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On my way through Newark Airport recently, I saw something that makes many miles and points enthusiasts cringe:
And Million Mile Secrets reader, lennygale, commented on Instagram wanting to know, “Why not?”
Lennygale, while many folks do redeem their miles this way, you can get a LOT more from your points by using them for travel. I’ll explain!
Why Using Miles to Buy Merchandise Is a Bad Idea
During the holidays you may be tempted to use your United Airlines miles (and other airline miles & hotel points) to buy the latest gadgets or household items for your loved ones.
Redeeming your miles and points this way will greatly reduce their value.
So if you purchase the TV, you’ll only get a value of ~0.6 cents per United Airlines mile (~$1,000 retail cost of TV / 163,100 United Airlines miles).
You can do a whole lot better than 0.6 cents per United Airlines mile!
Get Much More Out of Your Miles by Using Them for Travel!
160,000 United Airlines miles can get you 2 round-trip Business Class flights to Hawaii!
This trip would otherwise cost ~$4,000, giving you a value of 2.5 cents per mile (~$4,000 cost of paid flights / 160,000 United Airlines miles)!
Or get a round-trip First Class flight to Asia.
A First Class round-trip flight from the US to Tokyo can cost ~$7,000! So you’ll get an excellent value of ~4.4 cents per mile (~$7,000 cost of paid flight / 160,000 United Airlines Miles)!
You can redeem your United Airlines miles for merchandise like televisions, laptops, clothing, and home goods, but I don’t recommend it! That’s because these kinds of redemptions will give you an extremely poor value.
Instead use your miles for travel and explore new cities, meet new people, and try new foods! Check out my Beginner’s Guide for more details about how to earn miles and points quickly for Big Travel!