Mommy Points 2011 US Airways Grand Slam Final Tally

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I’ve been wanting to recap the US Airways Grand Slam for a little while now, but it almost seems like old news already in the miles and points world since there always seems to be something new popping up.  That is a good problem to have, but I did want to make the time to see how I made out on the 2011 US Airways Grand Slam.  More importantly, I want to hear how you did!

This was my first year playing the Grand Slam.  I had certainly heard of it before, but it sounded overly complicated and expensive.  Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to go for it this year.  At first, I had a very low target of around 24 hits.  That quickly got bumped to 28, then to 32, and then on to 36.  It turned out to be not as complicated or as expensive as I had previously thought.  That being said, it certainly did require some time investment, and it certainly wasn’t free.  When I decided to go for more hits, I also decided on what I was playing for.  My target became 110,000 miles so that my husband and I could both fly round-trip to Europe in Envoy/Business class.  He is just too tall to comfortably fly over about four hours in coach, and this promo gave us a great way to be able to save a stash of miles just for us.  Normally those awards are 60,000 miles during the Jan 15 – Feb 28 “off peak” season to Europe, but with the US Airways MasterCard, I save 5,000 miles on each ticket bringing the cost down to 55,000 miles per ticket.  Anyway, that trip became my target, and that goal made a larger financial Grand Slam investment “worth it” on my part.

I also played my husband’s account just to the 16 hit level so that we would have enough miles in his account for a 25K domestic round-trip ticket to use at some point in the future.  We were able to do that for under $82 (and much of that was money that would have been spent anyway), so it was a very worthy investment, even if we do redeem those miles for a moderately priced domestic ticket.

While I am very well aware that points and miles have a value, I am not including a monetary value for points that I transferred in from other programs or otherwise lost by crediting hotel stays to US Airways.  You may want to determine your “cost” differently than I am, but I am more concerned with what this cost me out of pocket than I am how many Hyatt or SPG points I missed out on.

Mommy Points Grand Slam final tally:

1.  Twitter Contest: Free (500 miles)

2.  Biscoff : Anna’s Trial Size Assortment – $13.47 (264 miles)

3.  Skymall: 9v alkaline batteries – $9.99 (6 miles)

4.  1-800-Flowers: Birthday Puppy – $15.00 (140 miles)

5.  Audience Rewards: free (2 miles)

6.  Thanks Again: Restaurant.com: $1.00 (3 miles)

7.  Dividend Shopping Mall: Pottery Barn – $5.00 (15 miles)

8.  Mags for Miles: free (-400 miles)

9.  Starwood Hotel Points transfer: free (-1500 SPG points +1500 US Airways miles)

10.  Track it Back: $24.94 (500 miles)

11.  Dining Program: $2.17 (6 miles)

12.  Dividend Miles Shopping Toolbar searches: free (1 mile)

13.  Super Shuttle: $11.50 (50 miles)

14.  Points.com: free (-4 American Airlines miles +1 US Airways mile)

15.  Hertz car rental: $19.67 (150 miles)

16.  Network Solutions: $26.09 (2,000 miles)

17.  Office Max: Dial Basics Liquid Soap – $10.60 (5 miles)

18.  Hyatt Hotel stay: no additional cost (500 miles)   I am not counting any of my hotel stays as expenses, because they were all already planned for other reasons and would have happened with or without the Grand Slam.

19.  Starwood Hotel stay: no additional cost (603 miles)

20.  Bank of America US Airways Debit Card: $32.17 (3,003 miles)

21.  e-Miles: free (500 miles)

22.  ShareBuilder: $9.00 (2,500 miles)

23.  Share miles: $20.38 (I shared miles with my husband’s account but this account lost 1000 miles)

24.  Vinesse: wine cooler accessory: $10.70 (50 miles)

25.  Hertz car rental: $20.00 (50 miles)

26.  Hyatt hotel stay: no additional cost (500 miles)

27.  Hertz car rental: $20.00 (50 miles)

28.  FTD: Halloween cookies – $42.00 (800 miles)

29.  Teleflora: Golden Glow flowers – $44.98 (750 miles)

30.  Hertz rental: $20.00 (50 miles)

31.  Hertz rental: $20.00 (50 miles)

32.  Wyndham Rewards Hotel Point transfer: free (3,200 miles)  As I write this I am realizing that Million Mile Secrets never let me pay him back with a different hotel point transfer hit for his account!  Daraius, I still owe you! 

33.  Club Carlson Hotel Point transfer: free (8,000 points to 1,000 miles)

34.  Hertz rental: $20.00 (50 miles)

35.  Starwood hotel stay: no additional cost (864 miles)

36.  Starwood hotel stay: no additional cost (399 miles)

37.  Safety hit.  Hyatt hotel stay: no additional cost (500 miles)

If you want a much more detailed account of each hit, check out my Grand Slam Hit Tally.

