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Avoid Common Reward Program Mistakes
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If you are one of those people who travel only after thoroughly reviewing your cheap travel options such as cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, and cheap vacation packages, it would be a shame not to realize the true value of the rewards you have earned.
Many people are happy to redeem miles for merchandise such as TVs and do not appreciate that airline miles should be valued between 1 and 2 cents each.
The following are common mistakes to avoid when you decide to trade in your miles, according to Jake Redman:
• Sharing or gifting miles to someone is usually not worth it. The exception to such a move would be if an airline is offering a large mileage bonus for transferring miles. Before transferring miles to someone else you should weigh the cost of the transfer, as well as the airline’s service charge. Only if an airline is offering a transfer bonus of between 75 to 100 percent, which is extremely rare, would a transfer be attractive.
• Forgetting to keep your miles current often results in them expiring. Most travel mileage programs require miles to be redeemed within a set period of time or new miles to be earned in order to retain the value of older miles. If you do not expect to travel within the time frame needed to keep your miles current, then you need to look into how to keep your miles alive by earning more as cheaply as possible.
For example, Hilton Honors miles expire 12 months after your last stay or point redemption. However by purchasing anything that costs any amount of money using their “Shop to Earn” online portal your miles remain current.
• Be very careful when considering redeeming miles for “experiences.” Research has shown that opportunities to try things like driving a real stock car or going for a hot air balloon ride is often valued at about .01 per mile. Keep on the lookout for something that gets you closer to 2 cents per mile.
• Miles should not be considered in the same way as cash that is stored in a bank. If you keep accruing new miles and don’t redeem them over time, you will often discover that the value of those miles has been devalued. Look to use miles on things such as seat upgrades on long flights or hotel rooms that cost more than you would commonly spend. You need to be patient on the one hand, but ready to redeem when you come across an attractive (close to 2 cents per mile value) offer.
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