8 Other Ways To Use Your Airline Miles Besides Booking A Free Flight

Brittany Reed

When you are a frequent flier you can quickly rack up airline miles. This is great if you have the time to cash them in for a free flight. However, if you don’t have time to take a personal trip or you haven’t accrued enough to cash in for a flight, but your miles are about to expire, you may end up losing them. There are some other ways to use your airline miles that are just as valuable as getting a free flight. So instead of letting them lapse, consider one of these options:

1. Upgrade Your Seat: You don’t have to get a full flight with your airline miles, you can cash them in for a nice upgrade to first or business class. This is a great option for people who frequently fly and want to be more comfortable on their trips, especially business travelers whose company pays for their flights but they don’t have to take a separate trip somewhere.  

2. Add A Stopover: Some airline miles programs will let you cash in your points for a lengthy stopover. So if you don’t have time to take a full vacation, but you have a spare weekend and a layover in a great city, you can redeem your points for a mini vacation between legs of your trip.

3. Save Money On Last Minute Flights: Booking last minute flights can be extremely expensive. Flights that are typically just a couple hundred dollars can suddenly be in the thousands when booking last minute. You can use your miles to pay for a portion of your trip, reducing the costs of that last minute flight.

4. Go Shopping: Many miles programs will let you redeem your points for consumer items like electronics, clothes, and gadgets. If you plan to do this, try to do it around the holidays when these items are extremely discounted to get the most value from your miles.

5. Bid On An Experience: Some airline points programs let you bid on experiences. These experiences range from sports events to broadway shows to in demand concerts. Many of these experiences are really expensive, so using your points can help you save big bucks on a bucket list experience.

6. Redeem Them For Cash: Though the cash value of points is not always ideal, if you are running up against an expiration date, trading them in for cash is better than letting them go to waste. You can sell your miles back to your airline or on a variety of third party websites.

7. Gift Them To Someone Special: Does a family member or friend have a special event coming up like a birthday or anniversary coming up? Instead of trying to buy them a traditional gift, you can give them the gift of travel. You can redeem your miles and buy them a flight to a dream destination and help them have a truly special experience.

8. Donate Them To A Great Charity: There are tons of charities that accept airline miles. Large charity organizations like Red Cross, Wounded Warriors, and Make A Wish all take miles as a donation. Though mileage donations are not tax deductible, you can really make a difference donating your miles to your favorite charity.


Don’t let your miles lapse just because you can’t take another flight. You can use them in many other ways. If you are flying often enough to rack up a lot of airline miles, another thing to consider is investing in some great luggage. At ECBC, we make the most traveler friendly luggage to help you get to your gate quicker, so you don’t have to use your miles for a new flight after missing yours. Check out our selection today and happy travels!

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