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Travel Tip: Which Airlines Make it Easy to Redeem Frequent Flyer Miles

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Image Credit: Stephanie Ervin

Image Credit: Stephanie Ervin

Millions of us are members of at least one frequent flyer program and we earn our miles through our credit cards or by flying.

But the real challenge—and it’s getting tougher—is to redeem those miles in a meaningful way, whether it’s for flights we want to fly to places we even want to go.

So which airlines are the most or least generous when it comes to frequent flyer award seat availability?

According to the consulting firm IdeaWorks, the latest results are not making most of us happy.

The airlines that win in terms of mileage redemption?

Southwest, which makes 100 percent of its available seats available for redemption.

Coming in second is JetBlue, with more than 94 percent seats available.

But the big three legacy carriers aren’t as willing to part with frequent flyer award seats.

Delta only makes 74 percent available. United drops to 65 percent. American has only 54 percent available.

So what’s the solution? Don’t just look at your primary mileage carrier—look at their airline partners.

Check out OneWorld, SkyTeam, or Star Alliance programs, where those carriers might make more seats available.

But whatever you do, don’t hoard your miles.

Redeem them as early and as often as possible since the airlines continue to change the rules on the minimum number of miles you need to redeem to get that frequent flyer award ticket.

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