United introduces the MileagePlus digital media store


United Airlines has introduced yet another way to redeem points: buying digital media. The new store allows program members to redeem their points for music or movies; TV shows will be coming this fall. The program is only available to members residing in the United States.

The selection appears reasonably broad, though I will be the first to admit I don’t really know much about what’s happening these days in the music world so it might not actually be all that broad a library. And the prices aren’t completely unreasonable, though they certainly aren’t all that great, either. Here are a few price shots from the generic interface.

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I checked Amazon.com for the Walk the Moon album and found it available for $2.99. Planet Pit is running $9.99 and the singles are mostly running $0.99-1.29. Sherlock Holmes was available for $3.99 on a 48 hour rental or $14.99 to buy.

So at those rates it isn’t really a very good deal, but for a small balance of orphaned miles it is probably better than nothing.

What was particularly interesting is that the pricing can vary depending on the customer. When I logged in with my MileagePlus account information the prices changed in my favor.

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Apparently elite status is worth just under 20% off for the digital library. Still not a great value at all, but marginally better.

Nice that there are more options for redeeming points. I’m sure that there are some folks who will see value in this, either for finishing off a balance or just because they have too many points to use them all. And it isn’t nearly as bad as some of the auctions that have happened in the past. Still, not a great value if you actually care about travel. And if you don’t there are better credit card options for earning cash back rather than points so you can still get rewards like this for less.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

4 Comments

  1. Leaving two options:
    1) Break the law by illegally downloading it
    2) Don’t listen to music
    Neither have much appeal to me, so I’ll stick with paying with money, miles have more value being saved for a redemption in F than digital media.

    1. I would much rather this than magazines. For one thing, I am more likely to find something I actually want this way than with magazines.

      As for the suggestions to just pirate everything I’d rather download, no thanks. Maybe I’m in the minority but outright fraud or copyright violations are not things I’m in to. Maybe that’s because I’m actually producing content these days that I’d rather others didn’t just steal, but it isn’t an approach I’m up for.

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