Tech Tuesday :: Trading Miles

[trip style = any]

Top-up your main airline mileage reward program with orphan miles. Let me explain:

We're all for consolidating airline mileage reward points with one alliance, but occasionally it's not possible. Case in point, as I look for flights to Thailand not one of the carriers I want to fly---due to flight schedule and price---is part of my preferred alliances: Star Alliance or One World.

{Trip Styler Tip: Most airlines are part of global airline alliances. For example, Air Canada is part of Star Alliance, so if I fly Air New Zealand, US Airways, United, Turkish, or Lufthansa to name only a few, I can apply the points to my Air Canada mileage account and accrue a free trip faster.}

Last year I lost 16,000 KLM points because 'dealing with them' seemed 'too complicated' before they expired. To put this in perspective, the airmiles I lost are equivalent to a one-way domestic trip on points, or to put it another way, the approximate amount of miles I flew from Vancouver to Australia {pictured above}. #Fail

This year I wasn't going to let that happen again. A few weeks ago my mileBlaster iPhone app notified me I had 15,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles expiring, so I  posted the trade details via 15,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles for 13,000 American Airlines miles. Turns out, another user was interested. After a transaction fee of $150, the transfer was complete. The fee isn't ideal, in fact it's downright annoying, but this top-up provides me the total amount of American Airlines points I need to fly from Vancouver to the Caribbean in the late fall. #Win

The Take-Away
  • Sort through all the miles you have with each airline to determine if you can fly somewhere for free.
  • If you've got miles you know you won't use, try and trade them into a mileage program you can use.
  • Using the trading system takes about 10 minutes once you add your airline account info.
  • For every 1000 miles you trade via, you are charged $10, hence my fee of $150 for trading 15,000 miles. Note, you are not charged the trading fee if nobody wants to make the trade.

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[photo by via and @tripstyler]