If you racked up lots of airline miles but don’t want to travel or redeem them for merchandise, the third option is to sell the miles for cash. You can then use the cash to buy the things you really need. Many mile holders wonder if it is legal to redeem miles for cash because there is a lot of confusing information on the subject. That leads us to the question, are you allowed to redeem airline miles for cash in the United States?
Selling miles is not illegal
At this time, it is not illegal to sell airline miles for cash in the United States, except in Utah. There are no state or federal laws to prohibit the sale of airline miles. Therefore, you can use miles brokerage services to sell airline miles without the risk of prosecution.
Airlines don’t allow bartering and trading
However, most frequent flyer programs such as the American AAdvantage program prohibit bartering. This would mean redeeming miles for cash is a violation of their rules.
But, since there are no state and federal laws in place, the only risk is that your account may be shut down if you’re caught, and you may be held liable for damages. The person using your points to buy plane tickets may be caught and their booking canceled. In case of litigation, you risk having to pay the airline litigation costs, but these cases are quite rare.
Points and miles collectors sell miles for cash
Rules and guidelines are there as guiding principles, but many people redeem miles for cash and get away with it problem-free. To be safe, it’s always best to read any reward program’s terms and policies. Since you’re not technically doing anything illegal, it’s up to you if you want to risk getting caught.
Basically, if you contact an airline’s loyalty program to ask if you can sell the miles, the answer will be “no”. Since airlines prohibit the sale and barter of their loyalty points they advise you against any such actions and refer you to their user agreement.
The bottom line is that it is legal to redeem airline miles for cash. However, it is a risky venture, especially if you try to sell to strangers online. You’ll also probably get much less money than the worth of your airline miles. To avoid getting scammed, it’s always best to use a trusted miles broker with a legitimate website. The site must include trusted customer reviews and testimonials.
If you want a legitimate way to get rid of miles, you can trade or transfer them to other programs. JetBlue’s True Blue points can be transferred to the Aeroplan program. However, if you need quick cash, selling is the easiest option.