$81.68 for 25,000 miles/free domestic round trip ticket! (US Airways Grand Slam)

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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 QuestionsFeel 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.

Alternate hits:

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.

Summary:

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!

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Nice summary. A good 1-800-flowers hit is the Fannie May Peanut Brittle for $11.99 + shipping (click on the Fannie May tab and search for brittle). After you add shipping it might be slightly more than a cheap rental car hit, but you (or a loved one) will get a tasty treat out of it.

  2. Does opening a sharebuilder account result in a soft or hard pull on your credit score?
    Is it a soft or hard pull with the Bank of america debit card?

  3. I have been doing e-rewards since 2005 and one of my accounts I just noticed has been deactivated. If you do not have an e-rewards account, it might always be worth it to email info@e-rewards.com and see if they will send you an invitation or reinstate your account. I am waiting to hear back from them.

  4. Do you know how quickly miles from Amazon purchases should post? I bought something on Oct 1 and nothing so far. Should I be worried?

  5. Is it against blog rules to ask if anyone wants to split the cost for a mile-sharing hit? If not, any takers? I would much rather have a guaranteed hit than to buy a useless book from Vinesse and come out empty-handed. E-mail me at brianb032@yahoo.com if interested. :o)

    • @Brian, not against my rules. 🙂 Look for the Grand Slam Day 23 post. I think there is someone else looking to share in the comments section there. GL!

  6. When I set up the Sharebuilder account, I had to enter my bank account number and saw that I will be charged about $12 a month to keep it open. Any word out there on how long I have to keep it open?

    • @Dawn, did it force you to select that option? Two days ago I was able to just put in the bank info, but not get on a plan or fund the account. There was an option to set up a plan, but it wasn’t required. Has that changed? If you do get any subscription type service through the GS, you have to keep it open through May 2012, so not a good deal just for a hit.

  7. In my son’s account I did not see the 3k posted and it is time to follow up again. I am sure US Air will pull the “but you did not register” crap. I don’t think I ever got the email confirm on that one but I know I DID register (no screen shot, I should know better)…So, what is the best way to follow up? It will be nice to post a summary of the recommended way to follow up as I am sure others will be on the same boat soon:-) Post numbers and/or email addresses. Thanks!

  8. I have a better skymall one for you free shipping, Replacement Blades 12-in. it was around 7.00 including tax. I hope people can use it

  9. I created a sharebuilder account on Oct 6 and it did not make me link a bank account. My account seems to be created and everything. However, I have not received the miles yet. Do we know if this hit is still working? Do I need to go back and link a bank account to get the miles? Thanks!

  10. If I did a search on the shopping mall toolbar, and then made a purchase through one of the choices that came up (something I needed to buy anyway), does that count as a Shopping Mall Purchase? The toolbar just says I earned 1 mile this month.
    Thanks!

  11. @gpapdop, I will add that to the list to post about. Sorry you are having trouble with his account!

    @Tmoney, thanks, I will add that to the post. Not quite as useful at my house as batteries, but certainly a little bit cheaper!

    @Lyssa, it didn’t make me do that either with my account, just my husband’s. I would give it a little longer and see what happens.

    @Chrissy, that should work. You should receive a hit for using the toolbar and for using the shopping portal. Good job!

    @garipi, I think that Office Max is turning into a problem. I hope to do a post on that very soon. In the meantime, I do recommend following up with them. (I need to do it, too). You can call them at: 800-283-7674 or contact them online at: https://www.officemax.com/customerservice/orderInquiry.jsp?tabType=orderInquiry

  12. I did hits for both Biscoff and Wine Insiders almost three weeks ago. The purchases went through and the stuff I bought was shipped to me in only a couple of days. But the points (and the hit) have still not shown up in my USAirways account. I emailed USAirways about this; no reply. I am SURE I entered my frequent flyer number when making these purchases; that’s the number #1 rule in this game. Is anyone else having trouble waiting such a long time to get hits credited?

  13. where can you see the hits you make in the grand slam. have gone into my account in the usair homepage but dont see anything. I am registered for grand slam

  14. Thanks for laying this all out! I am trying some of the other hits. Still nothing from Sharebuilder from an account opened on 10/6. Following the thread on FT, I think this deal may be dead without doing a trade??? Did your husband get the hit, and if so, what day did you open his account?

    Thanks again for sharing this information, it is very well presented and easy to follow. 🙂

    • @Lyssa, I don’t remember exactly what day I did his off-hand. I know it was last week though. It has not yet posted. I’m going to give it a little more time before I make a trade, but won’t be that big of a deal if we have to do that to get the hit. Not as good as free though!

