Web site to allow shopping with frequent flyer miles

A new Web start-up plans tolet 45 million frequent flyer customers trade accumulated milesfor discounts on online merchandise such as books, electronics,luggage, and clothing. MilePoint.

A new Web start-up plans to let 45 million frequent flyer customers trade accumulated miles for discounts on online merchandise such as books, electronics, luggage, and clothing.

MilePoint.com is chaired by former American Airlines chief executive Robert Crandall, who oversaw the introduction of the first frequent-flyer program in the early 1980s, and was co-founded by Mark Lacek, a former Northwest Airlines marketing executive.

Major airlines and a prominent hotel chain are backers and equity owners. Program sponsors such as airlines are intended to own about a third of the company, with the rest owned by management and other investors.

Users of the service, set to launch in October, will be able to buy discounted Amazon.com gift certificates and get discounts at the 139 online merchants at Skymall.com, such as Brooks Brothers, Sharper Image, and Radio Shack. -- Reuters