. Depending on your tastes, you may find a unique, personalized experience to be equal to the value of a plane ticket.

We’ve put together a list of some of the ways your rewards points can take you far off the beaten path this summer.

1. Throw out the first pitch of the game

Calling all baseball fans! What’s more exciting than watching your favorite baseball team play this summer? How about throwing out the first pitch of the game in front of 40,000 fans? For the right amount of Starpoints, you can do just that.

SPG Moments, a program that allows Starwood Preferred Guest members to purchase or bid on exclusive experiences and VIP access using points, is offering the opportunity for members to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the following games this summer:

Fans can also watch batting practice prior to the following games:

2. Attend Lollapalooza as a VIP

Music enthusiasts can rock out to Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, LL Cool J, St. Vincent, Zedd and many more at the 2018 Lollapalooza music festival. The experience includes two, four-day VIP tickets to Lollapalooza at Grant Park from Aug. 2 through Aug. 5, 2018. VIP perks include unlimited access to the North and South VIP Lolla Lounges, golf card shuttle transportation, elevated viewing platforms, onsite concierge services, express spa treatments and more.

Members of the Marriott rewards program can bid on this experience through Marriott Moments, which offers a variety of exclusive experiences for points redemption, including entertainment, culinary and sporting events. The current bid for this experience is listed at 125,000 points.

For a full list of Marriott Moments, click here.

3. Explore the Dubai desert on a private safari

Adventurous Mastercard cardholders can journey to Dubai for a private tour of the desert. The six-hour excursion begins with a guided Range Rover ride through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. At sunset, cardholders will be taken to a private, traditional camp to enjoy live entertainment, a barbecue dinner and a falconry demonstration. The entire experience will be captured by a photographer and drone videography camera, which will be presented to you at the end of your journey.

The price of this excursion is approximately $3,116 for two attendees, $3,190 for three and $3,266 for four.

For a full list of Mastercard’s Priceless Cities experiences, click here.

4. Join your favorite athletes at the 2018 ESPYS

Instead of watching your favorite athletes and entertainers on tv, you can be a part of the action at this year’s ESPY awards. The unique offer, provided by SkyMiles Experiences, includes orchestra tickets for you and a guest at the 26th ESPYS on July 18, 2018. Additionally, you can walk the red carpet and take a photo prior to the awards show, as well as attend the official after party at the Microsoft Theater.

Delta SkyMiles members can bid on this package through SkyMiles Experiences. The opening bid is 75,000 miles.

To view other SkyMiles Experiences, click here and log into your SkyMiles account.

5. Take a trip on a private jet

Have a couple million Delta SkyMiles sitting around? If so, you can fly private this summer with Delta Private Jets. For 2.5 million SkyMiles – the minimum required for redemption – you can purchase a Jet Card valued at $25,000. According to Delta, that’s enough for four passengers to fly roundtrip from Atlanta to South Florida.

Delta Private Jets perks include guaranteed jet availability with 10-hour notice, the ability to choose your jet size without interchange fees, 24/7 client services and SkyMiles Diamond Medallion status. Additionally, you can use your Jet Card to purchase commercial Delta flights. 

To qualify for this offer, you must be a Delta SkyMiles member in good standing, as well as a U.S. resident and over the age of 18.

Accessing once-in-a-lifetime experiences

Watch one Arizona Cardinals fan get up close and personal to his favorite players using points from his Bank of America MLB Extra Bases Mastercard:


See related: Credit card special offers and limited time promotions, Earn up to $500 a year when you refer a friend to these cards 

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we do receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy

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Updated: 01-21-2019