Can You Actually Use Your Frequent Flyer Miles?

You've been stockpiling all your frequent flyer miles, but can you actually use them when you want to? Time is out with a report that says maybe not.

The magazine says flyers trying to redeem miles for free domestic trips are finding it increasingly difficult to find space, especially this summer when carriers have cut back on their number of flights.

And if you do find an opening on the day you want to travel, you're likely to have to use more than the typical 25,000 miles. You may even have to use 50,000 miles for a roundtrip ticket.

The airlines only set aside a limited number of seats bookable with points, and on many popular routes these are gone months or even a year in advance, the magazine says.

Time tried to make reservations on American from New York to Los Angeles, for instance, and found not one 25,000 roundtrip award ticket in July, though a few seats were available in August. They found a similar result on Delta.

The magazine says frequent flyer rules appear to be changing, but also notes airlines have a right to set their own rules when it comes to frequent flyer benefits.

George Hobica, founded of, tells Time, "[Airlines] are implying that you'll be able to spend the miles. And that's just not happening."
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