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eBay converts flier miles to PayPal credit

A new promotion lets consumers use airline miles and hotel loyalty points as credit toward items purchased on the online auction service.

eBay launched a new promotion this week that lets consumers use airline miles and hotel loyalty points as credit toward items purchased on the online auction service.

Through the eBay Anything Points program, members can convert points earned through American Airlines and Midwest Airlines frequent-flier programs, as well as Hilton hotel's loyalty program, into eBay credit. Signing up for Sprint long-distance and small-business calling plans also earns points for eBay members.

Anything Points are stored in members' PayPal accounts and can be used anywhere on eBay where PayPal is accepted. The online auction company said it plans to add more loyalty program partners to its points system in the future.

Besides giving people a reason to shop on eBay, the Anything Points program could help the company convince more of its members to become PayPal consumers. eBay acquired PayPal, an electronic payment system, last year for $1.42 billion. The service allows customers to collect payments online, with PayPal acting as a go-between for the payer and the recipient. Recipients can store the money in their PayPal accounts.

One Anything Point is worth 1 cent toward the payment of an eBay item, according to the company Web site. Participants can, for example, exchange 13,889 American Airlines or 20,202 Midwest Airlines frequent-flier miles for 10,000 Anything Points, or $100 toward an eBay purchase. Hilton coverts 10,000 loyalty program points to 1,000 eBay points. Anything Points also can be converted into mileage and hotel points.

The program is available only to eBay members with accounts registered in the United States or Canada.