5 Escape Plans for When Your Frequent-Flier Miles Are Going Down
Go "all in": If you're still feeling antsy about your accumulated miles in the face of a liquidation, go ahead and use them up. By redeeming your fight miles you're guaranteed to gain the maximum amount of benefits of your program, and can start from scratch with another airline -- presumably one with a more solid financial foundation.
Opt for the "honor role": If you're in a "move on" mood over your miles, there are rare but sure ways to go ahead and transfer them to a more secure program. For example, there is a Hilton HHonors "points" program in which you can easily trade miles from selected partner airlines for points toward hotel stays as well as airline travel. The downside is that just few airlines participate in Hilton Honors. (American and many other airlines have a strict policy that you cannot transfer earned points balance elsewhere.) You can use your earned points to book travel with any airline that is a member of an alliance, though, so if you were planning to book an award ticket with American but fear flight delays or cancellations you can use AAdvantage miles to book with any of Americans' "oneworld" alliance partners. (You likely won't get a decent mile-to-mile exchange, though, losing some value in the points-based "exchange rate.")
Trade points while you still have them: Companies such as Points.com allows consumers to trade miles with other travel consumers. Expect to pay a fee; don't expect a pure one-for-one transfer; and be watchful of minimum balance requirements (AAdvantage customers, for example, have to have 25,000 points to trade.) But major carriers such as Delta (DAL), United (UAL), Virgin Airlines, American and many others participate.
Turn to "plan ahead" seats: In a post-bankruptcy airline market, expect more frequent fliers to opt for this program, in which frequent fliers hitched to troubled airlines can buy seats with no restrictions (called "anytime" seats) on partner airlines. (Expect to pay double the price in terms of points you would for regular partner flights.)By and large, most frequent-flier miles emerge from a bankruptcy situation intact and unscathed. But if potentially troublesome frequent-flier miles are keeping you up at night, consider one of these protection strategies and make the most of your points - bankruptcy or not.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV