Wish to promote your airline miles? This is why it is a unhealthy concept

Often, TPG readers are primarily involved about methods to earn extra miles or redeem miles for optimum worth. However often, we get a reader query about whether or not you may promote airline miles.

For instance, TPG reader Doug F. lately wrote in asking:

“I’ve been instructed I can promote my 170,000 United miles. The place can I discover if that is true and a good firm whether it is?”

For those who search on-line, you may discover numerous airline miles brokers and airline factors brokers keen to pay you money in your journey rewards. That stated, I do not suggest promoting your miles for a large number of causes.

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This is what you should know, together with different methods to get worth from airline miles you do not need.

Why it is a unhealthy concept to promote airline miles

It is normally a nasty concept to promote your airline miles. ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

TPG reader Doug F. particularly requested about promoting United miles. So, let’s take a look at the United MileagePlus program guidelines to know one of many main causes it’s a unhealthy concept to promote airline miles.

Level 31 of this system guidelines particularly permits MileagePlus members to ebook awards “within the title and for the usage of some other particular person.” Nonetheless, there is a part entitled “prohibition of sale or barter” earlier in this system guidelines that states:

“The sale, barter or different switch or tried sale, barter or different switch of any mileage, certificates, PlusPoints, awards, advantages or standing, aside from as approved and/or sponsored by United, is expressly prohibited. Any mileage, certificates, PlusPoints, awards, advantages or standing offered, bartered or in any other case transferred is in violation of the Guidelines and any accounts or Members concerned in such gross sales, barters or different transfers could also be topic to United’s Treatments. The acquisition, use, switch or tried acquisition, use or switch of mileage, certificates, PlusPoints, awards, advantages or standing which were acquired by buy, barter or different switch in violation of the Guidelines could end in United’s train of United’s Treatments.”

So, you may redeem your miles to present somebody an award flight. However promoting United miles or awards — and shopping for United miles or awards — is prohibited besides as particularly approved or sponsored by United.

For those who’re questioning simply how unhealthy it is likely to be if United catches you shopping for or promoting miles or awards, let’s check out “United’s Treatments” in this system guidelines:

  • Termination of your United MileagePlus account, together with any United MileagePlus Premier standing or United Million Miler standing.
  • Elimination or cancellation of all or any accrued United miles, Premier qualifying credit, lifetime miles and any pending or excellent award redemptions, certificates or advantages.
  • The confiscation of award tickets or denial of boarding on the airport.
  • Lack of different United MileagePlus program advantages.

These treatments may sound horrible for those who get pleasure from United MileagePlus elite standing, get wonderful worth from United miles or have accrued an enormous mileage stability with United. For those who solely have a modest quantity of miles and do not plan to make use of this system sooner or later, these treatments may sound well worth the danger if you may get some money in your pocket now.


Nonetheless, the above treatments aren’t the top of the potential negatives that might consequence from promoting or shopping for miles or awards. Specifically, United’s program guidelines go on to notice:

Along with the foregoing United’s Treatments, United could, upon written request, require the Member to repay the worth, as decided by United, of the awards redeemed, certificates or advantages acquired on account of Prohibited Conduct.

This system guidelines for every loyalty program are totally different. Most, if not all, main loyalty applications have guidelines in opposition to shopping for and promoting rewards. And lots of loyalty applications have algorithms and procedures to flag suspicious redemptions.

Though getting caught promoting journey rewards may sound unlikely, it is not a danger I am keen to take. Main loyalty applications have gone after members for promoting journey rewards earlier than, and vacationers who offered just one or two award tickets should still face extreme penalties.

It is also potential {that a} mileage dealer could use your miles and never pay you. On this case, you would not have a lot recourse because you have been going in opposition to the loyalty program phrases and circumstances by making an attempt to promote your miles.

Associated: How 4 TPG reporters would spend 1 million United miles

Different choices apart from promoting journey rewards


Promoting your journey rewards is normally a dangerous concept. For those who’re seeking to promote airline miles for money, as a substitute think about the next choices that your program could supply:

A few of these choices allow you to give the present of journey to a good friend or member of the family, whereas others allow you to squeeze a little bit of worth out of your journey rewards in a program-approved method. If none of those choices are interesting — or accessible together with your program — think about using your rewards to ebook a visit with household or mates.

Associated: What to do with small factors and miles balances

Backside line

Promoting your factors or miles is clearly in opposition to the phrases and circumstances of most, if not all, loyalty applications. Though I’ve booked awards for family and friends as a present — with nothing given or anticipated in return — I would not barter or promote my rewards. It is simply too dangerous, particularly with many applications monitoring account exercise and searching for suspicious redemptions.

Briefly, the cash you may get for promoting your factors or miles is not price doubtlessly dropping your account and needing to pay the loyalty program 1000’s of {dollars}.

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