Sunday, January 31, 2010

Empty Miles

You're probably familiar with the term "empty calories." Those are calories that have no nutritional value. Well, there are such things as "empty miles." These are miles that simply don't have value once you net out their cost. You can find these primarily at the car rental counter. Many rental agencies are now tacking on a "tax" for frequent flyer miles or credits. Some of these charges are $1 per day. So, let's say you rent for 5 days and get 5x50=250 miles for your rental, but you paid $5 to the car rental company. Unless you value the miles at more than 2 cents apiece, you're not coming out ahead. The solution - well, actually there are 2. First, read "Rental Car-bitrage" to see what the Greekquent Flyer does with Qantas. Second, get your credit retroactively, i.e., don't give a mileage program number when you rent the car. Instead, mail in a copy of your rental receipt - the agencies don't charge you their "tax" retroactively. Ka-ching!

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