Selling your airline miles to buy merchandise seems like a good idea at first. Your airline miles have a value just like currency, after all.
Maybe you really need that steel cookware or fitness equipment. But is it worth spending your hard-earned airline miles on merchandise?
Probably not. And here’s why.
Points value vs. value of the merchandise
In most cases, you don’t get the best value per point for your miles when you redeem them for merchandise.
Earning airline miles takes a long time and lots of shopping, which is quite expensive if you buy flights and hotels.
Don’t use your airline miles credit card if your only goal is to sell the miles for merchandise because you’re not getting a good deal.
While there’s no right or wrong way to use airline miles, there is definitely a smart way to use them. The goal is to maximize the value of your miles.
If you want to understand how airline miles work, check out this video:
Value of airline miles
Airline miles have an average monetary value between 1 to 2 cents USD. So, when you sell miles to purchase any kind of merchandise, you should look at the real value of the objects. Then consider how much value you can get if you sell the miles to buy flight tickets. The latter is the better option in the majority of cases.
Here are two reasons you should not sell the miles to buy merchandise:
The price of the merchandise purchased through airline miles loyalty programs does not reflect the true retail value of the objects in stores or online.
Most airline miles reward programs sell overpriced merchandise. For example, programs like United’s will allow you to redeem one cookware set for upwards of 80.000 points.
If a point is valued at roughly 1.5 cents, then you are spending upwards of $1200 for these pots and pans.
However, you can find good quality cookware set on Amazon for $400-500 or even less if it’s on sale.
The bottom line is that the price of the merchandise is not the true retail price and it’s way overpriced.
Redeeming airline miles for travel is the best way to get more value per point.
Let’s compare booking a flight using your airline miles versus buying a cookware set.
It costs about 25,000 airline miles to book a domestic one-way flight on American Airlines. It costs about the same number of miles to buy a $100 gift card for Target.
Which is the better deal?
Surely, buying an airline ticket without using miles will cost more money than that $100 dollar gift card. Some domestic flights cost upwards of 1000 dollars per round trip. Therefore, if you redeem airline miles for travel, you will maximize the value of the points.
Sell miles for cash and get real value for your airline points. Then you can use that cash to buy your favorite merchandise at bargain prices.