Should You Buy a Ticket or Use Frequent Flier Miles?

Travelers that rack up frequent flier miles may be unsure of the better deal – should they use the miles or buy the ticket?  Sometimes it can pay just to make the purchase.


Thanks to a helpful piece from Melanie Pinola, there is an easy way.  Pinola cites the rate of 1.4 cents a mile, which can be used as a general rule of thumb.  Then, one is only a simple calculation away from determining which option is best:

  • Divide the price of the ticket by the amount of miles it will take to purchase the ticket.  Using miles is a good idea if the per-mile value is over 1.4 cents.  Pinola mentions that 1.2 cents can be used to take into account a “hassle cost.”

Is it that simple?  Perhaps not.  Airlines can vary on the value of a mile, so it is best to investigate your miles and then make the decision.  However, it can be worthwhile to apply a similar strategy to this tough decision.

You could also consider other relevant factors in your decision, such as whether your points might expire.  With UsingMiles, you can keep track of these items with ease – along with all of your other loyalty programs.  Feel free to contact us for more details.


Making the most of your frequent flier miles is very important.  Using tools like UsingMiles and the simple calculation mentioned prior, you can leverage the miles that you have earned over time.  With the right approach, you can capitalize on these opportunities and enjoy the benefits.

Make sure to track all of your loyalty programs on your UsingMiles dashboard!


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