School has started, college football has begun, Labor Day has passed, so the big question is, where is the US Airways Grand Slam?  Last year it was first announced via Twitter in mid-August, and then the Grand Slam officially started in mid-September.  The Grand Slam promotion has run every year since 2008, and has become a progressively larger and more lucrative promotion each year.  Last year was my first year to play, and I blogged about my adventures in the Grand Slam so that others could learn from what was or wasn’t working for me.  In the end, I earned about 120,000 miles for my account and spent about $400 above what my normal expenses for travel and purchases would have been during that time period.  That is an insane $0.0033 per mile.  In other words, 1/3 of a cent per mile.  That puts a 25,000 mile domestic round trip award ticket at about $82.50.  Of course, not everyone has extra cash to spend no matter how lucrative, but the beauty of the Grand Slam was that you could still earn a few thousand miles without spending a dime.  There really was something for everyone.

To help those who wanted to maximize their earnings for a possible 2012 Grand Slam, I even did a series of preparation posts.  I did always include a caveat that the Grand Slam isn’t guaranteed, but it did seem like a relatively safe bet given that it had run annually since ’08 and gotten progressively larger each year.

2012 Grand Slam Preparations Part 1: Hotel Points and Partners

2012 Grand Slam Preparations Part 2: Cancel 2012 Subscriptions Now

2012 Grand Slam Preparations Part 3: Join e-Miles Now

2012 Grand Slam Preparations Part 4: e-Rewards

About a month ago it was time to do my next preparation post, but I decided instead to post my concerns that the Grand Slam might not be returning.  It’s hard to keep a good secret in this day and age, and it’s even harder to keep this kind of secret since I know many folks were poking around trying to find US Airways websites with GS 2012 info on it.  That tactic had worked in the past, but it wasn’t working this year.  Additionally, several folks had posted rumors that GS partners had said there wasn’t a GS 2012.  It just started to feel eerily quiet on the Grand Slam front.  In this case, no news probably wasn’t good news.

Around that time many people, myself included, started emailing, Facebooking, and Tweeting US Airways to show our support for the promotion and inquire as to the status for this year.  The responses have varied, but have essentially always neither confirmed nor denied the existence of a 2012 Grand Slam.  The most recent response I see on Twitter regarding this topic was from September 1st.  US Airways stated that they “haven’t released any news regarding GrandSlam this year. Any promotions will be announced on our website first.”  So, as recently as the last few days, US Airways continues to neither confirm or deny the plans for this year.

It is certainly possible that US Airways is indeed keeping the best secret ever, and the Grand Slam will still make an appearance this year, but I’m no longer holding my breath.  I’m not 100% sure why they wouldn’t just share that there isn’t a GS this year if that is the case, but that isn’t the route they have selected thus far.  At some point, folks will stop looking for it, and will just be left with a bad taste in their mouth for not being told the information in a clear and direct way.  Again, unless of course this is just the best kept secret of the century.

I’m also not 100% sure why they would cancel a very popular promotion.  Some people guess it is related to the possible merger with American Airlines.  Some folks guess that the financials didn’t make sense.  Some folks point fingers at blogs like this one for making the promotion too popular/too easy by giving “step by step” instructions for people who wanted to play along.  No doubt blogs helped spread the word about the promotion, but that hardly seems like reason to cancel.  If some of the hits were dubbed as “too easy” as a result of blogs giving step by step instructions, then US Airways always has the option of tightening up on those easier hits, or simply making the whole promotion less lucrative.  They could easily read the blogs (or massive Grand Slam forums on Flyertalk and Milepoint) to figure out how to do that.  US Airways came up with the promotion, so it seems silly to think it would be canceled simply due to being too popular.

If they choose to not have the promotion at all, it seems that there is a better explanation than “blogs killed it”.  I’m not sure the exact reasoning behind remaining silent on one of the most popular promotions in the miles and points world, but I’m all ears if they want to share.  There are some rumors that a 2013 Grand Slam may be in the works, but it seems strange to (seemingly) randomly just skip a year only to bring it back the next year.  If there is some fact in those rumors, maybe it is related to possible merger strategy.  That’s my only guess for why they would want to just skip 2012.  Perhaps they are just waiting to see if the world truly ends in 2012 before wasting time planning such a large promotion.  ;)

None of us should pretend that the Grand Slam was invented for us to have fun and get cheap miles.  It was invented to benefit US Airways.  As a direct or indirect result of the 2011 Grand Slam, I got a US Airways debit card, a US Airways credit card, a US Airways Club membership, spent a good amount of money on their partners, and became much more familiar with their frequent flier program.  I have no doubt that many others did the same.  Those are things that make money for US Airways.  Lots of us continue to consider US Airways and their mileage program because of the nice kick-start we got from the Grand Slam. Some folks also use the “elite qualifying” miles earned from the Grand Slam to make a run for elite status that they might not otherwise have pushed for with US Airways.

