Mommy Points’ Lunch Menu: Shrimp Kabobs, Rice Krispie Treat, and a side of 2,000 miles

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I was lucky enough to be targeted for the United Months of Miles promotion.  There are several varieties of this promo, but I received the 3 transactions for 1,000 United miles version.  In true Mommy Points’ fashion, I’m getting kinda hooked on this promo.  Well, maybe not hooked by Flytertalk standards, but hooked in my own way.  I’m going to share how my family is making the most of this promo this week….I’ll also give you a glimpse into the entertaining world of true points and miles “travel hackers”.  Some of the things people do for points and miles amazes even me!

This promo is based off of the number of qualified transactions during the promotional period.  All retail transactions through the United Shopping portal must be a minimum of $10 each to count for this promo.  For me, the beauty of this promo lies in the United Dining program, as there is no minimum purchase requirement for dining transactions.  At least according to most reports from United.  I have made a few purchases through the shopping portal so far (including the $100 Marriott gift card Mommy Point’s contest prize for DKAS – congrats again!), and will probably make a few more over the next couple months.  I will also probably buy a few gift cards that I know I will use for Home Depot and Sam’s Club/Walmart.  I may do a dozen or so of those during the promo, but I will certainly use all of the gift cards that I purchase as gift cards at retailers that my family frequents.

However, the main way that I have been earning transactions for this promo is through my mouth.  Or more accurately, my stomach.  I’m a big United Dining program fan on a regular day, but have become an all out junkie now with this promo.  As an example, here is today’s lunch menu/agenda.

Meet The Man for a lunch date at a participating restaurant.  Get separate checks and pay with different cards linked to my United Dining program account.  Since I am a VIP member, I earn 5 points per dollar spent.  So, combined our total was $24 = 120 points in the dining program + 24 points on credit card spend (actually a little more since some was on the Sapphire than earns 2x points for dining) + 2 transactions towards the Months of Miles.  We then went and picked up a brownie and a Rice Krispie Treat for dessert from a participating sandwich shop for a grand total of about $2.50.  Again, we paid separately on two cards for two more Months of Miles transactions.  We then walked over to a participating BBQ joint and each bought a loaf of one-day-old bread for $1.  Again, two separate transactions.  We did get the side-eye while using two credit cards for two $1 loaves of bread!

For the record, this bread makes fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches!  Grandma and Grandpa are now the proud owners of one of the loaves.  I am not typically a fan of spending extra money on things you aren’t going to use just for miles, so I want to make sure that even a $1 loaf of bread gets eaten. For me, it just doesn’t usually make sense to spend money to get miles…unless it was for a very large chunk of miles!  I also am not going to do anything to potentially cause an issue at a store.  If you read through this very entertaining thread on how to maximize this promo, you will learn of people buying hundreds or even thousands of eligible $10 gift cards through the shopping portal, and then flying to California where the law allows you to exchange gift cards for cash.  No judgement towards those who go this route for the promotion (heck, I got a good kick out of reading it), but it just doesn’t fit into this Mommy’s life or desires.  In that thread is also a story of a patron of a bar who is getting a little irritated that the bar keeps giving them free drinks, as they want the transaction on their credit card.  Free drinks vs miles, that is a tough one!

I want my miles and points as much, or more, as the next person, but I don’t want to cause anyone else trouble or significant extra work in order to do so.  I also don’t want to bring on a potential problem or headache for myself if my “elaborate points scheme” encounters an issue.  While stopping at three places over our lunch break, for a total of about 150 dining miles (5 miles per dollar) and 2,000 miles via the Months of Miles promo is a little bit crazy by “normal people’s standards”, it doesn’t hurt anyone and doesn’t require us to spend more than we probably would have spent anyway.  All it cost us was about 10 extra minutes of time and one strange stare from the lady who sold us the bread.  For me, that is totally worth it.

How far do you go to take advantages of promos such as this one?  Would you fly to California to take advantage of their “gift card law”?  I think it is so fascinating to hear the stories of what points and miles collectors will do to get miles, so I would love to hear your story!

Comments

  1. Love this!! Love that your hubby did it with you. You are so lucky to have him on board with you. I wish my hubby were in to my hobby.
    Also, can you tell me more about California’s gift card laws. As I live here in Cali and might be able to make use of them. Haven’t really done anything with gift cards. Trying to figure if I can buy gift cards and load them on my paypal account so I can meet my new Starwood business $4,500 min. spend.

    • Faith, I am slowly involving him more and more. He was a pretty good sport that day! As for the California gift card laws, I am no lawyer, but you can find info here.

  2. I am at 4/500 so I am not pulling in as many miles. But since some of our new “favorite” places belong to MP Dine we are doing the same as you…hubby and I get separate checks..pay with different cards, both hooked up to dining program. We also have a place that sells chocolate and icecream. We get the icecream while there..and pick up some chocolate for the way home! I am not going crazy on gift cards. I know it can be a pain for a lot of purchases to show up in the MP Shop mall. I already have some air filters ordered from Home Depot that aren’t showing up so I don’t want to chase down a ton of orders with gift cards! At the holidays about half my orders came through on the shop mall and half took me months to get credit for. If that happens again it will be like pulling teeth to get credit for those months from now on the promo! So I like the dining program the best!

    • Something is better than nothing! My parents and husband all got the big goose egg for this promo. Sounds like you have a great plan at the ice cream shop. I don’t want to chase down a bunch of gift cards either. I’ll do a few, but nothing too crazy. I’m with you on the dining plan being the big winner for this one…..at least for my family. 😉

  3. Nordstrom.com now offers free shipping on all orders so if you are making a purchase from nordstrom you can now do a seperate purchase of each item(i dont think nordstrom has any items under 10). I am only getting 500 points per 3 transactions but we are starting to rack them up

    • Thanks for the tip! We like to get Little C “Tiny Toms” shoes from there. Might be time to make a new order. Too bad you can’t order one show at a time. Thanks for the info!

  4. Hi,
    I was targeted for the 2/1000 promo. After registering I couldn’t see the promo in my promotions when I was logged in my account, so I decided to call United to ask if I was registered. They confirmed that I was registered for this promotion on their system with promo ID MPM681. My question to you is: per your blog, it doesn’t look like dining is considered retail and doesn’t need to meet the $10 requirement, is this true?

    • Chirag, to the best of my knowledge there is no dining minimum. Check out this thread as it is where most of my info on this promo has originated. The overwhelming majority of responses from United (when you are able to reach someone knowledgeable about this promo) have said that there is no dining minimum. If you plan to do tons and tons of dining transactions under $10, you may want to try emailing United to get it in writing from them yourself. GL and happy eating! BTW, congrats on getting the best version of this promo!

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