selling airline miles

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    Is selling airline miles legal?

    I have alot of amex points which can be transferred to an airline. Is there any airline which allows the sale of miles?


    marbehshalom- I don’t think any airline allows it. You can give them as gifts, but not accept money for it. You can lose the rest of your points if an airline finds out that you sold points.


    Thete are companies which specialize in this. At least one is currently running ads on Yeshiva World.


    DaasYochid- you’ll notice that no one will put a name on such an ad. It is not against the law, which is why there are companies that do it. It is however against airline policy, which means you can lose your points if they find out.


    Gamanit, the one currently advertising publishes their phone # and address, and advertises “Fast | Legal | Reliable”.

    Another that I have seen advertise actually publishes the names of the owners.


    Interesting… I’ve never seen any addresses mentioned in these ads before, only cellphone numbers. I have heard of people losing their points…


    if the airline does not allow selling then it should constitute stealing and be assur from halacha and illegal as well?


    there must be some airline that was too stupid to not allow it?


    Gammit is correct, Its not really illegal, but Airlines do not allow it and if they find out they can disallow the ticket and cancel your account.

    You are allowed to GIVE your miles to someone , so that is the loophole these places use, you give a ticket to someone and that person will then pay you.

    Ive given a ticket to someone a few times, but I also flew with that person on the same flights so it did not raise a red flag, (Like you give your spouse or kids a ticket and fly with them or a friend and you fly somewhere together) however giving a ticket to someone and not flying with them does raise a red flag


    my concern has always been (and continues to be) the tremendous Chillul Hashem it will make when the airlines (or authorities) discover the system and our brazeness at feigning legitimacy (if it indeed is not) (and yes, I know exactly who will post next to argue the word legitimacy instead of taking the post for what it means)


    Syag Lchochma- airlines catch many people doing it. I don’t think it is more prevalent among us than among the general population. Airlines keep trying to figure out how to prevent it.


    Gamanit – stam selling miles, or making it into a business with advertising?


    From the FAQs page:

    Yes… It is Legal.

    Many airline mileage programs restrict the sale or trade of frequent flyer miles. However, you should know that there is no federal or state law prohibiting you from selling or trading your frequent flyer miles, Utah state law being the exception. Therefore, provided that the necessary precautions are taken, the sale and transfer of your miles can be a safe and secure procedure.

    Cash 4 Miles goes to great lengths to ensure that each transaction is discreet and secure. Our top priority is safeguarding your account. Our highly qualified representatives screen all of our prospective buyers before they purchase, and are exceedingly vigilant when contacting the airlines. You can be assured that your account is always protected.

    This does not seem right. If it’s against airline policies, then presumably you agreed to their terms, and are breaking your contract with them. There is no federal or state law forcing the airlines to disallow sale of miles, but it should still be illegal if the terms of agreement are not followed.


    i assume its assur to break hte t & c of a company and he who flies with such aa ticket is over on gezel.

    so my question is as follows …..

    there must be one airline out there which their t & c do not outlaw selling miles ans i would like to transfer all my amex points there.


    After further research, I’m not so sure. It seems that except for the state or states which outlaw selling miles, the airlines have no right, legally, to stop the consumer from selling miles. They do have a right to penalize the consumer, but it’s still perfectly legal to sell them, although they have a right to confiscate your miles and/or throw you out of the program. Sort of a legal cat and mouse game.


    DY- I hope your right cuz then i can make some much needed money. Can you please tell me what are you basing your psak that they have no right to restrict you from selling miles? are you an attorney?


    “Don’t ask don’t tell”


    are you an attorney?

    If you don’t mind, I’d rather not say, MS. Even were I to say that I am an attorney, as an anonymous poster, I wouldn’t have ne’emanus, and you would need to do your own research anyhow.

    I would advise you to speak to a rov you trust, who deals in Choshen Mishpat shailos. He may very well have already done the legal research, or will. It’s probably a common shailah.

    “Don’t ask don’t tell”

    Chas v’shalom. Do ask.

    YW Moderator-42

    You seem to be equating airline miles with amex points. Even if the airlines don’t allow you to sell miles, what is stopping you from transferring your amex points into someone else’s airline account? You aren’t selling airline miles, you are selling points that happen to turn into miles. (Though if airlines have rules against this I assume amex does as well).

    That being said, it seems to me that a lot of people are doing this business nowadays. The airlines aren’t dumb, they most probably know that it is going on and are allowing it to happen. From a technical standpoint it shouldn’t be that hard for them to detect it with all the technology nowadays. If they wanted to stop it, they most probably would.


    42, Our highly qualified representatives screen all of our prospective buyers before they purchase, and are exceedingly vigilant when contacting the airlines. You can be assured that your account is always protected.

    This sounds to me like the miles brokers need to keep the information from the airlines.


    dy- the rov i asked was not aware of any legal research, and thererefor his psak was based on what he knew. so if you can share with me what legal info you are privy to, that would bring this issue undera different light.


    here is sometihng i found in google.

    Mar 29, 2010

    The high court on Monday refused to lift a temporary injunction against Frequent Flyer Depot, Inc. A lower court judge had banned the company from working with American Airlines AAdvantage points while the airline’s lawsuit against the brokers was going through the court.

    American Airlines says Frequent Flyer Depot’s practice of getting American’s passengers to sell them their frequent flyer points is illegal. The brokers would then use the points to buy tickets for people who did not want to deal directly with American Airlines.

    American says the AAdvantage program prohibits the selling of its frequent flyer points.

    The brokers say buying an airline ticket from them is cheaper than buying it from American. They also say that the AAdvantage program is not a contract under which the airline can sue.

