Making the Most of Unused Frequent Flyer Miles & Points
By Sean Miller
When signing up for a credit card or frequent flyer miles program, the perks and benefits look very attractive, as they should. However, many people sign up for programs and credit cards with visions of stays in five-star hotels for pennies and free first class flights – dreams that never come to fruition. This may be because they never use their miles, or because airlines make it so hard to redeem. In either case, a large majority of U.S. citizens have thousands of unused airline miles and credit card points that go unused. It is easy to make quick cash off these points and miles.
The first thing to do is call the credit card company or airline in question to find out whether there is an expiration date on frequent flyer miles or points. If not, many programs allow customers to transfer their miles to other airlines or use the points for car rentals, hotel stays, gift cards in stores, or other, more applicable, rewards. The value may have depreciated with time, and the rules of the program may have changed, but they can often still be used. For those who can find no use for their points and miles, there’s always the option of selling frequent flyer miles or credit card points.
Airlines make it hard for customers to sell their miles, but the miles can easily be sold to a trusted online buyer. The buyer transfers the miles to his personal account, and once the points are sold to a third party, a check is sent to the original seller. This transaction is fast and easy, with the potential of thousands of dollars in profits. The average going rate for someone looking to sell frequent flyer miles is one cent to a fifteenth of a cent per mile. That can add up to a lot when dealing with hundreds of thousands of miles. Airlines don’t like when members sell their miles, but it is not illegal, unless you live in Utah. Credit cards, on the other hand, expect their members to use their points one way or another, unlike airlines. Therefore, most of them, Amex especially, do very little policing.
Most airlines and credit card companies reserve the right to change the rules of their program at any time, without any prior notice. Therefore, an account holder who knows that he won’t be using his points or miles anytime soon should frequently sell his miles and points to ensure that they don’t get caught in a loophole.
For those who are wary of giving up on their rewards, many programs allow account holders to transfer their points between members. If you fall short of the amount of points required for a ticket, many airlines also sell a small amount of points to make up the deficit. Almost all airlines also allow members to give their miles to family and friends as a gift. There is no violation of policy if your family member or friend happens to give you a small gift or check in return.
Selling unused points or miles is a sure way to make quick cash with no monetary investment or time involved. Research online buyers before you sell; they will offer a price quote, and the highest bidder wins.
Fay Friedman is a freelance writer and consumer who enjoys unexpected spare cash just as much as the next person. She has had a great experience with Sell Miles Now, making over three thousand dollars in unused points.