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I have been promising for some time now to share how I have played the Grand Slam using my husband’s account. While I am trying to go as high as I can afford on my account, I am just trying to get to the 16 hit/25,000 mile level with his account. I think that if you are going to play the Grand Slam but don’t want to go “all in”, this is a good threshold to attempt. 25,000 miles gets you a free round-trip domestic/Canada flight on US Airways or it’s partners (of which United/Continental is my favorite!), so I put the value of that at least at $300 – sometimes more. If flights cost much less than that, it is often smarter to just buy the flight and save your miles. So, my goal was to determine the minimum amount of money I could invest to get a “free” flight on his account. In order to make it where you could replicate his hits, I also am not using any hotel stays or hotel point transfers. His account is starting as a clean slate.
In case you are brand new to the Grand Slam (or are now inspired by this post to play!), make sure you first obtain a US Airways Dividend Miles account and register for the Grand Slam. If you don’t register before you start making your hits/transactions, they won’t count! Most of these hits require linking from US Airways to another site to make your purchase, so for that reason I will not be listing the links here. Whenever you are making a purchase, make sure that your Dividend Miles number is entered somewhere on the website so that you get credit for your purchase.
Also if you are new, it may help to read this introductory Grand Slam post as well as this post on Frequently Asked Questions. Feel free to ask me some here as well! Also extremely useful are the Grand Slam forums on both Milepoint and Flyertalk. Much of my info originated from one of those two sites. Million Mile Secrets and I must be on the same wave-length today, because he also posted his version of an inexpensive pathway to 16 hits today that you can check out for even more ideas on how to obtain your hits.
I am posting hits that are very inexpensive, but are for things you will probably get some use out of anyway. You can of course substitute in different items if you find something that will be more useful for your family (just make sure the items you select still earn miles!)
Okay, let’s play ball……
Hit 1. Download Dividend Miles Shopping Toolbar and complete three searches – free
This was was pretty simple. Just download the Dividend miles toolbar and complete three searches. I think I searched for Gap, Pottery Barn, and diapers. The toolbar keeps track of your searches, so you know when you have completed three valid searches as it will list the number and display the number of miles you earned by using the toolbar. You must complete your searches in the actual toolbar that will be at the top of your screen.
Hit 2. Points.com – Swap other points into Dividend Miles – free
Once you join Points.com, you need to enter your frequent flyer account information from various programs, so that you can swap miles into US Airways miles. Each program has its own minimum mileage requirements. I will share what worked for me, but the easiest way to see what options you have is to click on “exchange” in the US Airways section.
Then select US Airways as your program and enter “1″ next to the “how many?” box. Select search now, and your options will be revealed. The options presented will be directly related to the frequent flyer programs that you entered. Hotel and other rewards programs (like Best Buy) can also present good exchange options.
There are tons of different ways to do this hit, see my hit tally for different options, but for The Man’s account we turned three Best Buy Reward Zone points into one US Airways mile.
Hit 3. e-Miles – free
This hit takes about two weeks on average to complete if you are doing it the “free” route. Make sure you use an “extra” email address, because most likely you will get a lot more email after you complete this hit than you did before. Sign-up using the link from the US Airways website. You should end up with about 275 miles after you complete all the initial interest surveys. You need a minimum of 500 miles to transfer. Once you hit the 500 mile minimum click on the “Deposit Miles” option on the upper right-hand side of the screen. If you want a quicker route, you will usually get offers to make donations or purchase magazines to earn miles quickly after a week or so of completing surveys.
Hit 4. e-Rewards – free
This is a tricky hit because you have to be invited to participate in e-Rewards and there is no known direct way to solicit an invitation. You may have received an invitation before and just ignored it. Do a search in your email accounts for e-rewards. Just make sure that US Airways is a transfer partner before you start filling out surveys. I have been working on this hit for a month – it takes a long time. Start on this one right away if you want to try and use it. I will list an alternate hit in case you don’t have an invitation for e-Rewards, or in case you just never get to the $25.00 minimum required to transfer.
Hit 5. Sharebuilder – “free”
This is a hit that is stretching the rules a bit, but it has been working. If you set up an account and link a bank account to it (when I played for myself that wasn’t required – but a couple weeks later it was for my husband) it seems to give you 2,500 bonus miles and a hit even if you never fund the account or make a trade. To play it safe, you could always fund it and purchase a cheap stock. Plenty to pick from these days! But, it has been working for free and that is how we have played it thus far.
Hit 6. Magazines for Miles – free
You need to have at least 400 miles in your account to do this hit, so if you are starting from scratch, wait until you earn some miles from other transactions to do this hit. Basically you are spending 400 miles to get a magazine subscription and a hit. Don’t confuse this with the magazine site that has you pay money for magazines – this is Magazines for Miles. My husband ordered Fast Company for 500 miles. I ordered Sunset for 400 miles on my account. Easy, free, and somewhat useful hit!
Hit 7. Audience Rewards – free
Just register with Audience Rewards to earn points by answering Broadway Trivia questions (make sure you register to earn US Airways miles). Super easy and kind of fun. I know that there are no trivia questions up today to answer, but I think they may very well come back. InACents is my go-to guy for the answers, so check his site in the coming days to see if new questions are up.
Hit 8. 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 ended, but the code SALE is currently working to give you 70% off. This hit should not cost your more than $1-$2 and you can use the coupon you buy to save money on your next trip out to eat. Double win! Just make sure you are going to Thanks Again through the US Airways website and then going from Thanks Again to Restaurant.com. You have to register a credit card with Thanks Again and then use that card to make your Restaurant.com purchase.
