One of the features I liked when I used Microsoft Money was the ability to track airline miles or points. I didn’t accumulate many, but it was good to see what I had available in one place rather than going to the individual airline websites.
I switched to Quicken and I was disappointed to find that there was no similar option. I was determined to find away to track miles, so I discovered a work-around. Here are four easy steps for setting up accounts within Quicken to track your airline miles.
Before you get started, make sure you have your most recent statement with your latest miles or points awards. By the way, you can click on any of the thumbnails below to zoom in on a screenshot.
By default, Quicken is configured to use only one currency. What we’ll do is enable multiple currencies so we can create one of our own to track miles. In the application menu, choose Edit → Preferences → Quicken Program. Select Calendar and currency on the left column, and place a checkbox next to Multicurrency support. Click OK.
In the application menu, select Tools → Currency List. In the currency list window, click New. For Currency Name, use Miles/Points (or your choice). For Symbol, enter Mi or any other unique currency symbol. You can leave Currency Code and Shortcut letter blank. For Mi per $, enter 100. This will value each mile at one cent, which may approximate the real value of miles or points. Click OK. Close the currency list window.
On the main “Quicken Home” screen, Click the button labeled “Add Account” on the sidebar. Your account isn’t held at a financial institution, so select that option and click Next. The application will prompt you to select a currency; select Miles/Points and click Next. The best type of account for airline miles is Asset, so choose Asset and click Next. Name the account “Eastern Airlines Dividend Miles” or the name of the particular loyalty program and click Next.
Check your latest statement and enter the statement date and balance as listed. Now you’ll be presented with the register for your new account.
Since it may be difficult to convert your points into real cash, you may wish to remove your airline miles account from being included in your net worth. If you wish to do so, click the “Customize” button in the sidebar to open the Account List. Scroll down to find your airline miles account listed under Assets. Place a check mark in the second box under the column heading “Don’t Include in Totals.” Click Close.
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for any additional points or miles programs you’d like to add. That’s it! You’re done. The only feature missing the ability to configure accounts to have zero decimal places, as airlines rarely credit an account a portion of a mile or point. Regardless, you can configure reports within Quicken to track your miles. There’s no way to use Direct Connect, Web Connect, or Automatic Web Update to synchronize your airline account with your provider, so all updates must be done manually.
Got any more Quicken tips? Leave them here or just say hi. Anyone who comments here will be entered to win a free copy of Quicken Basic 2007. Now you can use the free software to track rewards miles as well as your bank accounts and house values.
Updated April 5, 2011 and originally published February 15, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.