Grand Slam Update: Day 9

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Are we really only 9 days into the Grand Slam?  Seems like it has been going on much longer than that!  Maybe that is because I have been devoting so much time per day to this.  I swear I am officially stalking e-rewards.com for new surveys, but it seems that there must be tons of others who fit my demographic who are snapping up the surveys before I am.  Hmmm, wonder why that could be?  🙂  I’m actually having a lot of fun still with most of the Grand Slam, but filling out surveys with e-rewards.com and e-miles.com has been far from my favorite activity.  I am now up to 435 miles with e-miles (500 required for hit) and $12.15 on e-rewards ($25 required for a hit).  Progress comes slowly but surely on those two hits.  As I have mentioned before, don’t delay starting on those two hits.  Get rocking on them now as they do take time!

Before I add my most recent hits to the tally, I want to share some Grand Slam updates/rumors.  The first is related to the Office Max purchase.  This will be a relatively cheap and easy hit once it works, but thus far there has not been anywhere on the Office Max website to enter your US Airways Dividend Miles number.  Many dedicated Flyertalk members have been emailing back and forth with Office Max, and have been told that Office Max is very close to having that technical issue resolved.  Hopefully by next week we can all add this easy hit to our tallies.

9/23 update: Office Max rumor confirmed – it is working!

Another rumor I am very excited about, is the possibility of US Airways offering a brief sale on discounted US Airways Club membership in the very near future….9/27 was the rumored date.  They did a similar sale about six months ago and last year during the Grand Slam.  American Express Platinum cards will stop granting access to Continental President’s Clubs in about a week, so I need a different way in.  If they do have the sale and price the membership as they have in the past, it should only be about $260 for a years membership.  That is about $200 less than the regular price for non-elite flyers.  To visit a Star Alliance lounge, other than Continental’s Presidents Clubs and United’s Red Carpet Clubs , you’ll need to present a same-day boarding pass for travel on any Star Alliance flight. You must show your US Airways Club Membership Card to enter United and Continental lounges, but you do not need a same-day boarding pass on a Star Alliance flight to enter those lounges.  Obviously this is not a hit that would be valuable unless you were planning to purchase a membership anyway.  I have my fingers crossed that this rumor is true!

As always, you can read about all of my hits so far here.

Hit 15.  Hertz Car Rental – $59.00 ($19.67)

My husband and I are sneaking away for the weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!)  We like to rent cars rather than drive our own when we go on little road trips.  While the rentals we get usually aren’t near as comfortable as our own cars, we like keeping the miles and little nicks and dings off our cars when we can.  It was $59.00 for a three-day weekend rental for what will probably be a clown-sized car.  Oh the things we do for miles.  This is one of those hits where the price really doesn’t factor into my “out of pocket” total the way some other hits do because I would have made this reservation regardless.  Nonetheless, I am going to count $19.67 of the rental, or one day’s worth, in my current cost total since that is all that would have been needed for the hit.

Hit 16.  Network Solutions – $26.09

This hit was a great find on Flyertalk.  Since the instructions are a little bit complicated at first, I am just going to re-post primarily  from the well-organized description that beltway provided already on FT.  Thanks so much to beltway!

  1. Click on the US Airways website link for Network Solutions.
  2. Click on “Get Your Domain Names”
  3. Enter your personal information. If the website won’t accept your US Dividend Miles account ID, try
    • capitalizing all letters, if any
    • inserting several zeroes at the start of your identifier; it may take 10 or more
  4. Select a desired domain name (preferably .com or .org) and click “search”
  5. Click “continue” to confirm your selection
  6. Click “no thanks” to decline additional services
  7. You will see a pricing page listing a cost of $86.97. Click “redeem offer code” and enter a 70%-off discount code.
    • These codes can be found by Googling “network solutions codes”. Current discount codes include SAVE70DAF and TECHDOM3AF.
  8. Apply the code and return to the main pricing page. Your new price for 3 years should be $26.09. (Do not choose a duration less than 3 years, as this will invalidate the miles promotion. This can be confirmed by reloading the page.) Note that the banner at the top promises 2,000 miles; however, NetSol has told me that the bonus is only 1,000 miles. If you plan to fight for the extra miles, make a screenshot and/or printout of this page now for your records.
  9. Complete the secure checkout. Be aware that any address, phone number, or name entered here will be listed publicly in the domain name registration.
  10. You should receive an email from NetSol confirming your activity and the promised miles bonus.

I told it to not automatically renew my domain registration after three years.  I have yet to receive an email from them confirming the promised miles, but I did take ample screen shots during the order process.  I have received a regular order confirmation email.  While beltway warns that they are only going to provide 1,000 bonus miles,  It said 2,000 bonus miles on multiple places while I was placing my order.  I don’t see how they wouldn’t honor the 2,000 mile bonus given how explicitly it state that you will receive that bonus, but I have certainly been wrong before.  Either way, it is a good hit.  We were able to purchase a domain address that The Man has actually been wanting to purchase anyway.

In fact, if the 2,000 miles are credited as promised, buying 2,000 miles for only $26.09 is a pretty good value by itself.  Even with the most recent purchase bonus, US Airways was still selling miles directly for 1.4 cents per miles, and there was a minimum purchase of essentially 20,000 miles to get that price.  This route allows you to obtain miles for only 1.3 cents per mile, plus you get a domain address to go with it.

