Shopping with Miles: Deal or No Deal?

Locations in this article:  Chicago, IL Denver, CO Los Angeles, CA Miami, FL New Orleans, LA Seattle, WA

Between air miles and co-branded credit cards, frequent flyer miles are pretty easy to earn. The real question is: how do you redeem all those miles? What about shopping with miles? The truth is, it’s in the airlines’ best interest to have members redeem miles for everything BUT flights. They are now increasing the amount of miles needed to redeem flights, and are pushing customers to spend their miles on magazines, gadgets, and other items.

Airlines keep a tight control over how many award seats they release—usually less than 10 percent of their inventory in a year. So, with all those leftover miles, it may seem worthwhile to spend them on shopping. But redemption for shopping can be worth only one tenth a cent per mile earned. When you use your miles for travel, the redemption rate is around 15 cents a mile. Let’s take a look at some of the items you can buy with your frequent flyer miles and decide, deal or no deal?

At the Delta SkyMiles Marketplace, you can spend 76,500 miles on the Little Giant® Xtreme™ 17 ft. Multi-Use Ladder. You would need to fly across the country over 15 times to get it, or you could purchase the ladder for $281.90 on Amazon.