3 things you can buy with frequent-flier miles if you’re not going to fly

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: frequent flier miles and points lose value every day. The longer they sit in your account, the more they metaphorically start to rust.

Some people want to save their air miles for the perfect vacation but it may not even be a viable option. Less mileage routes are being offered, more miles are needed for travel and, well… those expiration dates.

If you have tons of miles and don’t see yourself flying in the near future, spend it well on these three other things you can get yourself.

1. Gift cards.

All major airlines allow you to use your miles to “shop.” Don’t even look at the merchandise as the redemption rate is never great.

Go straight to the gift cards. Every airline lets you trade in miles for gift cards. The exchange is actually terrible (think 25,000 miles for $100 gift card), but if you’re just going to let your miles expire, go nuts here. I’ve used miles to get gift cards at Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Amazon and more.

You can get luxury gift cards with miles.

2. Fly your friend.

If you’re not going to fly, why don’t you send your friend down to visit? Or if you got a great deal on a flight, why don’t you use your miles to fly your friend to share that vacation with you?

I amass tons of miles a year, so I’m grateful to have this option. But trust me; you’ll want to do it soon. I had always wanted to fly my mom to South Korea with all my Delta miles. But, when she finally had time to go this year, first-class tickets were no longer 100,000 miles r/t. They were at least 350,000.

My friend Jason in Hawaii with me, courtesy of air miles.

3. Magazines. If you have a small amount of miles and can’t seem to get anything with them, cash them in for magazines. Every airline has magazines for miles, and they’re as low as 500 miles for a year subscription to basically every major magazine and newspaper.

Magazines for Miles is a thing… and you can get them directly with your airline of choice on their own site, too.

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Happy travels!

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed at over 600 hotels and clocked millions of air miles. He currently lives in New York City.

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