140k United Miles - Best way to convert to cash!

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by rolandal, Feb 24, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Hey guys -

    I'm brand new to the forums here, but I read through some of the documentation/pinned threads and I haven't found a good one that describes how to "cash out".

    I have been in the corporate world now for a year, and with the limited vacation time, I don't see myself traveling much anymore.

    I have 140k Unite miles that I want to try to liquidate or "cash out" on.

    What would be the best way to do this?

    I was thinking I could purchase something from the rewards with a high resale value like a Mac, and then resale it?

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks in advance,

    Roland
     
  2. FlyingBear
    Original Member

    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    Get a ticket for a friend or family, let them pay you in cash. "High resale" items are also "high point" items and are a horrible idea.

    You've been doing this for just a year, why the hurry to get rid of the points? Just splurge on 1st class whenever you get to travel on your own buck.
     
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  3. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    ^ What he said.

    Keep the account alive and one of these days you're gonna be happy that you have a few miles in the bank that you can use for a free ticket or a couple of upgrades.
     
  4. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Cash is generally the worst redemption there is.
     
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  5. I'm just needing cash at this moment - maybe buying a ticket for a family member would be best. I'm worried my miles will expire?
     
  6. FlyingBear
    Original Member

    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    You'll have to provide a bit more information there. When do your miles expire? Keeping them alive is not so difficult.

    I made an assumption, and it appears to be incorrect, that you got 140k miles from your corporate job in the past year. If that's not correct and you don't have a way to collect massive miles, you can still keep them alive easily.

    If you need cash REALLY badly, yeah, buy merchandise, resell. If you can wait, go the ticket route.
     
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  7. I have 140k Miles. It says Miles expire Aug. 31 2013

    Lifetime flight miles 40k.

    I just looked it up on the Mileage Plus website.

    I earned most of those miles from the United Credit Card that I have over the last year. I rarely if ever fly United, so I want to cash in the miles.

    Is there a site where I can buy a ticket for a random person and then they give me $ at a discount?

    What merchandise would be the best to purchase if needing to resell, is there something I should watch out for?
     
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  8. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Suggest you edit you post to take out the specific numbers. United routinely follows threads such as these and can, with the data you provided, know that you are trying to sell your miles, which is against the TOS. How may people do you think have the exact same total miles and lifetime miles as you have?
     
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  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Beautifully said. The second part of the above being true (essentially, that your miles are worth more as miles than as cash), the better approach is the first part of the above, because you'd at the same time feel good about doing something nice for a friend or family. Know a friend who wishes to do a TPAC trip? Redeeming for NC and letting them pay you in cash sounds about right...
     
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  10. Thanks, good point - I've gone ahead and done this...
     
  11. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    International First or Biz class ticket is best value. Both are easy to find for the miles you have.
     
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  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I replied to your other post (in a separate thread) here. Might be best to keep it out of this thread as it wouldn't really seem to fit in.
     
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  13. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    As HaveMilesWillTravel said, you should probably keep all discussion on your request in the other thread.

    That being said, this forum is not for people just looking to get someone to give them a ticket. It is for people to share their flying and mileage experiences.
     
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  14. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Warning: this post wanders off into financial advice. Blame too much time spent on FatWallet's finance forum.

    Throwing around some rough numbers, many people value miles at about $.01 each. That puts your hoard at $1,400. Depending on your circumstances, that could represent a useful chunk of change. We'll come back to the money...

    You say you've "been in the corporate world now for a year." That's a relatively short time. Things change. If you had instead said "I've not traveled in four years," this advice might be different. As you discovered, your miles don't expire for another year and a half, and, as others point out, it's not that hard to keep them alive. So long as you have this credit card, you have almost no danger of expiration at all. And in four years, you may well find that your free time, job role (and business travel!), and desire to travel could all change.

    Another thing that changes with time is personal finances. Assuming you went into the "corporate world" in debt, you're likely to find that you work your way out of that debt over time and then begin building your savings. Once you get out of the debt, your savings will grow slowly at first, then a little faster. It's a lovely exponential curve. Likewise, the deeper you're in debt to start, the longer the slog is to get out. It takes longer to work your way out of $10k in debt than to save $10k starting at zero.

    What worries me about your post, though, is having a cash crunch a year into your corporate job. While I can understand not being out of debt after only a year, a cash crunch is a big warning sign. In particular, a cash crunch where only $1,400 (roughly) would make a meaningful difference is worrisome. Are you living well below your means? If not, are there lifestyle changes you need to be making? Look at the little stuff: even canceling your United credit card, with its annual fee, might be helpful. Maybe you instead need a no-annual-fee cash back card (FIA issues a Fidelity-branded 2% cash back Amex). Maybe you need a cheaper cell phone.

    So my advice is to make sure you understand your personal finances in depth before deciding to cash in your hoard. If cashing in will just be a Band-Aid, delaying a further decline, then fix the problem another way and save the miles for a celebratory trip later. If nothing else, your miles will survive in (personal) bankruptcy. If the need for cash really is a one-off and you're otherwise on sane financial footing, then consider cashing in.
     
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  15. dmc730

    dmc730 Silver Member

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    Umm You earned most on the credit card and need cash. Cut up the card
     
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  16. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Yeah help me too I'm a college student like many others on here :rolleyes::):D
     
  17. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    :D
     
  18. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I wouldn't quite phrase it like that. You are gifting miles to family and they are gifting you cash. It's actually not such a bad system if you promise to help them find and book the award seats, too.

    Definitely don't try to sell the miles to a stranger. Then you're asking for trouble.
     
  19. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    I am not sure how your advice is different?
     
  20. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I would not call up a ticket agent and tell them I sold my miles to anyone, including my parents. However, I could very easily argue that I am gifting a pair of tickets to my parents and need the agent's help to book their seats. That would be harder with someone who has a different name and lives in a different city and may be wary about giving me his birthdate.
     
  21. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    If, when the traveler checked in for the flight, was asked how they got the ticket, and they responded that they PAID the OP for the miles, there would be a real problem. The response, if asked, needs to be that the OP GAVE the ticket to the traveler because they were friends. Airlines allow people to gift / give miles but it is not allowed to sell or transfer miles in exchange for cash.

    That is the difference.
     
  22. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    I think you misunderstood. I wasn't advocating a particular method, just that miles for tickets provide higher cash return that miles for merchandise.

    There is no difference as I did not say what you are implying I said. See response above.
     
  23. techguru
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    techguru Silver Member

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    I would say the issue is you can't technically sell your mileage, but I would value United miles at least 1.7 cents per mile or 140,000 x .017 or conservatively at $2380.00 worth of travel at a minimum with redemptions in J or F worth quite a bit more to Europe or Asia. That being said it is difficult to convert mileage into cash as there is a prohibition on selling miles. Perhaps you could redeem them for gift cards at a low rate of 1 cent a mile, but that is pretty horrid. But there isn't a legal method really to convert to "cash" per say. You could barter or exchange something of value other than cash perhaps?
     

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