An estimated 9.7 trillion rewards miles are sitting unused, according to InsideFlyer Magazine. Through flying and using a special rewards credit card, consumers know how to rack up those miles, but only a small percentage ever cash them in. The magazine reports that in 2011 only eight percent of plane tickets were bought with rewards. The worst thing you can do is let those miles expire. Here are six ways to use them up.
Exchange Magazines for Miles
Many airlines extend the expiration date when there's activity on the account. And that activity could be something as easy as cashing in a few hundred miles for a magazine subscription through Magsformiles.com. Score subscriptions to publications like Lucky, Cigar Aficionado or Fast Company for no cash cost.
Book Hotel Stays
With the Hilton HHonors program, you can convert airline miles into HHonors Points and use them to book free stays at various Hilton properties. You must have miles with certain air partners including Icelandair, Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.
Donate Them to Service Members
The Hero Miles program has provided more than 30,000 tickets to wounded, injured and ill service members and their families. That's a value of $45 million! Donate your unused miles to help a service member. Major airlines like AirTran, Delta and United all participate.
Give Miles to Kids in Need
AAdvantage members have the opportunity to donate unused miles to the Miles for Kids in Need program. The miles are used for worthy causes like providing air transportation to critically ill children and their parents.
Some airlines have online retail hubs that let shoppers pay with their frequent flyer miles. At mileageplusrewards.com you can pick up a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses for 14,400 award miles or a Dyson vacuum for 68,500.
Sell Airline Miles
Mileage brokers pay cash for airline miles . Sites like Pricemyrewards.com, flyer-miles.com and flipmymiles.com swap cash for miles. Extra money will likely be far more useful than rewards miles you'll never use.
By Alison Storm
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