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Today’s Hint: Use About-to-Expire Airline Miles to Buy Your Babies & Kids Stuff

You can often find my daughter playing with her very snazzy “My Busy Town” activity cube from Alex Jr. While the wooden activity center costs about anywhere from $50 to more than $100 depending on where you purchase it, I got it for free, well essentially free since I used airline miles to buy it.

With airlines making it increasingly harder to redeem miles for flights, today’s hint is to consider using airline miles (and credit card points, for that matter) to buy baby and kid gear from strollers to play kitchens, especially when your miles are about to expire and you need to reset the expiration clock.

That’s precisely what I did earlier this year when I got an email from United Airlines saying my miles were going to expire if there wasn’t any activity in my MileagePlus frequent flier account by the end of May. Since we didn’t need any airline tickets, I went to the MileagePlus program’s shopping portal, where I found a slew of baby and kids products from popular brands like Melissa and Doug, Alex Toys and Fisher Price, including just the type of activity center I had been planning to eventually buy (Delta has a similar portal here).

So figuring that miles are like free money and that these United miles were going to expire if I didn’t buy something, I didn’t worry about point exchange ratios or balk at the activity center’s high mileage tag. Instead, I hit the order button. About 12,000 miles and a few weeks later, my daughter had a new destination: “My Busy Town.”

What have you bought your kids using miles? What do you recommend buying with about-to-expire airline miles?

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  1. […] First, if you fly Delta Airlines, you are in luck. Delta moved all of its SkyMiles to a “no expiration date” policy several years ago. Most other domestic airlines have 18-month expiration policies. But you can still keep your miles active for minimal effort with the many choices that are now offered for spending or earning miles. Many airlines have shopping portals where you can buy a magazine subscription or a digital download of a song for a nominal number of miles.  Hint Mama herself has even used miles to buy her little one that perfect (albeit expensive) toy. […]

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