I don’t think there’s more of a mileage faux pas than redeeming your hard earned miles for gift cards or merchandise. With saver level award availability seemingly more limited than ever before, airlines are offering more ways for you to redeem your miles, including for merchandise and gift cards.
For example, through the United MileagePlus Merchandise Mall, you can redeem 40,600 MileagePlus miles for Bose headphones that would retail for $300. That’s like getting less than three quarters of a cent of value per mile.
Or you can redeem Membership Rewards points for gift cards at the rate of one cent per point. Given how many great uses there are of Membership Rewards points, I couldn’t imagine redeeming points that way.
So this isn’t how you should redeem your points… but I also just advised Ford to redeem 150,000 airline points for gift cards. Let me explain.