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Travel Tip: Top Airlines for Redeeming Miles

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Every year, I tell you how the airlines are devaluing frequent-flier miles. And since they control the inventory, some airlines make it harder than others to redeem those miles for seats.

A new study from IdeaWorks ranks airlines around the world based on their availability of reward seats. And guess what? The low-cost airlines fared the best. We’re talking Southwest and JetBlue in the U.S.

Internationally, Air Berlin, Brazil’s GOL, and Virgin Australia ranked high.

Meanwhile, US Airways and Delta tied for last place, and American Airlines was in the bottom five.

So here’s the deal. Most airlines will release award seats as far out as 330 days. That’s when you start looking. Don’t use up your miles on a domestic, $300 ticket. Use them where they’re worth the most: international flights, a place you’ve never been before, or your bucket-list destination.

And the most important advice: Talk to a human being. It may cost you a few bucks to talk to a reservations agent, but they can think creatively, find alternate routing, and even override the system on occasion. Things that a computer…can’t do.

For more information, visit our Mileage and Rewards Archive .

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