United Airlines Now Allowing Frequent-Fliers To Use Miles For Food, Other Purchases At Newark Airport

If you find yourself short on cash, but flush with United Airlines frequent-flier miles at Newark Liberty International Airport, you don’t have to forego that bottle of water after all. The airline now lets travelers use their precious miles for purchases such as food, drink and other items in the airport’s soon-to-be revamped Terminal C.

USA Today reports that the new payment system kicked off at some of the airport terminal’s restaurants last week.

The system, which is a collaboration between United and OTG Management, has a current exchange rate of about 143 miles per $1.

“We are always looking for new opportunities for our customers to use their miles,” Gavin Molloy, United’s managing director of corporate real estate and airport affairs, tells USA Today. “People are waiting in the airport: We know they shop, we know they want food and beverages, and this is a great way of using miles.”

So for about 430 miles (or $2.99) you can get a bottle of Fiji water. But if that’s not your taste, you can also order meals and drinks from a number of new restaurants opening over the next two years as part of the $120 million remodel to Terminal C.

The renovation also includes refurbished seating areas, new eateries created by Michelin-starred chefs, and nearly 6,000 iPads that can be used to place orders at restaurants and while sitting at the gate.

When the iPads are installed, travelers can use them to scan their boarding passes or enter their frequent-flier number to track their flight’s progress, see how many miles they have at their disposal, and find out the cost of food and merchandise in both dollars and miles.

Eventually, travelers wishing to stay at the gate and placing orders through the iPads will have their meal or merchandise delivered within 15 minutes.

Passengers can pay with miles at Newark airport [USA Today]