Use or Lose

Tis the season not only for merriment and high spirits, but also for making sure all of your end of the year checklist items are complete.  On the professional front, employers send out the friendly reminders to employees take leave to make that their leave balances do not exceed the allowable carryover limit for the following year.  Flexible spending vendors send reminders to their patrons to make sure that any available funds in their accounts are exhausted before the 11:59p.m. on 31 December.  Other individuals rush to make those last-minute charitable donations in support of their 2014 tax deductions.  So, while you review those last-minute details on your end of the checklist and prepare for 2015, it is important that you check all of your frequent flyer and loyalty rewards programs to ensure that your points and miles are still intact.  The last thing you want to find out is that there are no points or miles expiring due inactivity.

There is nothing worse than accumulating hundreds of thousands of miles and tens of thousands of loyalty reward points, only to have a program change their terms and take away some (or all) of your mass accumulation.  But, before you decide to be frivolous with your points and miles, take a moment to decide what would give you more bang for your buck.  Do you have a trip planned, but hotels in the area are overly priced?  Consider using cashing in some points or miles.  Need an economy rental vehicle, but the daily rate is $75 or more per day (yes, kinda ridiculous, but I have actually seen that figure before), consider using some your miles or points.  Do you have that once in a lifetime trip to Australia planned and want to say a few dollars, this would be the time to definitely cash out.

No matter what you decide, make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations for your various programs so that you do not end up losing your precious miles and points.  I

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