My total out of pocket cost was $398.66 for 37 hits.  Those 37 hits netted me a total of approximately 120,000 miles.

Holy moly, that is a phenomenal value.  I just can’t get over how worth it this promotion was for my family.  The greatest thing is that, with the exception of the $120 spent on Hertz rentals, my family actually found a way to use most of the items purchased for this promotion.  So, our “true cost” is probably much lower than $398.  If I would have had the US Airways credit card in time and/or been able to receive enough survey invitations from e-Rewards, my cost could have been even lower.

As of right now my US Airways account has 99,530 miles in it, most of which were from this promotion.  I am still waiting for my last tier bonus for 36 hits to post.  I think it should post around Thursday of this week, if it isn’t delayed due to the holiday.  The only hit I am still waiting on to post is my last Hyatt stay, but even without it I am at 36 hits.  Or at least that is what it looks like by my count.  I also can’t end this year’s Grand Slam without giving a final thank you to Beltway on Flyertalk and SC Flier on Milepoint.  They both were fantastic at keeping Grand Slam information organized and on-point in those respective forums.  I could not have done near as well as I was able to do without their work.  I hope they both decide to do this again next year.  I also must thank all of you who helped and contributed both to me and each other in emails and comments.  This was a team effort!

I have one more planned US Airways post that will outline some of the lessons learned from this year, and some ways to position yourself for a successful Grand Slam in 2012 – assuming they do it again.  Now for the most important question, how did you do?  I would love to know not only how you did, but also what you plan to use your miles for!

Reminder, follow me @mommy_points on Twitter if you want to stay in the loop on quick moving miles and points deals, or just have fun goofing off while Tweeting with me. 

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  1. I ended up with 28 points – free round-trip to Europe! Already got my lessons learned post for tomorrow, stay tuned!

    Enjoy Europe!

  2. I did 36 hits, but I am waiting for network solution and FTD. I am a little worry about network solution, because most people claim that they did receive 2000 points. My activity date was 10/11/2011, do you think I should contact them now? or wait for december?

  3. I ended up with 21 hits — actually, 24, but 3 didn’t post. Hoping they will post in the future. So far 66,000 miles for those, b/c some of the activities counted in and of themselves, aside from the hits. Awesome value! Thanks so much for all the encouragement!

  4. I ended up with 38 and the wife ended up with 37.

    Cost was just under $400 each as well and we each had about 10K in “earned” miles too…

  5. WIsh I could say the same … I did take the obvious ones (8) but has only credited for 3000 mi rather than 10 as it should have. All 8 “posted” as I can plainly see, but the aggravation factor was high and now gets higher in trying to chase somebody down to get the miles right. Good good for anybody who was successful, but my experience illustrates the question that often looms for me with this hobby – What is your time worth, and when do you reach a point of diminishing returns?

  6. Well I only managed about 25 hits for < $200 additional out of pocket but that was still pretty good. What was nice is I got the US Air mastercard with the 40k sign up and it also reduces "domestic" redemptions to 20k. So we already used that to book my wife a roundtrip weekend to Montreal to see her folks – a flight that would have cost $850 out of pocket (week before Xmas) was just 20k miles. Great value!!!!

  7. Mommy this was the most well run series of blog posts and updates I have seen in quite some time. It may be the perfect topic for next years Chicago Seminars.

    Thanks for your guidance and inspiration. Please drop me an email.

    Rick

  8. I will end up with 36 hits and a cost of about $800 although I have included cost for stuff like Sharebuilder. Like others I’m still waiting for Network solutions and FTD. My wife will end up with 35 hits. Yes 35 because Laquinta…well screwed her. She did a points transfer several weeks before the end but they posted the transaction as 11-17-11 and a post date of 11-17-11. We are fighting it but I don’t have much hope. She had to cancel a stay at Hilton late in the game because of a change in travel plans so she didn’t have any backup hits. Her cost was less and about $400 out of pocket. Next year we will both have our e-rewards and e-miles accounts ready. She is sitting at $23.02 in e-rewards and couldn’t get over the top. Overall it was fun though and rewarding. We are aiming for Envoy to Europe with our points.

  9. First GS for me and my husband. I got 20 hits (17 have posted; waiting on Netflix, shopping mall, and wine insiders). I got 16 for him (13 posted; waiting on sharebuilder, shopping mall, biscoff).

    Other than phantom supershuttle trips and possibly NetSol (which posted for me!), all our spending was for things we could use. We bought it from a different place than normal (ie biscoff cookies instead of from the grocery) and I think our primary cost was more shipping than we’d normally pay.

    We both started with zero points. I now have 36k and he has 14K. Not bad for a fun little game! And WAY better designed and run than United’s Month of Miles!!!

