The Glittering Eye points to this story on frequent flyer miles.

By the end of 2004, almost 14 trillion frequent flyer miles had been accumulated worldwide, worth between 1p and 6p apiece.

According to a new analysis by The Economist magazine, the global stock is worth more than $700bn (£370bn), more than all the US dollar bills in circulation, and streets ahead of Britain’s £42bn of notes and coins.

I must have unusually strong liquidity preference, because I can’t stand frequent flyer miles. What I hate most is when I wind up stuck at a dinner table between two people comparing their strategies for accumulating miles. Toenail fungus would be a more interesting topic.

Speaking of unnecessary administrative overhead, my new pet peeve is mail-in rebates. I just got some “free” stuff with a new computer–that is, “free” with mail-in-rebates. For some reason, each item has two rebates–how I am I supposed to send the original copy of the UPC sticker to two addresses in two different states? And they all require a copy of my store receipt, my phone number, my email address, my children’s birth certificates, 3 cereal boxtops, and my grammar school transcript.

My new rule is this: never accept anything with a mail-in rebate that you would not be happy to buy without any rebate. That way, if the rebate actually were to arrive, it would feel like a…well, like a rebate.

For Discussion. Is the large volume of frequent-flyer miles outstanding an indication of their value–or the lack thereof?