6 Ways to Sell or Donate Your Airline Miles

By Nick Wharton. Last updated 2 October 2015. 0 comments

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Do you have a bunch of airline miles that you're not going to use? Hoping to get rid of them or help someone less fortunate? You've come to the right place. Here are six different ways that you can part with your hard-earned miles without violating the frequent flyer terms and conditions of airline loyalty programs.

Donating Miles

Good for you! You've decided to use your airline miles for a greater purpose. Note that donating your miles truly is an act of charity — that's because the IRS considers airline miles a gift to you from the airline, and donated miles are therefore not tax deductible.

1. American Miles for Kids in Need

(1,000 Miles Minimum Donation)

Your AAadvantage Miles can be used to give an advantage to children and families in need of help. American Airlines supports a variety of child and family focused charities including Miles of Hope, Miles for Kids in Need, and more.

Through these programs AA focuses on food, clothing, shelter, health, education, and employment. Their goal is to benefit organizations that provide a strategic focus on children and/or those afflicted by unexpected adversity.

For more information, call 1-800-882-8880 or visit American's Giving webpage.

2. United Charity Miles

(500 Miles Minimum Donation)

United Airlines works with a number of charities that focus on youth, humanitarian, health, community, and military aid. There are nearly 50 charities to choose from including American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Americares, and many more.

Check out the United donation page for the full list of Charities.

3. Delta Donate Miles

(Minimum Donation Varies by Charity)

By donating your Delta Miles you can help children and animals in need, struggling communities, and breast cancer patients. Delta has a wide variety of wonderful charities to choose from, but each one has its own minimum donation requirement.

With charities in the U.S., Latin America and around the world, you can put your points where they are needed most. Head to Delta's Donate Miles page and check out their comprehensive and well-organized list of charities which include Make A Wish, Habitat For Humanity, UNICEF, and many more.

4. JetBlue True Giving

(500 Point Minimum Donation for most Charities)

You can use your TrueBlue points to contribute to great causes all around the world. When you donate your points, they'll go directly to your chosen charity, and in turn, they will be able to use the points for JetBlue flights to help their cause.

With many different charities aiming to help youth, education, families, communities, and the environment, you'll be able to donate your points to where they are needed most. Points can be donated locally or globally to more than 2.5 million causes in the True Giving database.

Visit JetBlue's Charity Page for a full list of programs and start making a difference today.

Trading or Transferring Miles

Most programs will allow you to gift miles to other users. Check with your program’s options for transferring miles. If that’s not available, there are still other ways to move your points.

5. Redeem or Transfer Miles Through Points.com

You can trade miles with other frequent flyers through Points.com. You can also transfer miles between frequent flyer programs, or redeem miles into Paypal credit, merchandise, dining, or gift cards.

This may sound a lot like bartering miles, but airlines are okay with customers using Points.com because when you trade on this site, they're collecting fees every step of the way.

While it is perfectly acceptable to trade your points in at Points.com, it's definitely not the best way to redeem them. You will not get as much as your miles are worth and you will be charged hefty fees, similar to the ones that airlines charge.

If your miles are about to expire, or you're sure that you'll never use them, then this service could be right for you. But if you can use them on travel, you'll get much more bang for your buck.

6. Book Awards Tickets for Your Family & Friends

Technically this is still a grey area when it comes to frequent flyer program regulations, but it is perfectly okay to fly your friends and family using your points, if they just so happen to give you something in return at the same time, that's a complete coincidence... right?

Spending your miles on friends and family is a great way to use miles that would otherwise expire.

See also: Best Credit Cards that Offer Companion Tickets

The Bottom Line

I personally have never (and will never) sell my air miles to a broker and neither should you. There are just too many risks:

  • Ticket confiscation;
  • Reservation cancellation;
  • Confiscation of all accumulated miles on your accounts;
  • Strongly worded emails and accusations;
  • Ban from rewards program.

You can trade in your miles, use them to help make the world a better place, or fly your family and friends around the planet for a visit. Don't ever let your points go to waste. Use Points.com or credit card donation services to ensure that you're making the most of your unused miles.

Have you ever donated or transferred airline miles?

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