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07/31/2007

Frequent-Flier Miles�The $280 Billion Currency

There was a time when you could let your frequent-flier miles sit dormant forever, but no longer. Now the miles expiration clock has begun ticking faster than ever. As the airlines are wanting to get those liabilities off their books...some 14.2 trillion airline miles are now in existence, at 2-cents value per mile that�s a $280 billion currency!

There was a hodgepodge of expiration policies until 1999, when most major carriers adopted a three-year rule. Then US Airways announced last fall that inactive frequent-flier mileage would expire in 18 months, down from 36. Delta set a 24-month clock. United and American Airlines then implemented an 18-month expiration.

It�s now estimated that upwards of 75% of airline miles are not redeemed. With the new policies that figure will climb...which certainly should be unacceptable.

Here�s the action(s) to take so you can hold on to your miles:

1)  Take a short, quick flight on the airline or one of its alliance partners.

2)  Redeem miles for a flight or another award such as a magazine subscription.

3)  Use a credit card that awards frequent-flier miles.

4)  Stay in a hotel that offers miles in the carrier�s program.

5)  Send flowers through FTD.

In some programs you earn miles to keep your account alive, but be sure to ask first.


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