Video Sunday Reader Question: Is Paying to Redeposit Miles Worth It?

May 6, 2012

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TPG reader Mike asks a great question about the costs of redepositing unused frequent flyer miles:

“A few months ago my wife and I each redeemed 50,000 AAdvantage miles to book flights in June. Since then, for medical reasons, we’ve had to cancel our travel plans. American Airlines now gives us two choices: (1) we could use the tickets (assuming reward seats are available) to rebook the same itinerary, as long as we complete travel within 365 days of the date on which we originally made our reservations; or (2) we could each redeposit these miles into our respective AAdvantage accounts at a cost of $150.00 per account. We doubt that we will want fly the same itinerary anytime in the next year. But is paying $150 to redeposit 50,000 miles a good idea? Your thoughts, please.”

If you aren’t able to watch the video, then the short answer is: absolutely, yes. That’s because even though you’re paying $150 to get those miles back, you can still pull at least $250 worth of value (one cent per mile) out of them with a future redemption, so not redepositing them would actually be like throwing $100 away. If you redeem for international or premium rewards, that’s even more value.

However, there are a few ways to get around those fees:

-Elite status: If you’re an AAdvantage  Executive Platinum member, AA will waive those fees

-Patience: If you have some time before your flight, the airline might cancel the route, change your flights or itineraries, and that’s grounds for you to ask them to waive your redeposit fee. As long as it’s the airline making the change, you should be able to get your miles back without a fee, and if you have the time to wait and don’t need the miles immediately, see what happens.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
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Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.