Using Airline Miles During the Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19)

woman sit on airport chair

As COVID-19 (in any other case generally known as the Coronavirus) continues to unfold round the globe, vacationers in all places are having to cancel their upcoming journeys and hunker down. Many of us who’ve gathered airline miles and credit card factors are questioning: what ought to we do with these miles if journey isn’t at the moment attainable?

This article will discover a few of the methods to make use of airline miles and credit card factors throughout these unsure instances.

1. Make Travel Plans for the Future

While touring throughout the COVID-19 outbreak is subsequent to not possible, that doesn’t imply we will’t make future plans. In most instances, you’ll be able to guide flights as much as a yr upfront. So, when you really feel so inclined, you can begin making journey plans for the future. Nobody actually is aware of how lengthy the virus outbreak will final, however when you begin planning now, it’s most likely a good suggestion to plan 6+ months upfront.

Because there may be nonetheless a variety of uncertainty about the period and severity of the Coronavirus outbreak, it’s a clever concept to guide journey that shall be refundable, in case it’s essential cancel. For flights, we advocate checking airline cancellation insurance policies (normally there’s a small charge of round $50-$150 to cancel or change a ticket booked with miles). Most airways even have particular insurance policies in place as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak – Here’s a breakdown of present airline insurance policies.

2. Redeem Airline Miles for Gift Cards

Many folks don’t understand this, however most airline and credit card reward packages mean you can redeem miles/factors for present playing cards. The picture above comes from United Airline’s MileagePlus program, which provides present playing cards from over 250 retailers.

To be clear: This is usually not an excellent use of miles, as the redemption charges are poor. As you’ll be able to see above, a $100 Domino’s Pizza present card will price you 15,625 miles. That similar amount of miles might doubtless get you round $150-$300 price of flights in the future. On the different hand, when you’re eager to expend your miles, it is a good choice to get some free present playing cards with airline miles.

One final observe: Be positive to do the math earlier than selecting a present card. Each retailer has a unique price in miles. For instance, a $100 Walmart present card prices a whopping 33,333 miles, whereas $100 to Domino’s prices lower than half that quantity at 15,625 miles.

3. Redeem Miles & Points for Cash

Some reward packages provide a method to redeem your miles for precise money. This is normally an choice with rewards packages like Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and so on, however it’s typically not attainable with precise airline miles. We wrote an in depth information on the way to money out your airline miles.

Terms, redemption charges, and different particulars fluctuate considerably from program to program. It’s greatest to test your particular person rewards program for particulars.

4. Donate Your Miles to Charity

Many airline packages mean you can donate miles to varied charities. There are choices to donate “miles”, which the airline converts into money for the charity. In different instances, it might be attainable to straight donate the miles to charities that may really use them for flights and different journey bills. We wrote an in depth information on donating miles to charity – learn via it for extra particulars.

5. Online Shopping with Airline Miles

Many rewards packages mean you can redeem your miles or factors for bodily merchandise. You can typically select between electronics, family items, garments, and rather more. Redemption charges fluctuate massively, so it’s vital to do some math to see when you’re getting a superb deal on your miles.

  • To work out the math, divide the approximate retail worth of the merchandise (test Amazon or related) by the variety of miles. For instance, the Garmin GPS unit pictured above retails at $399. Doing the math, this implies you’re getting roughly $0.0075 per mile, which is an honest price.

The picture above is from the United MileagePlus program, which provides an enormous vary of merchandise obtainable for mileage redemption. As you’ll be able to see, the program provides some good choices in the electronics class, in addition to merchandise in magnificence, golf, journey, garments, and equipment, and rather more. There are merchandise obtainable for as little as just a few thousand miles, all the method as much as 100,000 miles or extra.

6. Use Airline Miles for Magazine Subscriptions

Since we’ll all doubtless be spending extra time at residence in the coming months, having issues to learn and maintain us entertained shall be vital. And right here’s one thing most individuals don’t know: Many airline packages mean you can use your miles to subscribe to sure magazines and even newspapers!

Using airline miles for journal subscriptions can provide good worth, because it requires only a few miles. However, take into account that they’re quick introductory subscriptions that may transition into regular cash-paid subscriptions. If you don’t need to pay money, you’ll need to cancel the journal earlier than it transitions to a traditional subscription.

As you’ll be able to see, there are literally many various methods to make use of airline miles with out touring. However, all the time bear in mind this: In most instances, utilizing miles for flights will provide the greatest worth per level. If you’re seeking to maximize the worth of your miles or credit card factors, it’s greatest to attend this all out till you’ll be able to journey once more. But when you’d slightly burn via some miles proper now and get some free stuff, the strategies listed above are nice choices.

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