  10. I ended up with 25 hits (3 of which are STILL pending – darn you Office Max!) for around $400, which actually would have been around $300, except that I actually purchased an expensive item that I needed from Office Max (which I’m starting to regret). Anyhow, I was planning on buying up to the next status level if I didn’t fly again before December, and that would have also cost $400, so for the same price, I get the status upgrade and come out about 55,000 extra miles ahead. That is, assuming 2 of these 3 pending hits actually post. If not, I’m seriously SOL, as I put all my eggs in this Grand Slam basket.
    We have our Envoy Class flight to Paris coming up this January that was booked with previous miles, but these new ones are being saved for a Star Alliance biz class flight to Australia, New Zealand, or Tokyo!
    Great promotion, and thanks MP for all your helpful posts!

  11. I ended up with 24 hits for about $315 and received another 13,000 miles from the activities themselves. I could have come in cheaper but spent more at 1800flowers, Skymall, etc., to purchaes more expensive things that actually had value for me instead of the cheapest hit. Appears as if all my hits have posted although I’ve only received the Grandslam bonus for 16 hits – hoping that rectifies itself by end of next week. I played an easy 8 hits each for my wife and brother for less than $20 each (again, spent a little more than bare minimum to get some value).

    Overall, it was a lot of fun although it definitely became an obsession. Wihtout a doubt, my wife thought I was crazy when I headed to the airport for a 20 minute rental the Saturday before end of Grandslam. All in all though, this should net me 68,000 miles and the preferred miles gained will push me into a Preferred level for another year!

    Mommypoints – you had the best explanation and recap of Grandslam that I saw anywhere. In addition, you answered two of my questions extremely quickly and really helped me get to 26 hits. Thanks so much!

  12. I started with the goal of 24 but I kept that. I travel for business and my wife only tolerates my mile/point habits if it doesn’t cost us any extra out of pocket. She isn’t affected by the allure of travel so I had to play the game with minimum out of pocket spend.

    I got 24 hits for me for $66.95 and 16 for her at a cost of $56.54. That gives me a grand total of 120,139 miles in my account and 71,335 in her account.

    We both got 40k bonus because we applied for the USAir MasterCard, thus the elevated results.

  13. 41 for me with 2 still pending. The sweep is wednesday night, so the first thing I do on Xgiving is check my balance. I have two that haven’t posted, FTD from 9-16. Many calls on this one and Choice was posted as a stay as opposed to a transfer and that is bein corrected. I’m working on GS 2012. The early planning is critical. Get your hits early and often so that there is time to correct them if/when they don’t post correctly.

  14. I did 36 as well, but still waiting for a few to post. I have 32 in the bank. I spent a bit more then you did, because I didn’t have as many trips, but not that much more! What a deal.

  15. MP,
    Did you ever get credit for Thanks Again:Restaurant.com? I never rec’d my credit, thus it’s good to do one extra hit for safety!

  16. Mommy- what was the total outlay for your hits? I know that some were going to be spent anyway but the price tag isn’t completely accurate. For instance I ended up with 36 + 1 safety and spent $820 with about $225 that was only for the promotion. There was leisure travel already planned and also business travel that I had no out of pocket for. But I still had to spend $820 and ended up with a hair under 200k miles as a result. Either way a great value.

  17. @deals, great job! I think we probably have a few of the same lessons. 🙂

    @Charles, these type of promos really can be amazing!

    @Jason, that date may have been after the cut-off for the first sweep. It should appear about a week into December, if not I would contact them then.

    @CU, I hope those three missing hits come through. I would follow-up with the companies if they are over-due at this point. Good luck and congrats on the miles you earned!

    @goheerow, 16 hits is a good threshold. You can always do more next time if you want.

    @Richard, fantastic job!

    @dale, hopefully you will get paid out for your next four hits this week when they do the next miles posting sweep. You are right that there is a time investment, and what is “worth it” will vary from person to person.

    @Phil, good job! I hope your wife enjoys her visit to Montreal! We have a visit ourselves coming up there. It is a great use of miles since the tickets are often a bit pricey.

    @Rick, thanks so much. It would be a blast covering this at the Chicago Seminars. Email sent. 😉

    @Dan, sorry to hear about the post date issue. That stinks! Sounds like y’all did very well overall.

    @Anita, good job! I agree this promo is run much better than the Months of Miles promo.

    @G.David, sounds like you did well! Hope that your missing hits post soon. Your travel plans sound exciting as well!

    @goodguy, I was more than happy to help and I am glad to hear you did so well. It does become a bit of an obsession. 😉

    @Zach, good job keeping your out of pocket costs down. For many, that is the best strategy.

    @jimL, I agree that doing hits early is the best strategy for 99% of the hits. I hope we all have a nice side of miles to go with our turkey and gravy on Thursday!