I’m certainly not going to boycott US Airways if there isn’t a Grand Slam, but the truth is I won’t have as much of a reason to focus on their program either.  It pays off more to credit some things here and there to US Airways throughout the year when you know you can add to it with the Grand Slam.  Without it, it will be much harder for myself and others to build meaningful Dividend Miles balances.

If you have been preparing for the Grand Slam by building up hotel points accounts, holding onto US Airways credit cards, bolstering eMiles/eRewards balances, or have planned some hotel stays with their partner hotels for this fall I wouldn’t change course just yet.  I would certainly start evaluating other options in the event that the Grand Slam doesn’t happen, but I wouldn’t do anything rash at this time.

Maybe they are trading the “Grand Slam” for the “Grand Touchdown” and “hits” will be replaced with “first downs” during football season later this year.  Yeah, probably not.  I’ll keep you posted the second I learn something definitive about the Grand Slam, but I wanted to share this update since I have been getting emails and comments seeking information about the 2012 Grand Slam.  The short answer is, it’s not currently looking like there is a Grand Slam 2012, but the officials haven’t yet called off the game, either.

 

Posted by Mommy Points | 20 Comments

20 Responses to “It’s September – Where is the US Airways Grand Slam?”

  1. Phil says:

    It’s laughable to blame blogs. Flyertalk still has more readership than all the blogs and they even had a dedicated forum for it last year. If they pulled it due to saturation, that is due to Flyertalk more than anything else.

    I suspect ultimately it just isn’t meeting the goals… whatever they may be but I suspect they want more sustained use of partners. So buying one pack of biscoff a year just wasn’t cutting it

  2. N says:

    I wouldn’t blame the blogs, but I do think the level of interest in getting quick/cheap miles has grown exponentially, to the point where promotions need to be evaluated more carefully by banks/airlines. I don’t know the numbers on how many people participate in a promo like Grand Slam, but obviously the economics of it vary significantly if 1,000 people earn the max 100K miles, versus if 10,000 people do.

    Let’s face it — over the past couple of years, the credit card bonuses have gotten worse, loopholes are getting closed quickly, and promotions like this are no longer running.

  3. Alan says:

    of course it was the blogs, the blogs directed people to FT. Bloggers kill the deals. I did GS for a few years already and it is no doubt killed by bloggers.

  4. Kevin says:

    I know someone who works at McD. Their board game promo only runs a few weeks, but they work on it almost year round. That’s in addition to their normal work. Very time consuming and sometimes hard to get everything squared away with the vendor partners. Sometimes, it might be marketing and legal don’t see eye to eye. I’m still holding out hope that a 2012 GS will happen and they’re just fine tuning a great promo.

  5. Maury says:

    I am holding on to hotel points for the hope of GS 2012. I am starting to think I am doing it in vain.

  6. jesse o says:

    Why is it dead?

    “In the end, I earned about 120,000 miles for my account and spent about $400 above what my normal expenses for travel and purchases would have been during that time period. That is an insane $0.0033 per mile. In other words, 1/3 of a cent per mile. That puts a 25,000 mile domestic round trip award ticket at about $82.50″

    That’s why.

  7. Stephan says:

    I’ve been wondering about all those people that constantly keep posting: Just wait for the GS! This or that deal pales by comparison…Maybe there isn’t any news because there isn’t a GS!

    I would agree that there may not be enough incentive for US Airways to do this anymore, especially since their program will merge into AA with the merger that seems inevitable.

  8. Steve says:

    Maybe GS 2012 already started and just no one knows about it :)

    If USAir mgt isn’t careful, Spirit Airlines may just pick up the slack…

    [ ] For every 5 nights at a Best Western, you get a free pillow on a Spirit one way trip from any city starting with “Q”

    [ ] For every 10 purchases off MCD’s $1 menu, you get to stow luggage weighing less than 10 lbs in the overhead

    [ ] For every 34 purchases at the Dollar Store, you get $5 off your next RT, that is, assuming you are willing to stand up on the flight and not occupy a seat

    [ ] For every purchase of horseradish root at a Safeway store, you get the privilege of paying $5 for water

    Nah, who needs USAir, when we have Spirit filling da void…

  9. mommypoints says:

