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Best Ways to Redeem Frequent-Flier Miles
CNBC.com | December 01, 2008 | 09:21 PM EST

Frequent-flier miles are easy to earn – from swiping your credit card at the local grocery store to buying your next vacation – but tough to spend. Now that points have become so plentiful, there are simply more people chasing fewer seats. Plus, you’ve got airlines adding fees when you cash in miles and chopping off a year or more on their expiration dates.

But that doesn’t mean the golden days of frequent-flier miles are over. You just have to think outside the box and do a little extra work to beat the system, says New York Times travel columnist Michelle Higgins . You can start by setting up online alerts. Yapta.com just introduced a new feature that alerts travelers when a frequent-flier award seat becomes available on the flight they want. Just do a normal online search for airfare on the site and click ‘include award tickets’ to begin tracking the flight. Yapta will automatically send alerts to your email if the price drops or an award sear opens up (so far, award-seat alerts are offered for five major airlines: Alaska, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways). ExpertFlyer.com offers a similar service but there is a $10 per month fee.

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