In the spirit of the gift-buying season, and of earning the most miles for holiday shopping, I recently recommended evReward as a site that will help consumers compare the shopping miles on offer from airline and hotel programs.
Planning to buy mom a sweater at the Gap? The site will show you which programs award miles for Gap purchases, and which programs offer the most miles per dollar spent.
That's on the earning side of the equation. What about using miles and points for non-travel awards?
Just in time for holiday shopping, there's a newly launched site that flips the evReward proposition, showing would-be mileage users how many miles or points will be required for gifts, and how much those same items would cost in dollars.
Want to use miles or points to purchase a sweater for mom? Visit RewardingYourself.com and review your options.
There are two ways to proceed: Use the search box to find items of interest, or browse by category.
In my tests, neither worked as advertised.
A search on "sweater" displayed five options: two for ladies' cashmere sweaters, two for men's sweaters, and one for a Samsonite carry-on bag.
Both of the ladies' sweaters displayed are offered through Hilton's HHonors program, one for 72,500 points, the other for 62,000 points.
Good to know, but there's something missing here. Is it possible that ladies' sweaters can only be purchased for miles or points from one program, Hilton HHonors? And the sweaters shown for comparison, as buy-for-cash alternatives, don't appear to be the same as the sweaters available through HHonors.
Perhaps, I thought, browsing through categories would yield more robust, and more accurate, results.
Clicking on "Clothing" generated a first page offering test drives of Porsches and Maseratis, and Disneyland resort packages, but no clothing whatsoever.
And the searches were not just wildly inaccurate—they were painfully slow.
RewardingYourself.com is a clever idea that addresses a real need. But it is ineptly executed. In test-driving the site, I was left feeling I'd stumbled on an app that was in its early beta stage.
There's definitely a place in the frequent flyer toolbox for a service that delivers on the "Points or Cash" promise. At this point, RewardingYourself.com falls short. Far short.
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.