One of the most costly expenditures in any trip is airline tickets. Flying is expensive, and on long flights where legroom is scarce, many opt to upgrade their seats for a more comfortable flight, resulting in more money spent on transportation, before the trip even begins. There is a society of miles and points gurus who know how to work the system and jetset around the world at ridiculously low prices. For the rest of us who just want affordable flights without obsessing over credit cards, there are some easy tips to make the most of your rewards, whether by using them for travel or redeeming them for benefits.
Consider the Card in Question
Different cards will offer various benefits, depending largely on whether they are airline cards or credit cards that partner with an airline. Many airlines work together when it comes to membership rewards programs, and will allow card holders to use their points for a selection of airlines. For example, redeeming miles on an American Airlines card is very easy. Aside for American Airlines flights, they allow the miles to be used for British Airways flights from the U.S. to Europe, Jet Airways to India, and many other options. Delta, on the other hand, makes it difficult to redeem miles.
Credit cards that partner with airlines also offer good perks aside for flying, such as hotels, car rentals, etc. However, they often charge a considerable fee to transfer points to airlines or other programs. Once you’ve chosen a destination, decide whether the membership rewards points or miles you possess can be used to your advantage. If not, it may be worth your while to sell frequent flyer miles, considering that airlines often make it so often to redeem miles, with blackout dates and other restrictions.
Sell Frequent Flyer Miles
Frequent flyer miles or credit card points can be sold at a profit, which can then be used toward the cost of a ticket. This may result in a cheaper ticket than using the value of the points or miles. It’s also a great way to earn quick cash, if that’s what you need, as opposed to airline tickets. There are two ways to do this. As a general rule, credit cards and airlines allow you to transfer points to friends or family as a gift, with a nominal fee. They don’t have to know if your friend returns the favor in the form of a check.
Another way to sell your frequent flyer miles is to sell them to an online buyer. Online buyers offer price quotes, and you can compare prices before selling. This is the way to make the most money, with the least hassle. Although airlines don’t like this practice, it is entirely legal in all states in the U.S. except for Utah.
Stick to Flights
Due to flight restrictions, many travelers spend their points on hotels, car rentals, and other rewards. Don’t fall for this. In general, you will make the most out of your frequent flyer miles if you wait it out, and use them on flights. The exception is credit cards that are geared toward hotels, such as the Starwoods card, from American Express. Be sure to carefully compare how many points or miles are needed for different perks so that you don’t lose value.