Thursday, January 20, 2011

Managing Your Points & Miles

Managing your miles and points can become a chore if you allow it to. Monitoring your individual account as well as the accounts of multiple family members can lead to aggravation and, if you are not diligent, expiration of miles.

There are an estimated 10 trillion unused frequent-flyer miles currently in circulation, worth some $165 billion. Industry experts estimate that 20% of these miles will never be redeemed. That is a significant number of unredeemed miles.

So how can you keep track of your multiple miles and points accounts? There are several websites available that will simpify the process for you. The prices range from free to $15 per year to whatever you want to pay.

The FGT Staff utilizes Award Wallet to track miles and points. This site isn't perfect, but it offers most of the key features you will need. You can enter accounts for multiple people. The main page neatly shows all your accounts, with miles for each. But Award Wallet will show expiration dates for only three accounts unless you upgrade to a paid membership. How much is a paid membership? Whatever you want to pay.

No matter which service you pick, prepare yourself for some data-entry work at the outset. You'll need your account numbers and passwords. If you haven't already set up online access to your frequent-flier accounts, you'll have to do that first. Still, this definitely falls into the spend-time-to-save-time category. Once you've got your information entered, you can kick back and let the service do the work.

Now, rather than worrying about how many frequent-flier miles and hotel points we have, we can start thinking about where we will be going on our next Frugal Golf Adventure.

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