United Airlines today introduced a new program where MileagePlus members can convert their retail gift cards with balances of $25 or more into award miles. More than 60 retailers are participating and according to the FAQs, mileage “rates are determined by market pricing, which is affected by several factors.”
I have a $25 Target gift card, so decided to plug it in just to see what type of offer United would make.
The offer of 670 miles for my $25 card was more than I was expecting and it comes out to a rate of 26.8 miles per dollar, but is slightly worse than the 28.6 miles per dollar you can get by purchasing miles outright (not taking into consideration the 7.5% excise tax for MileagePlus Personal Miles). The amount is likely scaled based on the value of the gift card in question, so I’m curious to know how higher value cards would fare.
The benefit of this program is subjective, in my opinion, as it depends on whether or not you’d personally get more for your dollar redeeming gift cards as they are originally intended. Still, though, it’s a nice offering if you receive a gift card from someone for a store where you wouldn’t normally be inclined to shop.
Do any of my readers have a gift card they’re willing to plug in and then leave a comment with the mile/$ rate offer?