Selling frequent-flier miles violates airlines' policies

Q&A

November 04, 2007|By San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News

I'm never going to use my frequent-flier miles because of the hassles of getting a seat when I want it. Can I sell them?

You can, although doing so will violate the rules of major airlines -- rules that you agree to when you join their programs. So we don't recommend doing this. If your carrier discovers you have sold miles, it can cancel your membership and any remaining miles you have in your account. How it works: When you sell miles, you go through a so-called coupon broker (you can find them on the Internet), who essentially links buyers and sellers. They locate someone who wants a ticket for a specific destination at a cheap price. The broker then finds a seller with enough miles to fly there. The broker asks the seller to request an award ticket in the buyer's name. The broker pays the seller, although you can expect to be paid less than two cents per mile. A safer and better option, says Tim Winship, editor at large of smartertravel.com, is to exchange your miles for merchandise (if your airline offers this), magazine subscriptions, rental cars or hotel certificates. You can also donate them to a charity (American Airlines, for example, will donate your miles to the Make-a-Wish Foundation) or give them to a friend or family member as a gift.

I'm planning a trip to Ireland to research my family history. What's the best time to visit and find good rates?

If you're talking about weather, Ireland does not experience extreme highs or lows -- but you can expect rain no matter what time of year you visit. June and July are typically the driest and warmest months (ranging from 68 to 77 degrees), but hotels are busy and you may not find good package deals. Our recommendation: Consider a visit in the spring or fall, when temperatures are in the low- to mid-50s and hotels are less crowded -- but you're almost certain to encounter a few days of showers. Ireland's tourism Web site, dis coverireland.com, is a good place to find information on festivals, tours, hotels, car rentals and even package deals. To find packages, click on "Vacation offers" on the home page.

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