Is Using Miles For Flights Always The Best Value?

by Ellery

While many of us agree that we earn frequent flyer miles to actually use for flights, a friend’s question got me thinking. He’s not traveling as much as he used to yet still has substantial frequent flyer miles balances. He asked me what else besides flights he could use them for. And what struck me was that he also asked if it was wrong to use them for non-flight purposes.

I’ve always felt that the miles and points we earn are best used in ways that make sense for us. We earned them, we decide. No right or wrong since BEST use is different for everyone. So maybe you might not be flying as much lately, but your stash of frequent flyer miles doesn’t have to go to waste. Even when your miles won’t expire any time soon, you can put the miles you have to good use anytime you see fit.

There are indeed ways to use frequent flyer miles other than for flying!

Here are 5 ways to use your frequent flyer miles for everything that’s not a flight.

1. Shopping

Most airlines have online shopping portals with a number of retailers. You’ll find these online malls through the airline mileage websites. You can use any miles you have for discounts or to purchase items outright.

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2. Take A Road Trip

Frequent flyer miles can be used for car rentals or hotels. Don’t limit yourself to thinking of them as only good for flights. As a general rule you’ll get more bang for your mile using points for travel rather than purchasing items.

3. Convert To Cash

You can trade in frequent flyer miles for cash, especially if they’re accumulated through a credit card. Aim for at least a conversion of a cent per mile.

4. Donate

Did you know you can donate your miles? This also works for random currency you’ve accumulated traveling, too. There are many good causes that mileage programs partner with.

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5. Give To Friends And Family

There’s often a fee for transferring miles to another account. If you’re married though, contact the airline to see if these fees are waived. Have friends and family who need to book a flight? Your miles might help them get a free flight. The best way to look into this option is through the airline’s online mileage program site. You can also call to see if there are other options for the transfer.

Final Thoughts

Do you know your miles balances? Many people don’t regularly check. Best also to know expiration dates on those miles. While you may still decide to keep your stash for flights, it’s always good to know your options and that there are choices besides flying.

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