Waterloo-based LoyaltyMatch got a great mention in a New York Times article last week titled Playing Markets that Trade Miles. Some of our readers may remember that Varun Mathur - a Techvibes Toronto contributor - covered LoyaltyMatch's presentation at StartUpCampToronto2 in April. LoyaltyMatch offers an alternative to traditional travel reward programs by letting travelers convert unused points and miles into merchandise that they can then sell online for cash or swap for other items, services and activities. Here's a bit of what the New York Times has to say:
Another site that is letting travelers set their own trading terms is LoyaltyMatch.com, which started in February. It’s the brainchild of Brad Ball, a technology executive who had accumulated piles of miles after several years of heavy business travel. Like so many other fliers in the same situation, Mr. Ball was having trouble using them for something he really wanted. Though he had enough miles for a number of award tickets, he said, “As you spend more time on planes, the last thing you want to do when you have some down time is get back on.” Sellers register and enter their loyalty programs and account totals, which LoyaltyMatch uses to automatically list the items those miles and points can buy. For example, my test account (with a measly 16,309 American Airlines miles and 15,000 American Express points) immediately triggered four Exchange Alerts from other users willing to pay cash or trade miles or points for the merchandise that LoyaltyMatch said my miles and points could buy. Buyers simply browse the site for items they want and submit a cash or trade offer. The site then matches you up with potential sellers, who can choose to accept your offer and use their points or miles to buy that popcorn maker for you and have it mailed to your door. You in turn, pay the seller through PayPal or order the item you agreed to trade from your loyalty program. For its services, LoyaltyMatch charges $1.99 a transaction.
Hat tip to Scott Lake of StartupOttawa for the link.