Have you seen United’s latest redemption option? “Now you can use your award miles to listen to your favorite musical artists and watch the best movies and TV shows, whether you’re at home or at the airport.” Top singles cost 150 miles, albums 1,000-2000 miles, and new movie releases can be rented for 575 miles or purchased for 1,835-3000 miles depending on the movie. The value proposition is pretty poor (under a cent per mile), though if you are in need of an activity to keep your miles alive, a single at 150 miles isn’t so horrible…
The same movie can be had on iTunes for $4.99 per rental and $19.99 per purchase. The rental would value your miles at only .0087 cents and the purchase at .0079 cents.
The same single can be had on iTunes for $1.29, valuing your miles at .0086 cents.