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Can You Sell Airline Miles?

Alicia Adamczyk Feb 06, 2019. 2 comments

Let’s say you’re perusing the black market for some leaked passwords when you come across a trove of airline miles. “Interesting,” you think, “I also have some airline miles I’d like to sell! How do I go about doing that?”

It’s not illegal to sell the miles per se, according to CreditCards.com, assuming they belong to you. Cops aren’t going to knock down your door if you sell some miles to a guy on the internet. But it is risky and should be avoided:

If you want to offload the points to somebody you met over the internet, you have to actually buy the ticket for them and trust they will pay you back.

And since loyalty programs forbid selling or bartering points, if the airline catches you, they have the right to excommunicate you from their program, void your tickets and seek repayment.

Loyalty programs themselves forbid selling miles (authorized sites, like points.com, let you convert miles from one loyalty program to another). If you do sell them and are caught, you could be fined: One AAdvantage member was reportedly fined 500,000 miles last year for selling his over the course of several years.

That’s why, as CreditCards.com noted, in order to sell your miles, you’d have to buy the ticket for a stranger (or whoever you’re selling to) and have them send you the payment. If you’ve ever bought anything online from a rando, you know it’s not an ideal situation from a security standpoint . Scams abound—if they disappear with your miles, you’re out of luck. And even if it works out and you get your money, the airline could still punish you if it finds out.

“Increasingly sophisticated tools are being used to identify unusual activity (like pricey awards booked in the name of someone you don’t know), and your account could be shut down if you’re caught,” reports the Points Guy. “When that happens, you’ll likely come away with nothing, all your rewards will be forfeited.”

You can, however, share miles with a spouse or family member , depending on the program, without making a profit. Stick with that over the guy you met on Facebook Marketplace.


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