May 19, 2003, 12:00 AM

eBay’s newest currency: Airline and hotel loyal points

Shoppers can pay for products sold through eBay with points earned in loyalty programs from American Airlines, Hilton Hotels and other partners. All payments must be transacted through eBay`s PayPal service.

EBay Inc., adding another source of sales activity to continue its phenomenal growth, is enabling its shoppers to use loyalty points from partners including American Airlines and Hilton Hotels to purchase anything on The final purchase must be transacted through eBay`s PayPal online payment service.

Through eBay`s Anything Points program, users register with eBay`s loyalty program partners for the ability to exchange a partner`s loyalty points into Anything Points for making purchases on EBay says the only thing its sellers have to do to participate is accept payments through PayPal, which converts all points into cash.

One eBay Anything Points loyalty point is good for $0.01 toward the purchase price of anything on eBay, as long as payment is made through PayPal, but points cannot be used to pay for shipping, tax or insurance fees, eBay says.

Each loyalty program partner sets its own terms of exchanging points. Consumers who have earned points through Hilton`s HHonors loyalty program, for example, must exchange their HHonors points in blocks of 10,000 points; 10,000 HHonors points are good for 1,000 eBay Anything Points. Consumers can also exchange their Anything Points back to HHonors points, but only at an equal exchange rate: 1,000 Anything Points for 1,000 HHonors points.

EBay requires that participating shoppers meet minimum levels of activity to retain the value of their Activity Points. Shoppers must complete at least one of the following actions during any given 12-month period: spend or earn Anything Points, or exchange Anything Points for partner points. If a shopper fails to meet at least one of those minimums, the program imposes a fee of 100 Anything Points (a $1 value) each month until the account is activated.

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