    @Phil, no doubt that FT has way more traffic than blogs. I agree that the real reason it isn’t around is way more likely to be tied to either it not meeting goals or it having already met the goals and it is no longer needed than because it became too popular.
    @N, there are certainly more folks participating in these sorts of things now than in the past. 2012 is nothing like 2011 in terms of some bonuses and promotions, but we are still experiencing way more cheap and easy ways to get miles than there were a few years ago.
    @Alan, so it would be the blogs fault because they pointed more folks to FT? Well, at least that is a new argument I haven’t heard before. For what it’s worth, I do think bloggers kill some deals…but those deals are not typically public promotions like the US Airways Grand Slam.
    @Kevin, I like your optimism.
    @Maury, I think you and I are in the same boat.
    @Jesse O, ha ha. You may be right. Of course, I did say that those are expenses above what I would have had during that period. I would not have been crediting hotel stays to US Airways, I would not have been using their portals, getting their credit cards, learning more about their program, etc. There is value for them that isn’t seen in additional dollars spent at that moment. However, maybe it just wasn’t enough value.
    @Stephan, folks have grown to expect the GS, so it is a bit of shift now that it isn’t looking good at all.
    @Steve, ha ha! I would love if another airline started a similar promo (though I hope it would be someone other than Spirit!)

  10. Lively says:

    Here’s a link that says 17-22 trillion ff miles go used each year. Don’t know if it’s the truth, but just sayin’.
    http://www.quora.com/Frequent-Flyer-Miles-Programs/How-many-unused-frequent-flier-miles-are-there-worldwide

  11. BLT says:

    Phil, believe it or not, must FTers in the community don’t churn CCs and attempt to exploit offers like GS.

  12. G. David says:

    Just got an email from US Airways – looks like their fall promo this year is just to extend the buy one get one miles on Points.com!

    At this point, it’d be nice if they even did the 50% bonus on hotel points transfers, since I’ve been saving up a lot of them just for GS2012. Might as well get some miles…

  13. Sherpa says:

    I, like you mommypoints, am holding onto certain balances until the Grand Slam is either confirmed or denied. I agree with your argument that if they were not going to run GS12, they would have just come out and said it already. But, I am also getting a little frustrated and speculate that perhaps their partner participation has dropped (I know at least one that won’t be renewing – TrackBack). I’ll be hoping like you are, and holding on to completely unrelated occurrences of likewise very delayed announcements for highly anticipated products (see Apple’s 8 day notice for the new iPhone 5 event).

    Thanks for all the great posts on GS11 and potentially 12, it was then that I first started reading your blog. Will continue to cross my fingers.

  14. Tim2 says:

    I think its ridiculous to blame bloggers for the gs. Do you really think that everyone that reads is able to do what mp did and get 120,000 miles. Get real. Just like mp said, they reached alot of people with this promo. Its probably the merger.

  15. Tootalltofly says:

    Just got an email an hour ago with a new offer to buy Dividend miles with 100% bonus through Sep 31. That’s just 4 days after the August 100% expired. Makes me wonder if the Grand Slam will also happen during the same period. Doesn’t seem so likely… It definitely was a targeted offer.

  16. Jamison says:

    what are you going to talk about in the Chicago Seminars :(

    • mommypoints says:

      @Jamison, Plan B has already been launched. Working on some details on something else that I think should be pretty fun and useful, but I would have clearly preferred to have the GS going on for many reasons!! We plan to update the Chicago Seminars schedule sooner rather than later when we officially pull the plug on the GS topic.

  17. bf says:

    Last year I called USAir when a couple of my “hits” didn’t post. The USAir CSR was helpful, but she also said the GS was costly to run, ate up a huge amount of their staff time, and left many customers with a bad taste about having to track down their non-posted “hits.” At the end of the day, USAir may decide it just doesn’t make economic sense. Here’s hoping they make an announcement soon.

  18. […] Mommy Points suspects US Airways’ Grand Slam promotion won’t be returning this year. The Grand Slam […]

  19. ct says:

    I’m not sure whether it’s been covered in FlyerTalk, but a Google search for “”GS12″ site:usairways.com” does yield a working page, albeit one that says the promotion (GS12) is invalid or expired. Similar Google searches using GS09, GS10, and GS11 (the promotion codes for previous Grand Slams) yield the same type of page, while similar searches using nonsense terms such as GS08, GS13, and GS15 yield nothing. This could suggest that a GS12 promotion page has been created, although the promotion code hasn’t been activated yet. Or it could be a weird coincidence.

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