Paying for food with miles? No, this isn’t some weird mile geek’s dream of the future. It’s about to become a reality at United’s Terminal C at Newark Liberty (EWR). Along with a whole slew of new restaurants, OTG and United are installing 6,000 iPads throughout the terminal that will become ordering terminals. Flyers can scan their boarding pass or just enter their MileagePlus numbers into the iPads and the cost of anything they’d like to buy via the tablets will be displayed in dollars and miles.
Kathy from Will Run for Miles attended the launch event and found that the cost of items in miles seemed to be a bit extravagant compared to the price in cold hard cash. “It roughly appears that pricing of items is about 1.3 miles per dollar,” she writes. ” I would sooner pay $36 for a steak than use 5,100 United miles.” I tend to agree. The value of those miles are heavily inflated in the terminal, considering the average cost of a MileagePlus mile appears to be anywhere from $.015 to $.02 each.
That said, if you’re someone who flies constantly on the company’s dime and accumulates more miles than you know what to do with, why not spend a little from your Up In The Air-esque stockpile to grab a meal from Alain Ducasse on your personal time? This obviously doesn’t apply to people who are traveling for work and able to expense meals, but if you’re taking a private vacation using those miles you accrued, this seems like the perfect solution.
The plan will be fully implemented by this summer, but there are indications that it could arrive much, much sooner. Would you use miles to pay for food in the terminal? Let me know in the comments.