|Shot of my Powerocks charger on RewardsCanada's Instagram!|
What do you do when you have some miles in an account you don't use very often and those miles are about to expire? You redeem them that's what! Such was the case with my Etihad Guest account. I had earned a bunch of miles in the account for free when they were running an offer for free miles for connecting your personal account to a business EtihadConnect account. Seeing that I wasn't earning Guest miles anywhere else and the best viable flight option was a short haul in the Middle East that wasn't happening anytime soon I wanted to find a redemption I could actually use. The logical redemption was for some merchandise. Yes I know, that goes against what we discuss right here on Rewards Canada in that merchandise rewards are some of the worst value redemptions you can take advantage of. But is that really so? NO! True, if you have an account where you gain lots of miles or points in like Aeroplan or AIR MILES for so many Canadians then yes, merchandise rewards tend to be a bad value. But if you have miles and points in an account you don't use very often and know you won't get to a travel award then merchandise rewards are totally worth it.
I knew I was never going to use those Etihad miles for a flight so rather than let them expire I redeemed them for merchandise via the Etihad Guest Reward Shop (quite an amazing reward store I must admit!). Was it a good value. Heck ya! Rather then getting nothing and the miles turning into dust with a value of $0 I redeemed them for a Powerocks Super Stone3 Dual USB portable charger. It was something we needed in our family to provide a power source for when are away from the house, hotel or car. It cost me 13,096 Etihad Guest miles which included express shipping from the UAE. Best I can tell this unit sells for around US$109 (~C$140) plus shipping and handling from several locations overseas.
My estimate is that if I was to buy this unit from one of those places I would be looking at about C$170 total. This means I received a value of roughly 1.3 cents per mile redeemed. This is actually a good rate for merchandise seeing that most programs have values of below 1 cent per mile but the fact I got all my Etihad Guest miles at no cost the redemption was worth more than that!!
Bottom line is that if you have miles or points expiring in an account where you can't use them for travel reward or convert them to another program then redemptions like these make sense. It also shows that you should sign up for all those 'free miles/points' offers out there as you never know when you may just build up some of those oddball reward program accounts to a high enough balance to at least redeem for something!!