Airlines Upset With eBay

from the selling-frequent-flyer-miles dept

Last week a friend of mine sold some of his frequent flyer miles to a friend who needed to fly to a wedding – where the price of airline tickets was way too high. I’d never heard of people selling their frequent flyer miles, but apparently, it’s a popular pasttime at eBay, and the airlines are not happy about it. They’ve asked eBay to stop the auctions, but eBay refuses – saying there’s nothing illegal about them. What I don’t understand is why the airlines don’t just make mileage and vouchers non-transferable. Wouldn’t that solve the problem?

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Comments on “Airlines Upset With eBay”

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Ed says:


The previous respondent is right. If you’re a travelling salesman with millions of miles, you’d prefer to be able to take a trip and bring your whole family.

The airlines have to walk a fine line here. If they made miles completely non-transferrable, they would be less of an incentive, but if they removed all restrictions on transferring them (and perhaps even if that becomes the de facto state regardless of the airlines’ wishes), then the IRS will eventually decide that miles are a form of currency and tax mileage awards as income.

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