US Airways Grandslam Wrap-up

I ended up scoring 37 hits for the US Airways Grand Slam this fall.  The ease of repeating this obviously depends on one’s purchasing habits:  I frequently rent cars and stay at hotels, for example.  I’ve italicized the hits that I consider reasonably accessible to even infrequent travelers.

Free Hits:

  • 21st Century Auto Insurance:  The free quote they gave me provided me 200 US Airways miles and another reason to never own a car in New York City.
  • Audience Rewards:  Answering six audience rewards trivia questions yielded 12 US Airways miles.
  • Dividend Miles Toolbar:  I performed three searches with the toolbar and got an otherwise free hit (and 1 US mile).
  • Dividend Miles Dining:  I registered one of my credit cards and bought a slice of pizza at a nearby restaurant for 11 US miles.
  • e-Miles:  I did e-Miles and did a transfer to US for 500 miles.
  • e-Rewards:  I did a few surveys on e-Rewards and did a transfer to US for 500 miles.  Hertz fortunately sent me an invitation shortly into Grand Slam that permitted me to transfer out to US Airways.

Purchasing Things:

  • 1-800-Flowers:  I spent $13.99 on my order with shipping to get a small stuffed animal, 140 US Airways miles.
  • Biscoff:  I spent $13.47 for an order of cookies and 42 US Airways miles.
  • Buying Miles:  I bought 1000 US Airways miles for $37.63.
  • FTD:  I bought a tin of Ms. Field’s cookies for $43.98 to get 850 US miles.
  • Netflix:  I got a 6 month Netflix subscription for 1.5k miles with an all-in cost of $47.94.
  • Network Solutions:  I registered a domain name for 3 years to get 2k US miles for $26.09.
  • OfficeMax:  I placed an order with OfficeMax (that I would have inevitably placed) for 179 US miles.  For those without such an inclination, it is possible to order a box of paper clips for about $9 with shipping.
  • ShareBuilder:  I funded an account and placed an order to get 2.5k US miles for $9.95.
  • Shopping Mall:  I ordered a book from Barnes and Noble via the shopping mall portal to get 22 US miles.
  • SkyMall:  I bought a dog collar for a FlyerTalker to donate to his local humane society to get 21 miles for $14.63.
  • SuperShuttle:  I took a SuperShuttle instead of public transportation back from JFK to my apartment for 50 US miles.  It was $10.00 more than I would have paid to take the Airtrain/LIRR to Manhattan.  Members of FlyerTalk have discussed taking a “ride” from the Phoenix Airport to its aloft for $3.00 after discount.
  • TD Ameritrade:  I funded a TD Ameritrade account with $2.5k to get 2.5k US miles.  My opportunity cost is the greater of a negligible amount of interest or 2.5k UA miles (via another signup promo).
  • Teleflora:  I ordered flowers for $44.98 to get 750 US miles.
  • ThanksAgain:  I bought a certificate for $1.00 to get 3 US miles.
  • TrackItBack:  I bought a single sticker for $24.94 to get 500 US miles.
  • Vinesse:  I bought a wine tasting notebook for $18.57

Renting Cars:

  • Hertz:  I had 6 car rentals (5 two day rentals and 1 three day rental) during the GS period for 650 miles.  Since I would have rented these cars anyways, my only cost was the opportunity cost of not earning 650 UA miles instead.

Staying at Hotels:

  • Hilton Stay:  I stayed at the Seattle Double Tree in September and chose fixed points.  With the Hilton Q3 promo, this earned me 1k US miles.  My opportunity cost is 1k in UA miles (or about 1.2k in Hilton points, a slightly less valuable alternative).
  • Hyatt Stays:  I stayed at two Hotel Sierras by Hyatt in November, crediting my stays to US for 500 miles per stay.   Since my stays were $90 per night, my opportunity cost was 585 Hyatt Gold Passport points per night.

Transferring Points:

  • Choice Transfer:  I bought 5.5k Choice Hotel points for $55 and transfered 5k to get 1k in US Airways miles.
  • Exchange Miles:  I converted 4 AA miles to 1 US mile.
  • Hilton Transfer:  I converted 10k Hilton HHonors points to 850 US Airways miles.
  • Magazines for Miles:  I got myself a subscription to The Economist (a $100 or so value) for redeeming 3.2k US miles.  There were 500 mile redemption tiers.  Since I started this in September without a single US Airways mile to my name, I used the miles I earned from partners and the initial hit bonuses to buy my subscription.
  • SPG Transfer:  I converted 1.5k SPG points to 1.5k US Airways miles.
  • Share Miles:  I shared 1k miles for $40.75.

Overall, my opportunity cost was $402.92, 4 AA miles, 10k Hilton points,  1.17k Hyatt points, 1.5k SPG points, 4.150k UA miles, and a few hours of my time.  With the miles from activity (just over 19k) and the bonuses (100k), I’m a few hundred miles short of a first class award to North Asia via Europe.  Alternatively, this would cover nearly five domestic roundtrips (on Star Alliance carriers).

My list identifies 25 “easily” achieved hits.  If one values US Airways miles at 1cpm, the 24 hit tier is a reasonable target for about $350 (the 25 italicized hits minus the Choice Hotels transfer as a 25th hit is unnecessary).  This would yield 45k in Grand Slam bonuses and about 9k in net partner miles (by choosing a magazine subscription for 500 miles rather than 3.2k).

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