Frequent-Flyer Miles Strategy

Starting in July, some airlines will start charging you when you use frequent-flyer miles to upgrade a ticket-in some cases up to $500!

Consumer Report shows us why sometimes it's better to pay cash!

Consumer Reports crunched the numbers and found it's a waste to use your miles on certain flights.

"It's only really worth it to use frequent-flyer miles on flights that cost $300 or more," said Consumer Reports Greg Daugherty.

Unfortunately, taking a trip with frequent-flyer miles is still a real challenge.

According to, travelers are most likely to have success redeeming miles with Midwest Airlines at 69%, followed by US Airways at 67%.

In order to get the flight you want, Consumer Reports says book early and have flexible travel dates.

And if you don't have enough miles to travel, most airlines allow family and friends to transfer miles to one another.

But that can cost you, so be sure to check the airline's rules.

And what happens to your miles if the airline goes bankrupt?

"If it's a major carrier, your frequent-flyer program will probably be bought by another major airline and you won't lose your miles. So it usually makes sense to join the big carriers' programs," said Daugherty.

With frequent-flyer programs, if you want to get a seat on a domestic flight without worrying about blackout dates or getting bumped, you can use twice the usual miles.

Consumer Reports says this option only makes sense if the airfare is over $600.

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