Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why You Should (Almost) Never Use is one of the worst values for frequent flyer redemptions.  The premise is that you can trade points from one program into another.  Great, except the redemption ratio isn’t 1:1 but more like 13:2.  Check out the chart below showing what I can get for my 1300 Frontier EarlyReturns miles, terrible.  There is also a trading feature so members can trade with other members.  The ratios are around 1:1, but there are fees with the transaction that make it cheaper to just buy miles from the airline. Exchange Example

There are three possible uses for
  • Resetting expiration dates.  You can transfer as little as 1 mile into a program.  This 1 mile will reset your 18 month expiration clock so you don’t have to worry about any large expense to generate activity if you are at risk of expiration.  It just costs 3 or 4 miles from another program and posts within a day or two.  Some programs require a minimum balance of 1,000 before you can do a transfer out.
  • It lets you keep track of a lot of balances in one place.  It’s nice to see a single view of what you have, especially if you are just starting to plan an award trip.  Not all programs participate, but it will give you enough data to get started.
  • Cheap hit for the US Airways Dividend Miles Grand Slam promotion.  Transferring in a mile costs 3 or 4 miles and gets you an almost free hit in the annual Grand Slam Promotion. 

Unless you are working in very small numbers, should be avoided.

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