You’ve got airline miles, but now what? Do you know when to use them?
There are times when it’s best to save them and there are times when it’s best to redeem them.
Check out the 5 rules of thumb for using those hard-earned airline miles.
Familiarize yourself with the miles and points system
When you sign up for a travel rewards program, look for the programs with points that have a good value. Points are just like currency and their value fluctuates.
Also, make sure you can buy points if you need to top up at competitive rates. In most cases, if you buy points, you’re overpaying. However, keep an eye out for airline points sales where you can get bonus points and buy miles at discounted rates.
There are three points rewards to look for: airline miles, hotel miles, and points that are transferrable between program partners.
Think about your travel goals
How often are you planning to travel per year? Also, think about the destinations. If they are mostly domestic destinations, you can probably afford them with your rewards program miles.
But, if you want to fly transcontinental flights, it’s going to cost you a lot of miles. Saving the miles and redeeming for international flights is usually your best option though because you can afford those expensive destinations and maybe even fly first class using miles.
Transfer points (book hotels and car rentals)
The best rewards programs allow customers to transfer points between accounts and between different partner programs. Airline miles points from airlines such as American Airlines can be transferred to hotel points and even car rentals. So, with those airline miles, you can book yourself a nice hotel stay or rent a car at the destination.
Use the points before they expire and redeem for flights
Make sure to redeem and use the points before they expire. Most airline miles programs require you to make purchases at least once every 18 months. So, before miles expire, make a purchase and then the miles will stay active.
Many programs allow clients to transfer the points and use them for other rewards, like hotel bookings, car rentals, and gift cards. You can even donate them to charity or sell miles for cash via miles brokers.
Wondering what selling miles for cash is all about?
Go for those upgrades
Most rewards programs offer quite amazing upgrades. For example, you can use miles to book flight upgrades like first-class or business-class. As well, you can use points to book luxury hotel suites and even villas. If you have a lot of points, it is definitely worth getting the full upgrade experience.