Thursday, June 7, 2007

American Airline Miles: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em

I recently heard American Airlines was cutting back on their miles benefits, and sure enough, a few days later a nasty email from them appeared in my inbox:

Because we value your participation in the AAdvantage program, we want to let you know about an upcoming program change that could affect your AAdvantage account. AAdvantage members now must have mileage earning or redemption activity once every 18 months in order to remain active and retain their miles. Effective December 15, 2007, mileage balances will expire from AAdvantage accounts that have not had miles either earned or redeemed within the previous eighteen (18)month period. If the last activity in your AAdvantage account was prior to June 15,2006,all miles subject to expiration will expire on December 15,2007.

What that means, of course, if that the miles aren't just devalued, like my beloved USAir does. These miles are dead and gone. However, there is a bright spot. I have never accumulated enough miles on this particular airline to get free tickets anyway, but these miles can be redeemed for magazines or The Wall Street Journal. Go to www.aa.com and, if you can actually remember your account number and password (I know, some people actually remember to write these things down), go to "redeem" miles on the left menu. Then click on Non-Air - Mileage Redemption Opportunities and then go to "Magazines for Miles". You will see a list of some wholly unmemorable magazines, but remarkably, stuck in the weirdo list, is the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek (one of my favorites - it has excellent reporting on green business) and Barron's. Or you can donate your miles to Make-A-Wish, though you can't do that via the website. (Or maybe you want to subscribe to a magazine about cigars?! Ughh!) You can send these as gifts, too, to another address. If you want to be a good citizen, how about checking out the address of your local library and subscribing on their behalf? (Some of the magazines offered may be available as online zines, but I know for sure you have to pay for an online subscription to the WSJ.)
Enjoy. Personally, I can't pass up a freebie - unless it's Cigar Aficionado Magazine!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The timing of your post today is positively hilarious to me. For I am just taking a momentary break from schlepping out to the recycle bin to dump the following full-year subscriptions of magazines NEVER EVEN LOOKED AT (and naturally kept for a whole year or more, because they're brand new, and what a waste, right?)...that I received in exchange for what? That's right. My expiring airline miles. The glossy piles include: Wired; Food & Wine; Travel & Leisure; Bicycling; and most ironically perhaps, Money!
I would just say, before anyone takes your suggestion too literally to get magazines for miles, consider: do you think you'll read 'em? Do you think you'll mind the increased level of junkmail that such new subscriptions engender? If so, go for it. If not, it's clutter. (There's one in the bunch I do enjoy reading, while exercising because it's the perfect size to fit on an elliptical trainer or treadmill ledge: Prevention. So there's my recommendation.)
OK, back out to the trash and recycling...
jh

bpt said...

Magazines are occasionally offered on our local freecycle, though of course if you want to simplify your life, figuring out how to get rid of new magazines is not the way to go! Another possibility would be donating them to your local library, or perhaps even subscribing on their behalf. Mags for Miles does have the option of gift subscriptions to another addressee.

jh said...

In the end I brought them to my office for folks to enjoy in the lunchroom. But subscribing on behalf of someone else is a good idea for next time, you're right.

Shadox said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I just got a business week subscription using the few American miles that I have - I never fly American. In fact, I really hate using that company. Flying out of SFO their check-in lines are legendary. So, it's nice that something will come out of the 4000 miles I have before they expire...

Anonymous said...

You can do lots of things to earn miles and keep your account active as well. There's many shopping sites that will give you miles and you can also use AA dining to earn miles as well.

CreditBabe said...

I know that you are probably disappointed because of the miles that you have lost, even though there were not so many, still kinda bad!

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