The one way you should never use your miles

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We know that airline miles are valuable, especially if used the right way.  Because it’s become so easy to earn lots of miles, airlines have introduced some new and creative ways for you to redeem them.

A word of caution: These “special” redemptions are almost always in the airline’s favor, providing you with very little value per mile.

Periodically, members of mileage programs will receive a mailer that looks something like this:

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Inside the booklet are dozens of ways you can use your miles other than booking flights, from iPads to televisions, cameras and much more.  Before we get too excited about that new iPad, let’s take a critical look at how much value you’d actually receive for one of these offers.

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For a mere 44,300 miles, we can purchase an iPad Mini with 16GB of memory.  This iPad Mini retails for $329.  Diving the retail price of $329 by 44,300 miles, we get a yield of just 0.7 cents per mile.

That’s right – less than one cent per mile.

Compare that to redeeming miles for flights at five to ten cents per mile (or more) by booking international first and business class tickets.

The airlines ran the numbers very carefully before creating promotions like this, so you should, too.  Save your miles for a dream vacation where their value isn’t fixed at less than a cent each.  Miles are valuable; make sure you’re getting the most value of them by redeeming the right way.

About the Author

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Ryan has been a travel expert for more than ten years. His journeys have taken him to all six inhabited continents, including living in the Middle East and backpacking across Australia, Asia and Europe.

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