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

May 6, 2012

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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are available) to rebook the same itinerary, as long as we complete travel within 365 days of the date on which we originally made our reservations; or (2) we could each redeposit these miles into our respective AAdvantage accounts at a cost of $150.00 per account.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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.