Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a small but not negligible stash of US Airways miles that are about to expire. I do most of my flying through other airlines, so earning more to avoid expiration (or using them on an upgrade) is not a reasonable option, and I don't have enough to redeem them for a flight.

As I understand it, my only options are to donate these miles to charity (however, they are not tax deductible, which significantly reduces the appeal of this option), or to trade them in for a fairly large number of magazine subscriptions which I do not want.

Is there any way to convert these miles into anything else, whether it be points with a partner loyalty program, some sort of cash equivalent like gift cards, or crappy skymall grade merchandise?

Or must I resign myself to paying for 7 years of Wired Magazine?

share|improve this question
2  
-1 because of the comment, insulting to the human mankind, about donation. –  Geeo Dec 3 '13 at 8:02
3  
@geeo why so? The choice of charities is limited, and doesn't reflect my usual giving preferences. I might be willing to alter those preferences with a tax incentive, but if the donation isn't deductible, I'd rather do my giving the old fashioned way - with money. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Dec 3 '13 at 12:05

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, Dividend Miles is a "dead-end" program. The WebFlyer Mileage Converter turns up nothing, and even a ruinous Points.com conversion is now impossible. Some of this reflects general cutbacks in frequent flyer programs and some of it reflects the pending merger with American Airlines. Dividend Miles will almost certainly be merged into the much larger AAdvantage program, or into a new successor program, so there is no point to adding new partnerships.

I do advise you, however, to keep the account active until you can redeem from it. If you participate in AAdvantage, these miles will be transferred or converted to that account within the next 12–18 months (if the Delta/Northwest and United/Continental mergers can be cited as precedent). If you don't regularly fly OneWorld and have not been consolidating your miles in another OneWorld program, this could be the one to keep accruing to until you can spend them on something useful.

Any activity in your Dividend Miles account will refresh your activity date, no matter how small. Charging $1 on your DM credit card to earn one mile would be good enough, or getting 6 issues of Cigar Aficionado for 400 miles would be good enough. And there are many ways to earn Dividend Miles without flying (RDMs).

You do not specify how long you have before expiration, but let us assume it is less than the 60 days you should allow for credit from a program partner. Fortunately, you can still buy, gift, or share miles, which will reset your activity counter within a day.

  • Miles to purchase cost $0.035 per mile plus 7.5% tax; the minimum number is 1000, so your minimum spend is $37.63.
  • Miles to share with a friend or family member cost $0.01 per mile 7.5% tax and a $30 processing fee per transaction; the minimum number is 1000, so your minimum spend is $40.75.
  • You can reactivate the account. The fee for doing so is a sliding scale based on the mileage balance: $10 for 1–4,999 miles, $50 for 5,000–19,999 miles, and so on.
  • There is no fee to donate miles. The minimum number to donate is 1000.

If you do not have an AAdvantage account and truly do not foresee ever needing one (e.g. you accrue your OneWorld miles to a different program), it would be reasonable to drain the account by buying magazines and newspapers— or gifting them to a friend, school, library, etc.— or by donating them. But do drain it; there is no point to letting miles expire, as they are then of no use to anyone.

share|improve this answer
    
Yeah, I don't fly all that much - and when I do, it's almost always either JetBlue or Delta, and domestic US. OneWorld/AA miles are just as low value to me as Dividend Miles; I only have the miles I do have as the result of a few flights on a route which they were the exclusive service available, and for which I paid an absurd premium as a result. I just want to cash them out and be done with it, so I guess magazines it is. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Dec 3 '13 at 3:10

You don't say how many points you have or what airlines you normally fly with, but...

Firstly, keep in mind that US Airways is likely to merge with American Airlines at some stage in the not to distant future. At that time, the miles for the two programs will merge into one - so if you collect AA miles then these miles would suddenly become useful to you!

Unfortunately US do not appear to let you redeem miles for gift vouchers/etc. They do allow redemption for newspapers and magazines as you say, which is probably your best option if you want to spend them all.

However rather than spending them, there are numerous ways to extend the expiry - which could be a better option if you expect you will ever fly US again, or if you have AA miles to merge them with in the future.

There's basically 3 ways to extend the expiry of the miles - use some, earn some, or pay a fee.

The easy one first - pay a fee. For $9, you can extend your miles for another 18 months. This should show as an option in your account when the miles are within the last few months of their life.

Next, earn some. Earning even a single new mile will extend the life of all of your miles for another 18 months. In addition to the obvious method of flying, there are numerous other ways to earn miles, such as rental cars/hotels, Dividend Dining, or numerous other options. A Google search will find you many other options here - and remember you only as little as one mile and you're good!

Lastly, Spend some. Maybe you don't want 7 years worth of Wired - but buying even 1 years worth will extend the remaining miles for another 18 months. In addition to magazines, you can also get a newspaper subscription, or even donate 1000 miles to charity.

share|improve this answer
1  
FWIW: A little less than 10,000, and my limited flying is almost entirely JetBlue and Delta, domestic US. I have little to no interest in trying to move points over to AA and manage another program. I'd forgotten I had these before I got a letter about them expiring. Nonetheless, +1 for useful info to somebody not in my specific situation. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Dec 3 '13 at 3:11

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.