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If it’s not clear from our name, we here at TPG love travel loyalty programs. Despite their periodic devaluations, they allow travelers to experience first-class flights, luxurious hotel stays and other redemptions that would cost thousands if paid in cash. That said, the forms of travel these programs reward you for are pretty limited. However, a new app called Miles just launched with the aim to change that.
Essentially a universal travel rewards platform, Miles awards points for all modes of transportation: car, plane, train, subway, bus, boat, bicycle and foot. The more eco-friendly the mode is, the more points you earn.
Points can be redeemed for rewards ranging from Amazon and Starbucks gift cards to free Silvercar rentals and discounts on HelloFresh meal kits. While many of the rewards, such as the gift cards, can be claimed multiple times, some of them are one-time offers.
Much like airline loyalty programs, Miles offers elite status tiers. Everyone starts with Silver status and can move up to to Gold or Platinum, depending on monthly activity. While elite status doesn’t get you free flight upgrades or anything like that, it could get you better redemption rates and early access to rewards.
While the per-point value varies significantly based on the reward, the redemption rates remain consistent when redeeming for gift cards. A $5 gift card will always cost base members 3,000 points (a value of about 0.17 cents per point), Silver members 2,500 points (a value of 0.20 cents per point) and Platinum members 2,000 points (a value of 0.25 cents per point). Some of the other rewards, such as discount codes for retail purchases, aren’t as easy to put a price tag on and the value will vary based on the user.
Setting up and using the app is pretty straightforward. Plus, if you’re among the first 5,000 TPG readers to download the app using this link by the end of day on July 25, you’ll start off with an additional 1,000 bonus miles and be bumped straight up to top-tier Platinum status — a type of bonus airlines never offer.
However, there’s one major drawback to the app: You must allow the app to always track your location. The app was designed to work in the background and won’t be able to log trips if you don’t do this.
The app’s technology is supposed to automatically detect the mode of transportation for every trip. Users can also link their Uber and Lyft accounts so that the app automatically recognizes rideshare and carpool trips. That said, not all of my trips posted properly during my trial of the app, but the app lets you submit trips for review if that happens.
Miles is now available for download on the iOS app store, with an Android version coming soon. With 24/7 location tracking, it definitely won’t be for everyone. However, if you don’t mind that, it’s a great way of adding value to the travel you otherwise wouldn’t be rewarded for. While gift cards and free Silvercar rentals are great, the value of the rewards vary. The folks behind the app expect rewards to become more lucrative and unique over time.
As a reminder, TPG readers could start off additional 1,000 bonus miles and be bumped straight up to top-tier Platinum status by downloading the app here.
All images courtesy of Miles.
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