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Looking to Fly? Read These Tips for Redeeming Miles

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By Tom Parsons

airport_frequent_flyerMCT—When it comes to frequent-flier miles these days, you may find it easier to earn them than redeem them.

It used to be easy to find seats in coach class for 25,000 miles on domestic flights, but these days I find myself having to redeem 40,000 or 50,000 for a coach-class ticket.

When American started its frequent-flier program over 30 years ago, if you had 25,000 miles you could get any available seat on the aircraft, even the last seat, going anywhere in the country. Today it can be a headache to redeem miles for the lowest level.

Normally you can fly business-class to Europe for 100,000 miles out of gateway cities, and theoretically any city in America, but if you’re connecting, the airlines can demand an exorbitant amount of miles. For example, American’s gateway cities to Europe are Dallas/Fort Worth, New York, Chicago and Miami, and you can usually find 100,000-mile award seats from these cities. If you have to connect to one of these cities, though, you will probably have to use more miles.

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