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One of the great free hits of the 2011 US Airways Grand Slam was ShareBuilder. For the first few weeks of the Grand Slam, people who signed up for ShareBuilder were receiving 2,500 bonus points and a hit without even funding the account. The actual terms and conditions indicate that 2,500 Dividend Miles are awarded after their first trade. Clearly there was an automated process that was awarding the miles as soon as someone signed up for the account, instead of waiting until a trade was made. Of course, normal people wouldn’t sign-up for a ShareBuilder account if they weren’t planning on using it, but normal takes on a new meaning when miles and points are involved. 🙂
Since 2,500 miles and a free hit is a killer deal, there was a lot of attention on forums and blogs about this deal during the first week of October. ShareBuilder must have noticed what was going on, and the automated process seems to have gone manual. We can’t really blame ShareBuilder for not handing out free miles like candy on Halloween. So, the bad news is I highly doubt that anyone else will receive the 2,500 miles and the hit without placing a trade. That is just my guess, but I think it is a pretty good one. I’m also not so confident about previous ShareBuilder account holders who are trying to get the bonus and hit by adding a new account. Since the whole process seems to be manual, it may be hard to get a hit that is technically “outside the lines”. I still have my fingers crossed for everyone though!
The good news is that placing a trade is very inexpensive. In fact, it is one of the least expensive hits out there. It also is very easy, so don’t be intimidated! I did an “automatic investment” for my husband last Tuesday. On Tuesdays “automatic investments” are only $4 instead of the usual $9.95. There are some codes out there that offer five free automatic investment trades such as: TAF5ANL*073t0C (thanks Stubtify on this helpful Flyertalk thread). I didn’t personally use any such code as I am always leery of what codes can do to Grand Slam hits, so I can’t vouch for them, but feel free to let me know in the comments section if a code has worked for you. While I think that most of you are more than capable of setting up a ShareBuilder account without any assistance from me, I know I would have been glad to have a little guidance the first time I did it, so here are the steps in case you need a little help.
Here are the steps to fund your account and set-up an “automatic investment”:
1. Assuming you have already set-up your account to attempt to get the free Grand Slam hit, you should be taken to a screen when you sign-in that has “fund your account” as a link under “account value”. Click on that link. If you are starting from scratch then select ShareBuilder from this link and go through the intro steps on your own. Feel free to come back to this post once you hit the “fund your account” portion of the process.
2. Once you click on the “Fund your account” link, you will be taken to a screen where you have to decide from/to what account you want the funding to occur. It was a little weird, as I had to select my ShareBuilder as the “from” account and then it defaulted to allowing me to actually add my bank account info as the “from” account.
3. Once you add your bank account information, click on “Accounts” at the top of the page to take you back to the screen you were at when you logged in. Once there, click on “automatic investments” and then “create”.
4. Select that you have decided on your investments – unless of course you haven’t and you want help. There are countless options on what to purchase, but I kept things inexpensive and simple and entered “SIRI” for the securities symbol and $5 for the amount ($4 will be lost for the auto investment in my case). Note, this is in not way, shape, or form investment advice!! Then press the green plus sign and you will see the information transfer to the right-hand side of the screen. Once it does, press next.
5. Next, enter your investment schedule. I selected “one time” for the frequency and then picked the next Tuesday of the month. It will ask you to select the first, second, third, or fourth Tuesday of the month. If you are reading this post close to when it was written, the next available option will be Tuesday November 1st – which is the first Tuesday of the month. The money will be withdrawn from your bank account on the business day immediately before your investment day.
6. Confirm that everything is correct. You will go through a couple of screens where you confirm that everything is the way you want it to be for your upcoming automated investment. Mine was correct, so I created my investment plan….and helped ensure I will get the hit!
While I scored this hit and the associated miles while it was still free, I have gone ahead and placed an automatic trade just as insurance. I don’t expect them to take back miles previously posted, but I am a pretty risk adverse mama, so I am not taking any chances. My husband’s trade was placed a week ago and his miles have not yet shown up. In fact, it seems that no one has had miles post in the last couple of weeks since the process went manual. I did contact ShareBuilder today via their “contact us” option on their website. I’ll let you know what they say, however it does say that miles can take 6-8 weeks to post, so they are still well within that window. However, since miles were posting within 24-48 hours when it was an automatic process, I decided to at least try to get a little info on a time-frame.
I’m sorry to see this free hit option (apparently) leave. I know it was a great free hit/miles resources for a few years, but it is still a very affordable way to get a Grand Slam hit and 2,500 US Airways Dividend Miles.
Have your miles posted? When did you create your account/make a trade? Also, if you have used any coupon codes to help bring down the commission price, please feel free to share!