Tips On Redeeming Airline Miles

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Airline rewards miles are pretty easy to earn, but they can be tough to redeem.

Les Rubinstein has accrued plenty of miles and is trying to figure out what to do with them. “It’s just becoming more frustrating to use air miles,” he said. “It seems they’ve just been devalued and the amount of miles I have isn’t worth what it used to be.”

Most airlines advertise a domestic flight will require 25,000 miles. But the reality is often like a hard landing when you consider taxes and fees can push the final prices up to 50,000 miles.

But Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor, says, “Don’t redeem them for a magazine subscription or a toaster. Redeem them for an airline flight when tickets are at their most expensive.”

But finding deals can be a challenge. The key is to plan ahead. In some cases, it is often necessary to book almost a year in advance.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

“The best use of your miles is to think about 330 days out,” said Greenberg. “Be flexible. Think alternate routes. Think Oakland instead of San Francisco, Milwaukee instead of O’Hare. There might be more seats there.”

Another strategy is to try and use your miles on international trips which cost more.

You could also try to redeem miles at many hotels which can often be easier to do.

Finally, track the expiration dates of your miles. Try putting the date on a calendar with a reminder one month before so you don’t end up with something worthless.

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