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I redeemed frequent flyer miles on an airline that may go bankrupt. What are my options?

Dear Anita,

In light of the recent terrorist attacks, a lot of speculation is going on about certain airlines going bankrupt. I recently redeemed 70,000 frequent flier miles for two airline tickets to Hawaii with US Airways for April of next year...now I'm hearing they may go under. What can I expect for my tickets if this happens?

Thanks.

Donna R.
Columbia, SC
 

Dear Donna,

Because US Airways does not fly to Hawaii, you must have redeemed your miles (for the Hawaii segments at least) with US Airway's frequent flier partner Northwest Airlines. US Airways and Northwest, like many other airlines, are experiencing financial hardships after the terrorist attacks on September 11. It is unclear which airlines and how many of them will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or go out of business.

If you are worried about your US Airways' Dividend Miles, there are a couple of strategies that you could use to save your miles. First, you could redeem all your current miles on partner airlines that are stronger fiscally. You could use the tickets, or when/if things return to normal, you can redeposit your miles back into your Dividend Miles account for a fee.

Second, if you do not want the hassle of redeeming miles on partner airlines, you might consider Privilege Flyer's AwardGuard program, which acts like frequent flier insurance. AwardGuard has been in business a little over ten years, protecting frequent flier members against losing their miles and points due to bankruptcy or expiring miles. AwardGuard covers most major frequent flier programs. Protection costs $119 per person for one year and $79 for each additional family member. For more information, visit Privilege Flyer online at http://www.privilegeflyer.com/.


I hope I've been helpful. Happy travels!

Anita Dunham-Potter

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