Frequent Flier Miles as Currency

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According to a story in The Guardian, The Economist reports that if you added up the value of all the frequent flier miles outstanding, they would add up to $700 billion, surpassing the value of any other floating currency in the world.

Who hasn’t thought that there should be a free market in Frequent Flier Points? Heck, why stop there, there should be an open market to trade my Safeway sandwich points (the cashier reminds me cheerily every time, “Mr. Kennedy, you’re only five sandwiches away from a free lunch!!”).

Now that stock market quotes have become more or less commoditized, Reuters could set their sites on this new market (they should before eBay, PayPal, or American Express lock up this market). Matching deals between the family that just relocated from New Jersey with too many Continental Airlines miles with someone with enough Hawaiian Air miles for the family trip to the Islands may not be as lucrative as feeding quotes for the Bank of Japan but the new economy is all about making up for thin margins with scale.

They’re already trading online gaming currencies – it’s only a matter of time before you can trade your Second Life dollars in for a meatspace trip to Disneyland.

Once this stuff becomes legal tender, I can’t wait to pay my first tax bill in Chuck-E-Cheese tokens!

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