Chances are if you have a frequent-flyer account, you’ve probably seen that message, or something like it, in your email inbox.
Few things last forever, including airline miles, but keeping your miles available may not be as difficult as you think. There are a lot of ways to keep your account active, and though I’m not an expert on all the tricks of the trade, here are some things I’ve learned about one option: MagsforMiles:
MagsforMiles (or Magazines for Miles) offers one of the cheapest ways to create account activity, at least for these airlines: Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, Spirit, United, and US Airways. For as few as 500 miles, you can get a year’s subscription to a wide variety of magazines.
While some think that you need to clean out all your miles before they expire, you simply have to show some kind of activity—just spend or add as few miles as possible. That means one subscription with MagsforMiles will do.
According to MagsforMiles FAQ page, you should wait 6-12 weeks for the first issue of your subscription to be delivered. Save the reply email you get showing that your order is being processed so you’ll know the order date and magazine name in case you need to follow up later.
Don’t wait until the last minute. The required amount of miles will be taken out of your account within 2-4 weeks, and it could possibly take up to 6 weeks. This is important to remember, as you’ll not be able to redeem your miles on the last day of the deadline. I found this out when I got a postcard in the mail saying that MagsforMiles couldn’t fulfill my order because there were insufficient miles in my account. That was because after the deadline passed, the airline zeroed my account before MagsforMiles could take out the miles they needed.
MagsforMiles has a customer service page, but when I called their number, all I got was an automated help line. This didn’t help me a lot, since the magazine subscription I was checking on wasn’t in the system, since it hadn’t been fulfilled.
If, like me, you do your best and your miles get cancelled anyway, all is not lost. Call the airline and explain your situation. In my case, they called MagsforMiles (I assume they talked to a real person) and then gave me back all my miles as a one-time courtesy. I’m not sure how far you could go with that, but even if you miss the deadline with no really good excuse, it would be worth the call to see if the same policy would apply.
After all’s said and done, with MagsforMiles you’ll save your miles and you’ll get some pretty good magazines. Some, like Afar, Coastal Living, and Condé Nast Traveler can even make you feel as if you’re traveling from the comfort of your own easy chair. (OK. I know. It’s not the same, but it’s better than nothing.)
Nothing beats a good inflight magazine. It’s kind of hard for me to read a book on a flight, maybe because I’m too easily distracted, and I fall asleep too easily. But magazines . . . that’s different. I love the photos of exotic foods, the stories about eccentric locales, the ads for ridiculously expensive watches. Some time ago, I went on the internet to see if any international airlines offered free subscriptions for their magazines. I didn’t find any, but I did discover that several offer them online. Then, when I searched some more, those several turned into a whole lot. So I put together this list (English-language only) and tracked down the links. I’d love to have them all spread out on my coffee table, but since that’s not going to happen, this is the next-best thing. (And in case you think your seat-back pocket is still missing something, I know what it is. What inflight library would be complete without a copy of SkyMall?)