It’s easy to let a gift card go sour. You stuff it in a drawer or next to the dozens of other plastics in your wallet. That’s when the ‘ole “Out of sight, out of mind” phrase really gets ya. You completely forget about them, and by the time you remember, the gift card is expired!

Here’s a suggestion that’ll hopefully eliminate the frustration the gift card saga often brings, by bringing you closer to a dream vacation. Why not swap those gift cards for travel miles? So far, United Airlines is the only carrier doing it. They started it last year, revealing it as a “first-of-its-kind” endeavor.

If you’re enrolled in United’s Mileage Plus program, then you’re eligible. There are more than 100 stores from which United accepts gift cards, including Gap, Home Depot and Barnes & Noble. A $25 card will get you 1,000 frequent-flier miles! It’s OK to submit partially-used retail gift cards, too; just make sure they have at least $15 on it. You can find this out by registering the card on the company’s website.

It’s really simple to make the swap. After logging on to your United MileagePlus account, you can select the retailer and enter the gift card info. United will convert the balance to award miles and drop those miles into your account. Cha ching!

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