Right now, you may be stuck with travel memberships that are full of rewards and points, but you won’t be traveling for the next several months and aren’t sure what you’ll do with all these points. Thankfully, travel providers and card issuers have been proactive in providing opportunities for their members to use their travel points in some way, so there are a few things you can do to save your points or even help other people.
Book trips for the future. Many airlines are offering risk-free cancellations and are changing fee waivers to their frequent flier members, as a way to encourage them to book trips for 2021.
This will assure the loyalty club members that they can still go on their desired trips at a later date, especially if they make the changes sooner than later. You do not want to risk getting stuck paying for a trip that you won’t go on, so these cancellation changes make it less risky to fly. This policy spreads across different cabin classes as well., not just business or first class.
Read them. If you’ve been in lockdown for a while, and will continue to be so, you could catch up on a lot of your reading. Many travel rewards programs allow for redeeming your points for a number of different perks.
Many of these perks translate to restaurant gift cards, which is already a no-go for a lot of people. But they can also translate into magazine and newspaper subscriptions. You can trade in your miles and points for subscriptions your favorite airlines are partnered with. For example, American Airlines offers year-long subscriptions to the Financial Times for less than 4,000 miles. It’s a great way for financial professionals to keep up with their professional interests without spending any extra cash.
Spend them. Some parts of the country are already opening back up and people are trying to resume their normal lives, going out to eat or getting a latte. You can convert points into gift cards, and shop online with them, get carry-out at a restaurant, or even just give the card to a friend. Check Points.com to see how you can exchange them for different gift cards, including Amazon, gas stations, and online shopping options.
Sell them. You can even receive cash for your points. Chase Ultimate Rewards, for example, allows you to cash in your points for 1 cent each. That may not sound appealing, given that you can have a more rewarding experience using those points for travel. But at the same time, cash is cash, and cash in hand today could be worth more than a plane ticket next year, especially if your points might expire.
Donate them. Organizations and businesses are rising up to meet the needs of others during the pandemic, and have options in place for customers to be charitable for such occasions. Delta Airlines has partnered with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Make-A-Wish, where you can donate your miles which helps invest in their causes. United Airlines works with the Special Olympics and Clean the World to help champion their causes as well.
Regardless of what you want to do, check your airline’s or credit card provider’s website to see what else may be available to you, or try a site like Points.com to see what kind of exchange options are available to you.
What are you doing with your travel points? Is there an option we missed? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: Mattes (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 0)