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Just realized when booking some travel that I forgot to take action last October to prevent some mileage from expiring. As per http://www.ualmiles.com/ReinstatementMiles.jsp, it is possible to reinstate them within 18 months of expiry by paying $50 for upto 25k miles.

How should I value the cost/benefit to decide whether to pay this fee (I have another year in the grace period to do so) or just forget about the miles? As in, what is the minimum mileage where it would make sense to pay $50 for reinstatement.

If it makes a difference, I don't travel often but when I do, its either within the US or round trip of US-India(BOM).

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My usual rule of thumb is that one mile is worth about one cent, based on the figure that 25,000 miles buys one restricted domestic round-trip which can usually be found for around $250 on the open market. One should probably discount the miles further compared to cash, since they can only be spent on one thing, can't earn interest, and can expire (as you found).

Personally, I'd want to have almost the full 25K and a firm plan for when to use them before I'd consider paying a reinstatement fee.

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there are lots of credit cards that will give you 1% of your spend in cash, or 1 mile for every dollar, which reinforces the penny-a-point value. I certainly wouldn't pay more than a penny to get a mile. That said, I save my redemptions for times when I can get more (sometimes a LOT more) than a penny-a-point value for them. –  Kate Gregory Apr 11 at 21:09

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