    @IPBrian, having planned trips certainly did help keep expenses for this down. Glad to hear you did so well!

    @Rich, I got ThanksAgain credit on both my and my husband’s account. Mine posted without any issue and I had to send an email to get his to post.

    @Jizzle, I’m sorry but I am not 100% understanding the question. Which part of the price tag isn’t accurate? If you mean because I didn’t count the hotel stays I already planned, that is just my own way of counting expenses since they really going to happen exactly as planned either way. It would have really skewed it in my mind to count that amount because my “true cost” didn’t count that in my mind. I’m not sure now what the hotel stays cost, but I would bet they were close to $1000. If I were to be completing hotel stays solely for this promotion I could have done that for much lower cost – probably around $300 if I took advantage of some of the stays that were identified on Flyertalk. Hope that helps some.

    @Maury, I don’t know quite yet. We will get more serious about specifics as the 330 day window draws near. It will depend in part on availability on dates that will work for us. We are just excited to have a getaway with just the two of us, so we are flexible on weather and destination. My husband has never been to Europe, so it will be an adventure no matter where we go.

    @Quickroute, I hope that they post soon for you! Good job getting up to 32.

  18. Our goal was different from most of you: we wanted to participate but incur no out-of-pocket expense while getting “sure” hits. And, we had no business-related or personal travel during the promotion. So, our total was a modest 12 hits for 15,000 miles. No overpriced cookies or wine, no booked SuperShuttle or rental car no-shows, no $25 tracking stickers, none of that for us.

  19. Firstly, I must agree with the comments above — your posts were very helpful in tracking what’s going on with GS partners and for good ideas for hits. Together with beltway’s thread on FlyerTalk, they helped me get to 24 hits with relative ease. This was my first GS and I started with the idea of just doing the free hits. But, as we all know, it gets addictive, so I went for 16, then 20, and ultimately 24. I’ll probably end up with 25 since I did a miles purchase as a safety hit for some of the last-minute activities, but overall, for couple of hundred bucks (or really less, since some of that was already planned spend), plus the 40K bonus on the US MasterCard, I’ll be over 100,000 mi in my DM account by the time it’s all said and done. I started the year with a little less than 3000 mi. Next year, I’m definitely doing this again AND managing my wife’s account too.

  20. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for continually posting about the Grand Slam deal. I’ve spent the last few weeks following along and it’s been infinitely helpful.

  21. @Josh&Samantha, that is a great goal. That’s one of the best parts of this promotion, it can be done to fit some many different needs and budgets. Good job!

    @Aleks, I am hopefully going to get my husband’s account to a higher level next year as well….maybe even my daughter’s. I’m so glad I was able to help your Grand Slam adventures.

    @Chris, you are more than welcome. Only 10 more months and we get to do it again. 😉

  22. I went all out and got 42 hits. Since I travel a lot for work, the travel hits were easy. I spent $461 that I wouldn’t have spent otherwise but it was worth it – I especially wanted the qualifying miles. My wife and I hope to use the the points on a trip to Hong Kong – though earning the points is easier than using them.

    • @Michael, so true about redeeming sometimes being harder than earning! Maybe I need to do a series on redeeming your US Airways miles earned from the GS. Hong Kong sounds awesome!

  23. This was my first year playing as well. I ended up with 21 hits, but learned a lot this time around. I’m still waiting for two hits to post – Hertz and Thanks Again/Restaurant.com. How long did it take from your activity date until the miles posted? When all is said and done, I’ll have earned 72,231 miles for an outlay of $414.54. I did some of my normal gift shopping to count as a hit (Amazon, FTD, Teleflora, Skymall).

    I’m looking forward to next year and getting a better running start with a goal of 110,000 miles. Thanks for your updates and keeping me excited about this promo!

    • @Tim, I’m looking forward to next year, too. I will also be getting a running start towards 100,000 miles……..maybe for two accounts! We’ll see. As to post dates, Thanks Again took a few weeks. Hertz ranged from about 7-10 days on average for me.

  24. Hit 36 just posted for me…thanks for the help, MP! $371.29 total spend, but I “wasted” 5K Hyatt points, 9K PC points, and 10K Hilton HHonors points.

  25. 30K (for hits 16, 20 & 24) just posted! Still waiting for Biscoff, NetSol to credit…I’m keeping fingers crossed that 21st Century, BofA debit card, and 2 Hertz transfers will count (only 2 of the 4 needed to knock my up to 28!)

  26. quick thought: GS rules & qualification was much more restrictive this year–taking a flight didn’t count & minimum 850 miles transfered in from partner programs made this year more expensive…

    I’m preparing for next year by doing a couple E-Rewards surveys a week so I can pad my hotel accounts.

    I hope they don’t decide to make the requirements even more prohibitive next year; I can just imagine them saying each rental/hotel partner will have max 1 hit…

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