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How to redeem air miles for travel

Updated February 21, 2017

These days it seems that with the airline industry suffering financially it's becoming harder and harder to redeem air miles for travel. Still, if you're savvy you can redeem those miles and save big on your next vacation, business trip or travel excursion. Many airlines have strict policies regarding the redemption of points and miles, but it always depends on the time of year and the flight destination. It's a good idea to check with the airline regularly because redeemable seats will occasionally open up as the departure date approaches.

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  1. Access the airline's website where you plan to redeem your air miles. Look for the section that says, "redeem air miles" or "membership rewards." Different airlines have different names for their air miles program. Delta calls their programme SkyMiles, whereas Continental calls their programme OnePass.

  2. Login to your account using your air miles reward number and Internet login. If you can't remember or have lost this information, contact the airline. They should be able to give it to you after answering a few identity questions.

  3. Access your account and check to see how many miles you have available. You may have more than expected as some air miles programmes grant miles for other reasons besides flying such as credit card purchases.

  4. Choose your travel dates and departure and arrival cities. On most websites, booking is done directly through the air miles programme section of the site. Choose flights that cost equal to or less than the amount of air miles currently on your account.

  5. Read all of the instructions and fine print carefully before proceeding. Expect to pay a transfer fee of up to thirty pounds sterling (fifty dollars). Nearly all airlines charge a fee, though its still substantially less than you would be paying without the air miles.

  6. Fill in all the necessary passenger information such as your full passenger name, meal preferences and seat preferences. Proceed to the checkout and click "confirm" when you are ready to purchase the ticket.

  7. Tip

    Check with lots of different airlines with whom you have air miles accounts. Different airlines almost always charge slightly different amounts for flights to and from the same cities. Contact the airline if you have any doubts about booking your flight.

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Things You'll Need

  • Air miles membership number
  • Airline website login
  • Travel dates
  • Credit card

About the Author

Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.

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