Would we dare recommend that you use your precious miles and points for anything but airline travel and hotel redemption? Why yes… we just might.
Today I scooped up a copy of the most recent National Geographic Magazine – always an interesting read. I had a subscription a couple of years ago, but I didn’t renew and I’ve gotten my anthropologic fix from interesting bloggers and the occasional news article.
It got me thinking I needed another year’s worth of intriguing pieces on mapping the human genome, isolated cultures, and geologic wonders. At first glance, I couldn’t find a subscription for anything less than $15 a month (I know, see how cheap I am?). Then I remembered a little trick I pulled off a few years ago to keep alive the small balance of AA miles I had at the time. They require periodic activity – which doesn’t necessarily equate strictly to flying. I used some miles to sign up for a copy of Travel + Leisure, which, while it does contain a few nice pictures here and there, is really just a waste of paper. Unless, that is, you’re into all-inclusive resorts and Breitling watches (I’m not).
I thought I’d see what my miles would get me that would provide something deeper than airbrushed resort women and lists of hotels that I’d never cough up the money to stay in. While many, if not all, point programs have some kind of magazine program, we’ll isolate our focus to Delta and AA. It appears that they both use the same vendor, who’s probably losing money on your subscription in hopes that you’ll auto-renew. (I always set my www.google.com/calendar reminder to ensure that I don’t get burned on these kinds of things).
It’s really quite amazing just how cheaply you can score some really great magazine subscriptions. Here’s a link to the entire list, but I’ll list off my favorites:
- National Geographic Traveler 300 miles+$2
- Time (weekly) 1200 miles
- The Economist (weekly) 3200 miles
- Outside 800 miles
- Readers Digest 300 miles+$
There’s not an enormous list, but there are quite a few and chances are that you might find something you like.
The way I see it, these miles are so minimal, it’s not like you’re really inhibiting your ability to travel anywhere unless you’re inching towards one of the award ticket minimums. Also, As a general rule, I’d suggest that you use any Delta miles over AA miles, just because the redemption values are usually lower on AA.
Hopefully there are a few of you wanderlusters who were wanting a subscription to provide a monthly dose of daydreaming fodder.
We are still taking travel photo submissions for our contest. We’ll choose 10 photos to compete for a $100 Amex giftcard. We still haven’t even picked the 10, so hurry and post your photo to our Facebook page or email it to email@example.com.