How to Cash Out Airline Miles & Rewards Points

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If you have a rewards credit card or airline loyalty program account, you may be wondering how you can cash out your points. This guide will explore some interesting ways to get cash for points and airline miles.

How to Cash Out Airline Miles

You may have acquired frequent flier miles from flights, or from travel credit cards. Either way, if you don’t have immediate plans to use the miles, it may make sense to try to cash them out. Here are some ideas:

 

Book Flights for Friends & Family

  • You can simply book flights for friends using miles and have them pay you
  • This is typically NOT against the rules for most programs
  • Your friend can get a better deal while you get some cash!

One of the best ways to get cash for miles is to book flights for your friends and family, and have them pay you directly. It’s best to give them a good deal so that they have some incentive as well.

For example, you may have a stash of Delta miles that you’re not going to use. If your friend is going on a trip and looking at booking a $400 flight, you could book it for them with your miles and charge them $300. Win, win!

Airline programs forbid selling points/miles. However, they are fine with you booking flights for other people you know. They won’t know about the payment side of the transaction, so on their end it will look like a valid booking. Thus, this is somewhat of a grey area in terms of the rules – but there’s virtually no chance it will cause an issue (unlike selling miles directly).

 

Redeem for Cash Directly (Low Rates)

  • Some airlines and flexible rewards currencies allow direct redemptions for cash
  • Most of the time the conversion rate is pretty bad
  • This is perhaps the easiest way to redeem points for cash (if it’s allowed)

Some rewards programs allow you to directly convert your points/miles into cash. Most airline programs do not, but most flexible points currencies (i.e. Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, etc.) do.

Most of the time this is a pretty bad use of miles/points, simply because the redemption rates are quite low. We do not typically recommend this option.

 

Sell Airline Miles (Not Recommended)

  • Various airline mile brokers will buy airline miles from you
  • This is almost always against the terms of service for the rewards program
  • It can work, but it may result in your account being banned

If you’re willing to take the risk, you can sell airline miles for pretty good rates. It varies by program, but you can expect solid rates typically of 1 cent per mile or more.

That said, selling air miles is against the terms of service of virtually every loyalty program, and can result in your account being banned. We do not recommend this option.

 

Other Options

  • You may wish to donate your points to charity if you can’t cash them out
  • Some rewards currencies offer decent cash redemption options – explore the program for details
  • If you fly for work and have a good relationship with your boss, ask if you can use your miles for a flight and get reimbursed with cash by your company
  • Some programs allow redemptions for gift cards, sometimes at better rates than straight cashback. You can then use the gift cards or sell them for cash.
  • Specifically for Amex Membership Rewards points, getting the Charles Schwab Platinum allows you to redeem MR for 1.25 cents each! You’ll need a relationship with Schwab to get this card – but they currently offer a $100 Schwab checking bonus that offers ATM fee reimbursement and other perks for travelers
  • You can simply keep your miles for the future. Just make sure to check expiration details and keep your account active so they don’t expire.

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