By now I’m sure you have all heard that Alaska Airlines is offering their Mileage Plan members the ability to redeem 10k miles for TSA Precheck membership. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT ever, ever, redeem miles for anything but flights.

Seattle – Alaska Airlines is offering its frequent fliers a new way to redeem miles and save time at the airport. Beginning today through the end of April, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members can redeem 10,000 miles to waive the $85 application fee for five years of hassle-free travel with TSA Precheck.

Why? Because 10,000 Alaska Airlines miles are substantially more valuable than $85 USD, which is the cost of TSA Precheck.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines

My policy for redeeming miles is simple: always redeem them for flights in premium cabins (although there are exceptions to this rule, like British Airways Avios); but one should never redeem miles for merchandise, catalogues, lounge fees, etc. To simply put it, it is a horrible value.

Let me give you an example:

Say you want to redeem 65k Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1 cent-per-point ratio, you would end up with $650 USD towards merchandise or even cash back. However if you turn those points into miles, you would even be able to book a First Class award flight with minimal taxes/fees in select regions. For example, I recently converted 65k Chase UR points to United miles and booked Lufthansa First Class from Munich to Dubai – a flight that costs more than $8k USD!

The best uses of Alaska Airlines miles include First Class or Business Class travel on their amazing partners such as Cathay Pacific or Emirates. There are so many great uses of Alaska Airlines miles… but redeeming them for TSA Precheck is definitely not one of them.

Redeeming miles for anything other than flights is a waste of miles. Miles are such a valuable currency if you know how to use them and they can really allow you to see the world in ways that you normally wouldn’t.