My husband travels quite a bit internationally. Last month he said, "Hey Karen, did you know I have 181,000 miles?" I instantly thought about, and my mind went cha-ching! allows you to manage your loyalty cards in one location. Currently, there are 97 loyalty cards being accepted, including 52 airlines, 4 financial, 14 hotel, and 25 retail. There are four options you can choose to do with your cards within the site once your balances have been linked.

  1. Trade: You can trade between other members to move points into, or out of a program. I recommend carefully reviewing the Trade Program rules to determine amounts you can move per year and possible associated fees. These vary by loyalty program.
  2. Exchange: This allows you to exchange between your own loyalty programs. I would again carefully review the exchange program rules.  For example, I could exchange 212 Best Buy Reward Zone points for 1000 American Airline miles.
  3. Buy: You can buy more points. These vary by program. This could be helpful if you know you are not using the program anytime soon to accrue more points, but are just short of a reward level.
  4. Give/Redeem: This is where I went. I already had the points I needed. So, I chose the Redeem portion to review all my different options including gift cards, subscriptions, or funds into a PayPal account.

If this a little overwhelming, don't worry. There is a demo on the site as well. It gives you a video tutorial showing you how to use the site and how to perform all of the options above.

Now that you understand how to use the site, let's look at how close are you to getting some great gift cards. It appears that the rate of exchange for points to gift card value is about 6300 miles for $25. Therefore, I would need around 25,000 points to get a $100 Best Buy, Crate and Barrel or maybe just a PayPal transfer. (Estimation based on American Airlines miles.)

You have to use some patience.  Redeeming your points for a gift card is a 2 step process. First you have to have the point value approved, which may take a few days. You then receive an email allowing you to finalize your gift card choice. You have to choose again in the final step. This is noteworthy especially if you change your mind during your impulse redemption wait period. About 7 days later your gift cards will arrive in the mail.  I redeemed my skymiles for a Best Buy gift card, getting myself a new IPad for FREE!

Not everyone has hundreds of points, but you might be surprised if you enter all the small amounts of your various cards into to see what you have all together. Good luck!

This has been a guest post by Karen from New Albany, OH
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Consolidate Your Loyalty Points: How My Skymiles Got Me a Free IPad