Putting Frequent Flyer Miles and Credit Card Rewards to Good Use

Posted on 07/23/2010

If you’re like most people you’re racking up frequent flyer miles and credit card rewards, but you’re not doing much with them. Free airline tickets and hotel stays may seem so out of reach, but there are still ways you can put your frequent flyer miles and credit card rewards to good use.

Airline Upgrades - There’s nothing like flying first class. Ice cream sundaes are free and the leg room is abundant. Instead of saving up for a free flight that can often be tricky to book, try using your frequent flyer miles for a complimentary upgrade. It’ll feel like a big splurge, but you actually won’t be spending anything at all.

Choose Cash Back - If you’re likely to let your credit card rewards accumulate and go unused, opt for a card that offers cash back. Most of the time this reward is automatic which means you don’t need to do anything to get it. The credit card company will simply send you your money.

Shop with Miles - Sometimes booking a reward ticket with airline miles can be tough. Between blackout dates and sold out seats you may end up not using your miles simply because you can’t seem to book a flight you want. If you want to make the most of your miles go shopping with them instead. For instance, if you’re a part of the Delta SkyMiles program, shop in the SkyMiles Marketplace where you can buy everything from Mrs. Field’s cookies to Titleist golf balls.

Donate Rewards to Charity - Rather than letting your rewards pile up unused, why not give them to someone who can put them to work? Several credit card companies have programs that allow you to donate your rewards to various charities of your choice. For instance, American Express has the Members Give program, allowing credit card holders to redeem rewards in order to make a donation. Bank of America has a similar program that allows customers with WorldPoints to redeem them for the charity of their choice. So instead of letting your credit card rewards expire you can feel good about using them to help others.

By Alison Storm

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