For years, selling miles for cash has been a gray area — legal, but a violation of the terms of the frequent flyer programs.
But now Points.com, the company that lets you switch miles from one program to another, for a fee, has partnered with Paypal, which effectively converts miles to cash.
Since airlines have to agree to participate in Points.com, those “legal” hurdles are out of the way. It’s perfectly legit now to make the switch to cash.
Participating airlines at this point are few and far between, but a few biggies are in there: American Airlines AAdvantage, Air Canada Aeroplan, and US Airways Dividend Miles are the only players, so far.
The biggest problem is the actual value proposition: They’re terrible. Don’t expect big cash payouts.
If you want to get $100 cash, you’ll need 17,734 Air Canada Aeroplan miles, 24,118 American Airlines AAdvantage miles, or a mind-boggling 120,589 US Airways Dividend Miles.
120,589???! For $100??? Are you freaking kidding me? That’s a business class flight to South Asia. That’s three coach tickets to Hawaii. That’s … worth well more than $100.
The other airlines’ options are not much better. AC miles come to 0.56 cents per mile. AA miles are worth 0.44 cents per mile. And US miles… 0.083 cents per mile. That’s insane.
While, in theory, it’s nice to see more choices for redeeming miles, there’s no way on earth I’m participating in this.