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7 signs you need to cash in your rewards now

By Tony Mecia
Published: April 23, 2014

Some people collect baseball cards. Others favor classic cars or coins. But one item you should not hoard, experts say, is credit-card reward points.

It can be tempting to stockpile reward points and envision a far-flung, luxurious vacation someday, paid for with the trove of airline frequent-flier miles and hotel points you've gradually accumulated. 

But the reality of miles and points is that they are like other currencies that become less valuable over time. Not only can they expire, but the airlines, hotels and other companies that accept them are continually increasing how many you need to cash in to receive an award. Instead of collect and nurture, think earn and burn.

"It's like a car: You're holding onto a depreciating asset," says Matthew Kepnes, who blogs about budget travel at NomadicMatt. "The million miles you have today are not going to be worth the million you have tomorrow." 

But how do you know when to offload them? Check out the seven signs in the slideshow below.

See related: Redeeming 'impossible to use' British Airways miles, Delta changes award program; should you change your card?, As airlines merge, frequent flier miles decline in value