Frequent Flyer Miles - Cash or Miles?

June 28, 2009 12:29:58 PM PDT
Brett Perrine's family enjoyed their trip to California and most of them flew there for free.Brett Perrine said, "We had fifteen of us and I utilized probably about 10 trips with miles. It was fantastic."

But the value of frequent flyer miles is falling. Consumer Reports crunched the numbers and found it's a waste to use your miles on certain flights.

Greg Daugherty with Consumer Reports said, "It's only really worth it to use frequent flyer miles on flights that cost $300 dollars or more."

Unfortunately, taking a trip with frequent-flyer miles is still a real challenge.

According to webflyer.com, travelers are most likely to have success redeeming miles with Midwest Airlines at 69%, followed by U.S. Airways at 67% percent.

In order to get the flight you want, Consumer Reports said book early and have flexible travel dates. And if you don't have enough miles to travel, most airlines allow family and friends to transfer miles to one another. But that can cost you, so be sure to check the airlines' rules.

And what happens to your miles if the airline goes bankrupt?

Greg Daugherty with Consumer Reports said, "If it's a major carrier, your frequent-flyer program will probably be bought by another major airline and you won't lose your miles. So it usually makes sense to join the big carriers' programs."

For Brett, a wisely used frequent-flyer account is a great thing to have. Brett Perrine said, "I used it for many vacations. I used on business travel. Countless things I utilize miles for."

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