Continental/ United- New Way to Use Miles: MileagePlus Merchandise Awards

I received an e-mail earlier today from Continental regarding the new Merchandise Awards redemption option.

Here is the message:
Hello Michael,
Create lasting memories with miles.
Did you know that you can redeem your reward miles for exciting merchandise? Visit the all new Merchandise Awards® and reward yourself or someone you care about.

It is definitely great to have more options when it comes to redeeming miles but from the browsing I did on Merchandise Awards, it seems like all of the items are WAY over-priced. The prices also vary per user. At the top of the page it says- You may be eligible for a lower mileage price. Please be sure to log in to see if you qualify. I logged in and did qualify for the lower mileage price but they were still not a good deal.

To show an example of pricing on Mileage Awards, I will use the iPad 2.
I can buy a 16gb iPad 2 from Apple for $499. From Merchandise Awards a 16gb iPad 2 is 107,800 award miles. When I log in, I qualify for the lower mileage price which is 75,100 award miles.

From my estimates, the Merchandise Awards site is charging at least double the price for an iPad 2 if you qualify for the better price. I can’t see myself using this as an option for spending my miles. Will you???

Check out the award options at:
MileagePlus Merchandise Awards

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