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Whew, that was fun so far! It reminds me a little bit of playing craps in Vegas. The whole table (or online points community) is rooting for each other and sharing strategies. There are the highs (hello 80% of Restaurant.com code!), the lows (why is 1-800-Flowers no longer allowing Dale Earnhardt bears to count?!), and the confusions (um, where do I put in my US Airways Dividend mile number, Office Max?!). It is crazy how quickly some of the hits morph as retailers catch on and make adjustments to their sites on the fly. Gotta keep up in this game. I recommend checking here to keep track of the “cheap hits” as they change often. Also, a reminder to make sure you are registered before you start earning hits. Otherwise, they won’t count!
Here is a recap of how my first day at the US Airways Grand Slam ballpark went. You can read what my original plan for today was here.
Hit 1. Twitter Contest. Free
I posted about this one here. I really hope some of you did this before it expired as it was super easy. I also had 500 bonus miles from the contest deposited in my account today. If they do another Twitter promo (please!), be sure to get in on the action quickly.
Hit 2. Biscoff – Anna’s Trial Size Assortment – $13.47 all in
This purchase also earns 250 miles plus 1 mile per dollar. It was pretty simple, though the price reportedly went up some earlier in the morning. I would not wait on this one, get the cheap trial size stuff now before it sells out or gets more expensive.
Hit 3. Skymall – 9V Alkaline Batteries – $9.99 all in
This purchase nets 3 miles per dollar (though I saw it say 5 miles per dollar later in the day). It took a while for me to get a screen that had a spot to put my Dividend Number in at check-out. It comes in “Step 2″ at checkout. Do not actually check-out until you are sure you have entered your number. I had to sign-in, sign-out, and keep playing with it until it gave me the box to enter my number. I bought two .99 9V batteries to be sure I was over $1. Some people are just buying one, but I wanted to be safe. These will eventually get used around the house here.
Hit 4. 1-800-Flowers – Happy Birthday Puppy from Gund $15.00 all in
This puppy is actually really cute and is on it’s way to a three year old who’s birthday we missed last weekend due to the SMD3. When I did this under the U3 code it defaulted to, it gave 10 miles per purchase, but there is now a U44 code that gives 20 miles per purchase as part of the “Grand Slam Promo”. When I did it with a purchase with free shipping, it did not give me an error code and accepted the U3 code just fine. However, that seems to have changed at some point in the day. Waterford Holiday Bells are now listed on Flyertalk as an eligible cheap item ($14.99). Just be sure you don’t get an error message and that it accepts your US Airways # at checkout.
Hit 5. Audience Rewards – Answer Trivia Questions Free
This hit may or may not count. I am going to give it a shot and see if it posts when hits start posting on 9/28. If not, I will go back and buy a cheap ticket to a show. I know there are lots of people buying tickets they can’t use to a Poetry Slam in North Carolina. I think tickets were $12.50. If you go that route, donate your ticket to the North Carolina USO. They would be happy to have it!
Hit 6. Thanks Again – Restaurant.com Gift Certificate – $1
I bought a $10 gift certificate for $5 and then used code SAVE to get 80% off. That code ends today, 9/14, but there are often others that come out. I bought it to a pizza place here in town and it will absolutely go to good use! You have to register with Thanks Again and then log in with Restaurant.com when it routes you to that website. It is kind of weird, but it should work.
Hit 7. US Airways Dividend Miles Shopping Mall – $5
I bought a Halloween trick-or-treat bag and book for Little C from Pottery Barn Kids. I had a rewards certificate from their credit card program that covered most of the purchase, but $5 of it I paid out of my own pocket just to make sure it counted as a hit. Can’t wait to get her personalized little trick-or-treat bag! Remember that Amazon.com is a partner in their shopping mall, so there is no reason to miss out on this hit!
Hit 8. Mags for Miles – free
This one is sort of strange as you are using miles to get a hit, but I picked up a year of Sunset Magazine for 400 US Airways miles. That and a Cigar magazine were the two cheapest options coming in at 400 miles. If you don’t yet have miles, just wait until some of your miles from other purchases start posting and then take advantage of this free and easy hit. Getting to this one was a little “harder”. Log into your Dividend Miles account, go to “use miles”, go to “subscriptions for miles”, and select “magazines”.
Hit 9. Transfer Hotel Points to Miles, Starwood – free
It made me cringe a bit to transfer 1,500 Starwood miles to US Airways Dividend miles. I am a Gold member with SPG, and 1,500 was the minimum I could transfer. I value Starwood miles very highly, but the transfer ratio for this one was better than for many of the other hotel options, and I know I will need the hit. Starwood Platinum members have no minimum point transfer amount on Starwood’s end, so they can transfer the exact 850 miles needed to count as a valid hit for this promotion. You initiate the transfer from Starwood’s website. The process was easy, but it said it can take 4 weeks or so to post. Hopefully it doesn’t really take that long, but don’t wait until the end to try this one.
Day 1 Recap: I probably spent a couple hours today reading the forums on Flyertalk and Milepoint to see how to score hits as cheaply and easily as possible. The Points Guy also has a very helpful Grand Slam post up on his site. Today I got 9 hits (if the Audience Rewards hit works) for a total cost of $44.46. Not counting the miles from the purchases themselves, that puts me at the 10,000 miles level. If you just want to get to 10,000 as cheaply as possible, you could take out the 1-800-Flowers and Biscoff purchase and substitute in the tool bar and dining transaction hits I have planned for tomorrow. That would get you to 10,000 miles for only a $17.99 outlay (if you did the same purchases I did). That is a great deal, and requires very little time or financial outlay on your part!
Hits on deck for tomorrow: Download the toolbar and complete three searches (free), make a dining transaction ($2), and make a Track It Back purchase ($24.94). If all goes well, that will bring me to a total of 12 hits, or 15,000 miles, for $71.40. Sweet! If time allows, I also hope to look more into the points.com hit and the e-miles.com hit.
Hits riding the bench: Office Max currently doesn’t have a way for you to enter your Dividend Miles number, so I am waiting for that issue to be worked out before making a purchase there. If you plan to buy at least 10,000 Dividend Miles, do that by 9/15 as the bonus for extra miles will end. I only plan to buy 1,000 miles, so I am waiting until later to see if they come out with a bonus that will apply to smaller mileage purchases. I am also waiting to see if they come out with a promo for purchasing a US Airways Club membership so that I can have access to Continental/United Clubs. My Platinum Amex card will no longer grant me access starting on 9/30, so I am in the market for a new route into United/Continental lounges. Last year they dropped the price significantly about half-way through the Grand Slam promo, so I am waiting to see if that happens again.
I know this can start to get overwhelming fast. If you are a newbie like me, just take it one hit at a time. Please let me know if you have questions or if you have some tips to share about the hits you have already completed. How many hits do you have so far?