Every frequent flier keeps at least a loose eye on his or her available miles. To those who board airplanes more frequently than any other means of transportation, a skyrocketing mileage count takes on a life of its own.
You’ve probably heard nightmare stories of those who can’t seem to find a good way to spend all the miles they’ve earned, and, in fact, you may be one of those distraught fliers. Every airline treats award miles slightly differently, enabling you to spend them in varying ways, but there are a few tricks of the trade that tend to work across the board.
Regardless of which airline you favor, there’s a good chance you’ve considered using miles to buy tickets for a vacation, or perhaps to buy a ticket for a friend or family member. Generally speaking, there are a few levels of award redemptions, and finding a “low” award – one that lets you travel for the fewest amount of miles – is the goal. Airlines tend to charge more miles for flights that they think will have higher overall demand. Flying in the days prior to Thanksgiving, for example, will practically never be a wise use of miles. You’ll always be extorted, because the airlines know that they’ll sell those flights out regardless.