Maybe I should have gotten the iPad: Mags for Miles

The Rapid Traveler was away from NY for nearly five weeks and this pile of magazines greeted him on return:

Mags for Miles 002

These will bulk up his carry-on for Thanksgiving hot dogs in Chile, but barely dented his wallet as these and more were paid for with a pittance of miles. The major US airlines participate with Mag for Miles, and Priority Club also has a good selection in their program.  The selection and prices among airlines are mostly the same but there are variances and magazines come and go so The Rapid Traveler checks every month or so. New York Magazine and The Atlantic are especially flighty, and Bloomberg Businessweek only rarely surfaces at Priority Club. The Wall Street Journal is available for home delivery (not online access) and airlines’ websites often have additional newspaper options.

The airlines’ websites also have listings but sometimes there are more titles available on the Mag for Miles website and The Rapid Traveler has had no problems with redemptions from that website.

The values can be staggering. A print subscription to The Economist, and every traveler in first/business class should carry an issue as an accessory, runs US$126.99 but costs only 3,200 miles, a 3.9 cent/mile value. Values vary and various other promotions should be factored in, but overall these are high value and especially useful for utilizing small or surplus mileage balances.

There are some caveats. The most popular publications, like The Economist and The Wall Street Journal are for “new subscribers only” but you can rotate among family members. Also, some of the titles will auto-renew at full rates, so pay attention to the notices that come in the mail. Perhaps surprisingly, The Rapid Traveler has had decent customer service experiences, such as  address changes when he moved. Also, when declining auto-renewals, some titles offer partial extensions for a cash pittance.

For a few miles you can try something new. The Rapid Traveler got his first, and last, subscription to Time, but enjoyed some of GQ, like the excellent piece on travel to Iraqi Kurdistan. Golf Digest brought back memories of his high school days as a caddie.

Readers, what title have you tried and recommend from Mags for Miles?

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  • Steve K

    Of course they go for a pittance in miles. Print mags are losing their subscriber base, and with it the ability to attract advertisers at all, let alone at their formerly high prices. Many old favorites that used to run nearly 100 pages are now lucky to get 24. Newsweek recently sold for one dollar plus responsibility for the subscription liability (if you cancel, you get a partial refund; that’s carried as a balance sheet debt).

    At the rate their numbers of subscribers are dwindling, they should give us miles to subscribe.

  • Scottrick

    I subscribed for both The WSJ and The Economist last year (and several other publications). Look for offers that don’t require any co-payment (e.g., some require 1,000 miles + $5). Without a credit card, there’s no way to make an automatic charge for a renewal.

    The one downside was that none of my subscriptions came with online access, which is frequently included if you pay cash. I had previously made a habit of reading the entire WSJ the night before when it goes live at 9 PM PST. Fortunately I’m still a student, so the cost isn’t too much, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting an iPad for Christmas this year so that the online access will be quite useful.

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