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Checking In With Susan Koeppen: Business Analyst Tells Consumers To Use Gift Cards 'As Quickly As Possible'

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- If you have a gift card left over from the holidays, "go ahead and use it, as quickly as possible," says CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger.

With the uncertainty over whether or not your favorite store or restaurant will survive the pandemic and stay open, Schlesinger says it's a good idea to start cashing in gift cards.

"The money is already spent. You might as well get your money's worth right now while you know the cards still have value," she said.

If you have airline miles but have no plans to travel, Schlesinger says you may want to consider turning those in for something other than a plane ticket.

"Many of them have magazine subscriptions or you can get other things with your miles," she said.

Some credit card companies let you trade in your rewards points for cash, credit to your account, or you can use the rewards to get gift cards to stores where you shop often.

And at least one insurance company, Erie Insurance is offering gift card reimbursement coverage at no extra cost to some policies.

Coverage provides reimbursement for up to $250 per card purchased at businesses within 100 miles of the customer's residence if the business permanently closes within a year after the purchase of the gift card. The gift cards must be from local, independently owned and operated businesses.

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