Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Converting Airlines Miles to Amazon Certificates

This post explains some conversions of airline miles (AAdvantage, US Airways etc), on the miles swap website points.com (details true as of Aug 19, 2008 when logged in from US for my account). If you are completely new to Points.com, make sure you use the "Start Here" link in the green menu bar at the top of the points.com site.

For info on magazines for miles go back in time.


Your actual conversions might be different. Briefly, it seemed to me that AA miles convert better than US Airways for getting Amazon cash.

Points.com does give you flexibility in terms of coverage from Aeroplan, US Airways or America West miles, Frontier, Delta, American Airlines, Amex Membership pts, IcelandAir, Midwest, Hawaiian and a few others.


As you can see in the image above (click for larger size) you can convert points on points.com to a variety of gift certificates with Avis or Macy's or Amazon or Gap, TJMaxx etc.. Each have their own conditions and restrictions but it might be worth converting free miles that you got somewhere.

But when it comes to converting any of these to something that you want, be prepared to lose 50, to even 70-80% of the value at times. But hey, if you earned all the miles through credit cards or paid business travel, why not just spend them and stop worrying about expiry.

One way to convert obscure miles in random amounts (like 6000, 11345 etc) to something useful is the Amazon Gift Certificate option. You seem to get a good deal from AA, No deal from Delta and a stingy deal from US airways miles. I did not review other programs as I don't have any miles in them.
For example let us try to swap a hypothetical 30000 miles Swap 29,882 AAdvantage® program miles for a $127 Amazon.com gift certificate,
In contrast, check how much devalued US Airways Dividend Miles are: swap 29,412 Dividend Miles® miles for a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate
This is on top of the fact that, when you get any Dividend Miles Credit Card** you have to pay the Annual fee ($85) from the first year itself. (the post diverges here to talk about credit cards)

In my opinion, the Dividend miles card is NOT WORTH IT Go for some cash back cards instead if you really need a rewards credit card. However I did end up using some 15,294 Dividend miles for a $13 Amazon cert. Hey otherwise those miles were going to expire and go waste.

The only other option I had was to donate it to Make a Wish Foundation, but I had already done that to 5000 American miles before so I didnt want to do it again so soon.


Note that the 30,000 miles on AA can get almost free ticket to Latin America or Puerto Rico from US. (off peak of course).

25000 on US Airways
may get you a free ticket or maybe not. Depends on the route and your luck and the temperature in Wisconsin (I made that up, but there is no way to figure out Airline FF awards, haha).


** Link to Dividend miles card information: Card Info

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