Sunday Reader Question: What to Do With Leftover British Airways Miles

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TPG reader Jane writes:

“I really enjoy your newsletters/blog and was able to spend a month in Africa with my husband last May courtesy of British Air miles and thanks to the information you provided.  I do not anticipate using them for travel in the near future however, and just got the Chase Sapphire card, already have lots of Capital One miles, lots of AA miles, etc

I have 15,900 miles left in my BA account (spent extra by accident) which I would like to do something with but can’t find a way to transfer them or even just buy gift cards with.  Do you have any suggestions?  The upcoming Nov. 16 changes in their program may not affect me with this meager amount of miles but it would be a shame to waste them.  Donating them to troops would be better than letting them sit.

A friend of mine has 60,000 left over in her BA account and was wondering what she could do with hers also.  She too, is a big fan of yours.”

First things first, while I’ve written about a devaluation in British Airways miles, I want to stress that the entire program isn’t horrible. It’s just the stellar redemptions we’ve come to love so much (Lan South America jaunts and Asia on Cathay) that will likely increase significantly.

You can still use BA miles for American Airlines domestic awards and in fact many of them may come down if they do go to distance based awards for those of us in North America. Some awards may come down significantly.

My best advice is to just hold on to your points and use them for any upcoming trips – especially since you can instantly top them up using the points earned from your Sapphire Preferred card.

British Airways miles currently expire after 36 months of inactivity. There are many ways to keep them active and reset that clock, including transferring Ultimate Rewards or Amex points. I’d recommend signing up for Award Wallet because they will alert you if any of your miles are going to expire.

So basically, hang on them and use them when you need a last minute flight. Those 15,900 miles can save you hundreds of dollars if you use them smartly!

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