Notice you are already at 8 hits/10,000 bonus miles and you have only spent $1!!! If you want to stop here with virtually no financial investment, you absolutely can!
Hit 9. US Airways Dining Program – $2.17
I registered a card that is not registered with any other dining program with US Airways Dining and went to buy a $1.99 Vitamin Water from a participating sandwich shop. I enjoyed a nice cold beverage, and a cheap hit. If you are a new member with the US Airways Dining program, you can also get 1,000 US Airways miles for making two $25 dines within your first 45 days of joining.
Hit 10. Dividend Miles Shopping Portal – $3.09
You have virtually limitless options on this hit, but we ordered a Crest 3D Vivid Toothpaste from Walmart.com (linking through the US Airways portal) and it came to $3.09 with no shipping fee. Useful and a hit. Smile big and pretty now!
Hit 11. Super Shuttle – $4 – tip (optional)
This one feels wasteful, but it is a cheap hit. Basically, you just register online for a Super Shuttle trip that you aren’t actually going to be on. Of course, if you can, in fact, use a Super Shuttle trip for your travel, that is even better! Otherwise, just book at trip online from the Phoenix Airport (PHX) to the Phoenix Airport Aloft Hotel. If you input code UYR59, it should bring the price down to $4. I added a dollar for tip and put a note in the comments section that said “Don’t wait for me if I miss the shuttle”. This hit has been posting pretty reliably.
Hit 12. Office Max – $10.60
We ordered a 7.5 oz Dial Basics hand soap for this hit. Can’t have too much soap with a toddler running around the house! The soap came in an embarrassingly large box and the shipping price is high, but just suck up the high shipping cost and get the hit. You may find something even more useful for your home than soap – paper clips perhaps??
Hit 13. Vinesse – $10.70
This hit is also not exactly within the rules as it states you are to order a wine club membership, but the hit seems to be functioning with just a wine accessory purchase. We purchased a Quick Chill Wine Cooler that came to $10.70 with shipping. I am not seeing that item available currently, however, I did find either a $14.95 wine label remover or a wine tasting notebook. Both are not exactly useful in my life, so you could just try waiting a week or two to see if the wine cooler comes back into stock. It is crazy how the Grand Slam can impact retailer stock!
Hit 14. Skymall – $12.17
On my account I ordered two 9v Batteries for $1.98 plus shipping, but the cheapest useful item I found available today was a four-pack of AA batteries for $3.99. The shipping on this deal is steep, but unavoidable if you want a valid hit for a small purchase. So, for a grand total of $12.17 we are getting four batteries and a hit.
Mommy Points reader T Money also suggested buying 12 inch replacement blades for a shower squeegee for about $7. There is no shipping fee for that item. Thanks!
Hit 15. Biscoff – $18.95 (Update cheaper item now available)
10/11 Update: The $12.95 Anna’s Trial Cookies have returned! They come to $17.95 with shipping, but are simply delicious. Grab them while they are hot!
The price of this hit has creeped up throughout the Grand Slam, and is currently up to just under $19, but the product you get is super yummy. It is Biscoff spread and you will get addicted. If you prefer to buy cookies, you can for just slightly more financial investment. They are also delicious. I’m warning you, they are really addictive!
Hit 16. Hertz Rental – $19.00
This one can be used up to six times, so you can substitute it in if another hit isn’t working for you (like e-Rewards). We scheduled the rental for one hour (though never actually took it at all) and just explained what we were doing to the manager. She thought it was hilarious, but was happy to have our business. If you have use for a rental, then keep it for a day! With the baby and car seats and all it was easier for us to just not take the car, but might as well put some miles on it if you are so inclined. Anyway, use CDP code #211762 and PC (Promotional Code) 162330. The CDP code is technically for use by American Express Platinum card holders, but it seems to work just fine for everyone. Read this post to find out more about this hit.
Grand Total: $81.68 if you play the hits as listed! In the interest of full disclosure, we actually did not do e-Rewards on this account and instead shared miles bringing our actual cost for 25,000 bonus miles to just over $100. On top of the bonus miles, we earned several thousand other miles for the transactions we made. Even at $100, it is still an awesome value for 25,000 bonus miles, some items that we can actually use, and a lot of fun! The UPS guy loves us these days.
In case you want some different options, in addition to the Hertz rental that you can do up to six times, purchasing from 1-800-Flowers and sharing miles can be good hits that can be had for around $20. Just be careful you aren’t getting an ineligible sale item from 1-800-Flowers. People have been hitting a lot of “foul balls” with that lately, so I left it off the official list. To share miles, just make sure you are splitting the cost either across two accounts that you are playing for, or with someone online. That will bring the cost down to about $20 per account (plus the 1,000 miles that you have to transfer from one account to the other). Another relatively inexpensive hit is Track it Back that comes in around $25.00. If you want some more miles earned for your hit, you can get a Bank of America US Airways debit card for $30 annual fee. Just use it to make one purchase and you get 3,000 bonus miles. I did that one on my account.
There you have it, the cheapest path I know of to 25,000 miles/free domestic ticket! Please be sure to read up on the Grand Slam (and register) before you start doing these hits. For most hits, coupon codes are your enemy as they may invalidate the hit, and make sure you are linking to all sites directly from the US Airways site and entering in your Dividend Miles number somewhere on the retailer’s website. Let me know if I can help and good luck!