A gift registry for frequent flyer miles? Why not!
That, at any rate, seems to be the thinking behind United’s new MileagePlus Gift Registry.
As the recipient, you set up a personal registry with award goals, desired travel dates, and so on. When finished, you’ll have created a custom registry landing page.
Next, you refer family and friends to your registry page. The service helpfully includes social media and email widgets to help you get the word out.
And finally, assuming they’re willing (see below), your friends either buy United miles for your account or transfer miles from their own accounts to yours.
There’s a maximum of 500,000 miles per registry per calendar year. There’s also a minimum of 20,000 miles, although the website neglects to disclose what happens if contributions fall below that threshold.
Good Execution, Bad Value
United has done a commendable job of setting up the registry mechanism. It’s slick and easy to use. But in the end, would-be gift givers still must consider the costs of the miles. And there’s nothing commendable about them.
At the standard rate of $35 per 1,000 miles, plus 7.5 percent excise tax, givers are being asked to buy miles at more than 3.5 cents apiece. My current rule-of-thumb calculation for the average value of a frequent flyer mile is 1.2 cents. So you’re overpaying by a factor of three.
The cost to transfer miles, at $15 per 1,000, may seem less onerous at first glance. But remember that these are miles you already paid to earn in the first place.
So from a purely financial standpoint, there’s a decidedly lipstick-on-a-pig aspect to this. At least from the buyer’s standpoint.
From the recipient’s standpoint, however … what’s that expression about looking a gift horse in the mouth?
Reader Reality Check
Does this appeal to you as a gift giver? As a gift receiver?
Other Posts of Interest
- British Airways 100,000-Mile Credit Card Bonus Ends July 18
- JetBlue Adds Emirates to TrueBlue Partner Roster
- American Adds Canada’s WestJet as Mileage-Earning Partner
- Membership Rewards to Lose Another Transfer Partner
- Earn Delta Miles for Debit Card Purchases
- US Airways Packages, Sells Airport Elite Perks
- Earn 30 Miles Per $1 or More for Mother’s Day Flowers
- British Air and Hawaiian Air Awards Are Now Bookable on AA.com
- Earn More American Miles for Qantas Flights
- Convert Credits Between Southwest, AirTran Programs
- Alaska Airlines Credit Card Comes with Bigger Bonus
- AAdvantage Members Have a New Credit Card Option
- New from United: the MileagePlus Club Credit Card
- Redeem Virgin America Points for International Award Flights
- Join Best Western Rewards to Earn a Southwest Bonus
- New Aeroplan Award Option: Music &amp; Other Digital Media Downloads
- Exchange Your Gift Cards for United Miles
- Alaska Airlines Adds Emirates to Mileage Plan Lineup
- Are Taxable Frequent Flyer Miles in Your Future?
- When Should Hotels Announce Upcoming Promotions?
- Q&amp;A: What’s an American AAdvantage Member to Do?
- Got Elite Status? United Will Match It
- Renew Elite Status from American, for a Price
- Do Discounted Frequent Flyer Miles Rate a ‘Buy’?
- Psst, Wanna Buy American Airlines?
- Where Do My Miles Go If American Goes Bankrupt?
- Which Airline Programs Are the Most (and Least) Generous?
Stay in Touch