  15. Everytime I click the register for sharebuilder link from he usairway site it ask for a promo code…do I leave this blank or do I need to enter something? Thanks!

  16. @banada, I do my best to get to all questions, but I do miss some sometimes. 🙂 Sorry for the delay. To answer you original question, there is no official way to track hits on US Airways. You just need to go into your Dividend Miles account and if the different transactions are posting there, you will be fine. Some post within a few days, some take a few weeks, and some take over a month to post. When the bonus miles post every two weeks (one happened last night), you can tell (to the lowest interval of four) how many hits US Airways is counting for you. Hope that helps!

    • @Wenjie, it comes it Step 2 at checkout if you have linked from the US Airways site. Hopefully that helps you out! I have had to play with it from different browsers at times to get it to work.

  17. hey sister! great site!
    with regards to e-rewards, I don’t see a way to transfer dollar to us airways miles. how are you doing this?
    i see that i can spend $25 to e-miles, and then maybe transfer the email to us airways for a hit.
    but nothing directly with e-rewards. can you speak a bit more to what you are doing there?

  18. thanks for info re where to see hits. with audience rewards do you just have to register to get a hit or do you need to acrue a certain amount of points.or do you need to purchase a ticket? I am a little confused as to when this one is regarded as a hit. tks…great site.

  19. I went to make a super shuttle reservation, but it mentioned the following:

    “Please check in with SuperShuttle when you arrive at 10/15/11 12:43 PM. Once you have checked in with us, you will be grouped with other passengers going in the same direction and the next available van going to your area will be sent to pick you up. (Due to security at airports, even with a reservation we can not have a van waiting for you at the curb. Our vans wait in nearby “holding lots” and once you have checked in with us, a van will be sent for you and the other people going in your same direction.)”

    Will I still receive the hit, even though I am not checking in at the SS counter?

    • @FriendlySkies, pretty sure that is a normal message. It is just letting you know a shuttle won’t just be there and waiting for you, which is good, since you won’t be there waiting for it. 🙂

  20. amazon counts for the shopping portal? so i can order textbooks and get a hit? that seems too good to be true..can anyone confirm?

    • @FriendlySkies, I don’t really use the toolbar, so I can’t speak from personal experience how reliable it is or isn’t…..but if you linked from the US Airways website, you should be fine. Most are having to follow-up with Office Max to get the miles to post anyway, so just be ready to call or email them in a week or two if the miles don’t show up. 🙂

  21. Thank you for your post, it is very helpful. I have two questions: First, did your Audience Rewards triva points count as a hit, b/c it looks like mine did not. Second question, did your husbands Sharebuilder points post without doing a trade. I just linked my account to my bank (originally didn’t but didn’t get the points), so just curious if this will give me my points or if I need to make a trade.

    Thanks!!!!

    • @Ang, they do seem to have counted as a hit on both accounts I am playing (and for others who have reported their hits as well) – not sure if anything has changed recently. Also, I did go ahead and fund and purchase a stock yesterday as I have a feeling the “loop hole” to get points without doing so has closed. There is no harm in waiting a bit longer to see if it will work for you, but I went ahead and spent a few dollars to get this hit. I plan to post about that soon.

  22. thank you for your great site. I downloaded the toolbar and I am not sure its a hit for me. the icon to the right of special offers is greyed out and it says not earning.also no miles are posted in my account for the toolbar yet the search button tells me how many searchs. Its only 1 hit if it doesnt work but it would be nice if it did as I am counting it into my 16 hits. any advise appreciated.

    • @banada, the toolbar miles only post once per month. I expect the next posting to be during the first week of November. It should say on the toolbar how many miles you have earned. As long as you can get it to say at least one mile (by doing three valid searches on the toolbar) you should be good to go.

  23. Is the Dividend Miles Shopping Portal (hit 10) different than Skymall (hit 14)? I guess I don’t see the difference, if there is one.

    • @TJG, it is a little confusing because there shopping portal is sometimes referred to as Skymall, but in this instance the Dividend Miles Shopping portal is one hit and the actual retailer Skymall is another hit. You can access the retailer Skymall from this site. Hope that helps!

  24. Hi There,
    Do you think it is too late in the game, in terms of getting hits posted and/or counted before the deadline, to go after the 16 hits? I’m already more than half-way there and was wondering if I should go all out for the rest, or more, but I’m a bit concerned about how the timing will work so close to the end of the Grand Slam. Thanks for any advice.

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