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Airline Miles

Rabbi David SperlingTevet 25, 5778
87
Question
Is it Mutar to sell Airline Miles? Thank you.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. From my research it seems that there is no violation of any secular laws involved in selling of airline mile points. That is, there is no statute on the books stating any law to the effect that one is forbidden to trade in such points – unlike protected species, drugs, certain weapons etc, all of which have legal restriction on their sale. However, one receives the points, and can use them to attain airline tickets, through a contract entered into with the airlines. In that contract they forbid the sale of points for money or other benefits in return. To do so would not be illegal, but rather a breach of contract (which has pre-agreed penalties involved – the least of which is the nullifying of the mileage points). All this is according to secular law – where does it leave us from a religious standpoint? A person is obligated to stand by their word, and even more to fulfill the conditions of a contract they sign. It is considered as a grave sin to break a contract one has entered into. As such it would be forbidden to sell the miles. If however it is common practice, to the point that the airlines themselves allow such a practice, despite the fact that the contract indicates otherwise, there might be room for a leniency. This can be established by contacting the airline and asking them if they mind you buying or selling your points. (I am almost certain they will not tell you such a thing is permitted). So – bottom line – a person is obligated to abide by a legal and fair contract they entered into. As such, selling airline miles is forbidden. Blessings.
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