I got an email this afternoon from Continental, advertising an auction for a 32GB iPad 2 and a Callaway Golf RAZR Hawk Driver. Uninterested in either product (if I was, I would have bought one already), I ignored it. Seth at The Wandering Aramean points out the senselessness of it: The bid’s currently at 187,000 miles for a product which retails at $599, delivering a whopping 0.32 cents of value per mile.
While I wouldn’t personally bid that much, these auctions take a liability of United/Continental’s books. A small part of me hopes that this might encourage the airline to sweep hundreds of thousands of miles away through cheap redemptions rather than jack up the award chart or slash award availability. Of course, it’s possible we could experience the worst of all possible worlds, one in which bidding 187k miles on an iPad 2 is actually a good redemption value.