 

This weekend I have hotel stays that will account for hits 17 and 18.  Both were planned outside of the Grand Slam, so aren’t costing us anything extra out-of-pocket for the hits.  I really have no idea how to count those types of hits in my cost total – suggestions?

To date I have completed the requirements for 16 hits and have spent about $128.85 (including money I would have spent anyway).  16 hits gets me 25,000 US Airways miles!  I could have easily scored 16 hits for well under $100 if I’d been more patient about my e-rewards and e-miles hits and got rid of the two most expensive hits.  I think I would have come in around $75 if I went that route.  $75 investment (not counting your time) for a free domestic round-trip ticket – yes, please!  For me the 16 hits threshold will just be a short stop on my way up the hit ladder.  I have bigger numbers in mind.  🙂

Where do you stand?  What is your goal for hits/$$$ invested?

By the way, for those who only are interested in the very low-cost hits, I plan to start playing the Grand Slam for The Man next week.  He will only be doing very low cost hits, and will be playing for 12-16 hits maximum. 

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Comments

  1. I think an OK way of calculating the stuff that would occur regardless of the GS is to calculate the difference in points value.

    e.g. I have a Hyatt stay coming up. The room costs $188 for the night. That would get me 940 Hyatt points (as a basic member). At 2 cents per point, that’s $18.80.

    Instead, I’m pushing to US Airways for the stay and that will yield 500 miles. I value US Airways around 1.5 cents per point which equals $7.50.

    $18.80 – 7.50 = $11.30 is what I’m leaving on the table by pushing to US Airways instead of Hyatt. So that’s what I’m writing down in my cost column.

    It’s not the best way but I think it’s fair.

  2. For me it will be either 20p or 28p.

    I gave calculated that 20p will cost me close to 130.00
    and net me 35K miles. Then again, I bought some things I needed so my actual cost may be much less

    28point will get me 60K but will cost me close to $320.00 ( some car rentals and two hotel stays but one was already planned anyway). Trying to avoid Hotel point exchanges as I value those.

    I already have 82k miles so not sure I want to spend to much this time. So 28p is my limit. If anything could go for 32 points…but then expenses will really add up

    Decisions, decisions.

  3. I believe the club membership is actually more flexible than you stated. From the US Airways site:

    *To visit a Star Alliance lounge, other than Continental’s Presidents Clubs and United’s Red Carpet Clubs, you’ll need to present a same-day boarding pass for travel on any Star Alliance flight. You must show your US Airways Club Membership Card to enter United and Continental lounges.

    So you can get into the US Air, United, and Continental clubs anytime. You can get into the other Star Alliance clubs if you have a same day ticket.

    • @AZguy, you are absolutely correct. Thanks for pointing that out – all fixed now. I think I was still reading it from my “Platinum Amex” point of view where you usually needed a same day ticket on that airline to gain entry to most clubs (other than US Airways). This benefit will be even better than I originally thought!

  4. The cost of a hotel stay that you were going to make anyway is the points foregone — ie what are you giving up in order to earn the hit? That’s the opportunity cost.

    So if it’s a $100 Hyatt stay credited to US Airways for 500 miles instead of points, as a Diamond member you are giving up 650 points (you still get the 1000 point Diamond check-in amneity). So let’s say the value of those 650 points is $13. Those 500 miles cost you $13 (roughly, probably more fair to value at $10.)

  5. Am I to understand that you’re only working your own account on this one?

    I’m doing mine, my wife’s, and one each for my two kids. I can’t do everything for all of us, but ordering Biscoff x4 isn’t a lot harder than ordering x1. Same with the toolbar, the mall, Skymall, points.com, etc. Once you do one, you know the website, and the second, third, fourth are fast.

    • @Joe, yep just working on mine so far. Truthfully my budget and time are just already stretched to the max. Being my first GS, I just wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Now that I have done many of my hits, I am going to do the cheap and easy ones for my husband and possibly daughter. I agree it is good to play for multiple family members at the same time if at all possible. That may be my approach next year!

  6. I decided to only include dollars in the cost that I wouldn’t have otherwise spent. You can look at it a hundred different ways. For instance I transferred 2500 SPG points (PAIN…) and technically it didn’t cost me any dollars so I put it down as a $0 cost, but if I value those at say $0.015 then technically it cost me $37.50. I figured if I have spend I was going to do anyway (say the ORD DO hotel spend) I am not counting that in the total. 🙂

  7. MommyPoints – I would only count costs that you purposely accrue for theGS event. So if you werent going to get a domain name then count it. But if its a cost you were already going to get then its should be counted in my book. Hey do I get any extra credit for spawning the “Hot Mommy Points” moniker?? Dang I didnt trademark it. Feel free to use it as a way to say thanks for the informational and entertaining site 🙂

    • @Chris, I have to admit I am deferring a bit to the ones who have played in previous years re: the coupon code issue. There are some retailers that it seems to be a definite no-no (or the discount applied is just not great enough to warrant the risk. For me, this hit would have been too expensive without the coupon code, so I am taking the risk. Some of the floral hits seem to be ones that coupon codes are a no-go, but Super Shuttle, Thanks Again (restaurant.com), and others seem to thus far be unaffected by coupon codes. I guess we will know more when the actual hits start posting soon.

  8. If you are offered Food for the Poor on e-miles you can donate a one-time $5 donation for a 100 points. The wording makes you think you have to do $20 but $5 is the minimum.

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