Tuesday, November 6, 2012

United Mileage Plus Merchandise Awards

There's no such thing as a bad award.  Well, as long as you are receiving more value from your miles than you expected.  Since the value of a mile different for each person (here’s my perspective on the value of a frequent flyer mile), there’s no global minimum value of a redemption for it to be good or bad.  Miles are like money and people won’t spend either on what they view as a bad value.  Some bloggers are adamant that merchandise awards are bad value and should be avoided.  They are less valuable than award flights in most cases, but that shouldn’t be taken as being a bad value. 
United Merchandise Awards Mailed Catalog
A colleague spent 50,000 United miles on a $400 watch and was pleased with the value he got from his miles.  Yes, he could have used 50,000 miles for two award tickets, each worth more than $400, but he would never buy just two tickets because he heads a family of 6 in Salt Lake.  Since his oldest kid is 6, he needs to fly direct to keep his sanity, so he flies Delta.  A nice watch sounded like a much better idea than a connection in Denver.  In absolute terms, not the best value, but in his mind it was an outstanding deal.

Update: United ran a sale on a Tumi carry on bag and I bought one.  I'm delighted with the bag and the value I received from my miles.

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