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I am so excited to participate for the first time in the US Airways Grand Slam! The 2011 Grand Slam officially starts on September 14th. Which is just a few hours from now as I write this. Is it ridiculous that I almost feel like it is Christmas Eve? Probably, but I don’t care. Miles and points are my hobby, and this is going to be fun!
If you want a quick recap of the basics of the Grand Slam, check out this post. Essentially, for every four qualifying transactions (or “hits”) you earn more miles. Four hits = 3000 miles, eight hits = 10,000 miles, all the way up to 40 hits = 110,000 miles. The trick to this promo is getting as many hits as you can for as few dollars as you can. Only a few of the hits are going to be free. There will be a few more that cost a very small amount of money, and then there will be hits that cost more money. There will also be some hits that probably cost too much money to mess with.
This is my first time playing, so I am by no means a seasoned Grand Slam veteran. However, I am reading all I can on Milepoint and Flyertalk from the Grand Slam pros. I am compiling a list of the hits that I can acquire for little or no money, and setting a goal based off of that. Currently, I am going for 24 hits. 24 hits will get my family 45,000 miles. I assume I will earn close to 5,000 additional miles through some of the purchases I will make to acquire the hits, so I am essentially going for 50,000 miles. 50,000 miles can currently be purchased directly from US Airways for a little over $800. I would like to earn them through this promo for less than half of that amount. Some of my hits will come from purchases, hotel stays, and car rentals I already have planned, so that makes spending $300-$400 not quite as painful as it otherwise would be. Every family’s needs and budget will vary, so I highly recommend you give some thought as to the hits you think you can get, and how much you are willing to spend to earn some miles. You can always just do four free hits and earn a quick 3,000 miles.
It is possible I will come up short of my 24 hit goal, and it is also possible I will get hooked and go for a higher total as the game goes on. I’m excited to see how it turns out! I will document my hits here as I get them, and I highly encourage you to play along with me as much as you can. I am going to write in simple language and easy to understand steps. No previous experience required (since I don’t have any!). I would love for you to share the hits you are getting in the comments section so we can all learn from each other. Here are the things I plan to do within the next 24 hours.
I am not going to have links posted for most things, as you really need to go through US Airways’ website in order to be extra sure that your hits will count with these retailers. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section if you are unsure how to access any specific retailer, and I will try my best to help.
- If you haven’t already, register for the promo before doing anything else – hits only count if you are already registered.
- Download the Dividend Miles Shopping Toolbar and perform three searches. To download the toolbar, go here and look on the left hand side of the screen for “Quick Links”. “Install the Dividend Miles Toolbar” should be one of the options. Cost – $0.
- Join Dividend Miles Dining and complete one dine with a participating restaurant. Remember that if you currently have a credit card in another dining program (such as my beloved United Dining), registering it with Dividend Miles dining will automatically take it out of the other program. So, I plan to just register a card I don’t use on any dining program, use it once, then tuck it back safely in my wallet. Cost – varies, but $1 minimum (buy a coke). There is also reportedly a 1,000 new member dining bonus in effect if you have two $25 minimum dines in the first 45 days.
- Make a purchase via the Dividend Miles Shopping Mall. I personally plan to buy something that I was going to buy anyway via Amazon using the Dividend Miles Shopping Mall, but you could always just look around for the cheapest item if you are so inclined. Since I have Amazon Prime from my diapers subscription, shipping is waived, so cost for this hit really is very minimal for me. I’ll call it $5.
- Make a purchase via Office Max. Dial Basics Liquid Hand Soap is going for $1, that is the minimum purchase I would make with any of the partners just to be sure it qualifies. With shipping and tax, that comes to $9.61. There is free shipping if you order something over $50 – but I would only do that if there is something over $50 that you actually want. You may want to wait on this one, as there is some question about how it is tracked since it does not ask for your Dividend Miles number.
- Make a purchase via SkyMall. If there is something you have been itching to get your hands on via Skymall, now is the time to do it! I am going for the Christmas Dog Collar for $2.97 – with shipping that comes to $10.22. Yes, I actually have a dog who will wear the collar in December (perhaps voluntarily).
- Order magazines via MagsForMiles.com. The cheapest I saw was 400 miles for a year’s subscription. Obviously, it is best if you were actually going to order a specific magazine anyway to go ahead and get that magazine. This is a strange way to earn miles since it requires you to spend miles, but hey, I didn’t make the rules. I know that miles have a value, but I am calling it a $0 cost.
- Answer Trivia Questions via Audience Rewards. I have posted before about the Starwood version of this, but US Airways also participates. This is not a guaranteed hit, but is worth a shot since it is free. You may have to end up buying a ticket via Audience Rewards to get a hit, but the worst case scenario in trying this free route is that you earn a few free miles from answering some trivia questions. $0 cost.
- Make a purchase from Thanksagain.com. I am going to purchase a $5 Restaurant.com gift certificate from ThanksAgain, but take a look and see if you would prefer something else. My total will be $5 for something I will absolutely use.
One last important note, if you plan to take advantage of the bonus going on right now for purchasing US Airways miles, keep in mind that bonus ends on 9/15. The window to “double dip” with that bonus and the Grand Slam is very small, so don’t delay. The bonus only comes into effect if you are purchasing at least 10,000 miles, so I won’t be taking advantage of this personally.
Not counting the mileage purchase option, doing all of these items will bring you to a total of eight hits (if they all work as they should – the only real iffy one should be the Audience Rewards). Eight hits will get you 10,000 miles. The cost of these eight hits varies person to person, but it can easily be done for about $31. My actual “unplanned” cost I put at lower than that since several of these purchases I would have made anyway. Regardless, $31 for up to 10,000 miles sounds good to me!
In subsequent posts over the next few days I will be looking at floral related purchases, other retail purchases, points/miles transfer purchases, and other relatively cheap and easy hits. As the promo continues on I will cover most all of the hit options, as well as the tricks and tips that are uncovered along the way. My brain thinks in small chunks at a time, so I have to break it down in order to not get overwhelmed. 😉 If you plan to play along, I recommend using a tracking sheet to organize your hits. You can obtain one for free here. Remember, don’t start trying to earn hits until September 14th. I am not sure what time zone they are using, so just wait a few hours in to the 14th to be safe.
What hits are you doing first? Do you have any tips for the ones listed in this post? Are there other ones we should get started on now?