    The case is Frequent Flyer Depot v. American Airlines, 09-815.

    it would seem tha the courts have no way of pressing charges but that doesent mean its not stealiing

    if you had a country which did not press charges against realy burglary. would it mean you break in to s/o’s house.—obviously not.

    so just because the courts dont fine you deosent mean they authorize it.


    breaking a contract isn’t stealing.

    We have plenty of laws that make illegal all sorts of stuff, like larceny, larceny by trick, robbery, embezzlement, burglary, etc. None of those include breaking a contract.

    The idea that it is stealing to break a contract is lunacy, and would violate the 13th amendment which prohibits slavery. If I make a contract to paint your house, and then my son is getting married that day–I am forced to paint your house anyway? No, I break the contract, you sue me, and I pay damages if any. But that’s a civil suit–not a criminal action!!


    if you had a country which did not press charges against realy burglary. would it mean you break in to s/o’s house.—obviously not.

    I assume by that you mean would I break and enter the dwelling of another in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony within. I would not.


    Popa, we would hope not. What I think might be a better example of what marbehshalom means, is, would you embezzle money from your company if it were legal.

    I think there still might be a difference here; you are selling what is yours, you are just violating the t&c.


    dy – miles are not b’etzem yours. it’s just a z’chus to collect a flight ticket when certain conditions are met.

    if you take an airline ticket when the conditions arent met 1:e selling miles then you are collecting a ticket not in accordance with whar your original zchs of miles was.


    Except that if the law (dina d’malchusa) recognizes that you could sell your miles, that essentially means that it recognizes your right to transfer that z’chus.


    did you see what i posted earlier.?? it seems that the law is not clear.

    and even if you cant be prosecuted it doesent mean that the dina dimalchusa actually permits it . they just dont prosecute the violators


    did you see what i posted earlier.?? it seems that the law is not clear.

    I don’t see that.

    and even if you cant be prosecuted it doesent mean that the dina dimalchusa actually permits it . they just dont prosecute the violators

    Is your distinction between civil law and criminal law? Because it isn’t illegal or immoral to do things that result in civil causes of action. Like my example with the contract.


    did you see what i posted earlier.??

    Yes. You cited a case from 3-4 gears ago which was about holding off a temporary injunction against a broker from doing business while the lawsuit was ongoing. More germane to the discussion would be the outcome of the underlying case. Was Frequent Flyer Depot barred from brokering rewards? I can’t tell you for sure, but I can say that they seem to still be in business; there’s a website with that name, owned by George Pirkle, who was listed in the lawsuit you mentioned. They claim to buy airline rewards points.


    thank you all

    i am moving on to s/t else


    the fact of the matter is that if an airline catche syou selling miles , they will shut you down and forfeit all your miles.

    i would think that major airlines would not break the law and they and their legal panel seem to hold that they are legally allowed to prevent you from selling miles.


    The airlines maintain that points, mileage or whatever you want to call it, is related to the fare of a flight. When the airline industry was deregulated, congress agreed that they would not regulate fares. Ergo, the airlines argue congress can not pass any law that impacts points or miles either. they maintain it is a contract between the airline and member of program subject to whatever terms and conditions they place on their programs. Whether this argument is true or not is something the supreme court considered I believe during the “Ginsburg vs Northwest Et Al” case it heard last year. Perhaps some lawyer has access to the decision and how they ruled.





    to a poshuter yid: so basically the airlines are stealing when they close down someone’s mileage account. except they cant be prosecuted since there was a deregulation. but good faith laws really allow you to sell miles.

    am i understanding you correctly?


    “so basically the airlines are stealing when they close down someone’s mileage account.”

    That was I believe a portion of the claim in Ginsburg vs Northwest

    “except they cant be prosecuted since there was a deregulation.”

    You misunderstood a portion of the claim made by the airlines. They argue that due to deregulation there are no applicable laws (since they argue this is related to the fare)that they violated and therefore the case doesnt belong in court. the airlines won this argument at the first level, a state court of appeals overturned the lower court and the case made its way to the supreme court.

    “but good faith laws really allow you to sell miles.”

    Part of the Ginsburg argument is that in his particular case the airline violated good faith laws of his home state.

    “am i understanding you correctly?”

    No, and you are not understanding the Ginsburg case either. It had nothing to do by the way with selling miles.

    I dont know how the supreme court ruled on each of the arguments that were presented, as there were several points of law that were being argued, including the one relevant to your original question, specifically, are the rewards/points programs considered a component of the fare, or not. I do know that the supreme court ruled against Ginsburg.


    thanks poshuter yid….

    so am a little confused

    there are many companies out there in the public who will sell you’re miles.with their real names on the company … they arent afraid of going to jail. this would indicate that it is legal. (no none sells drugs openly on the internet with their names listed.)

    however, the airlines with their haskama of their lawyers are conficating miles form people who sell.

    les dinav’les dayna?

    whats going on



    There is a din and there is a dayan. I dont know the din, or how the dayanim ruled regarding airlines miles programs.

    As for advertising things that are illegal, those who are in this business claim it isnt illegal.


    dy- you arent helping my confusion.

    unless my intewligence is low , you havent explaines me


    It is legal to sell miles. It is also legal for the airline to confiscate them or throw you off the program if they catch you.

    That is the din because that’s what the dayan said.


    DY–which dayan has said that?


    when you sell miles you use a broker who can transfer your miles to somebody in new zealand..
    you can sell asia miles to a gut in new zealand .
    so im not sur e if you are goverened by us law or maybe new zealand law.
    the transaction is happening in cyber space .
    so which law are you usubject to?



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