US Airways Grand Slam Score – Day 1

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Whew, that was fun so far!  It reminds me a little bit of playing craps in Vegas.  The whole table (or online points community) is rooting for each other and sharing strategies.  There are the highs (hello 80% of code!), the lows (why is 1-800-Flowers no longer allowing Dale Earnhardt bears to count?!), and the confusions (um, where do I put in my US Airways Dividend mile number, Office Max?!).  It is crazy how quickly some of the hits morph as retailers catch on and make adjustments to their sites on the fly.  Gotta keep up in this game.  I recommend checking here to keep track of the “cheap hits” as they change often.  Also, a reminder to make sure you are registered before you start earning hits.  Otherwise, they won’t count!

Here is a recap of how my first day at the US Airways Grand Slam ballpark went.  You can read what my original plan for today was here.

9/14 Hits

Hit 1.  Twitter Contest.  Free

I posted about this one here.  I really hope some of you did this before it expired as it was super easy.  I also had 500 bonus miles from the contest deposited in my account today.  If they do another Twitter promo (please!), be sure to get in on the action quickly.

Hit 2.  Biscoff – Anna’s Trial Size Assortment – $13.47 all in

This purchase also earns 250 miles plus 1 mile per dollar.  It was pretty simple, though the price reportedly went up some earlier in the morning.  I would not wait on this one, get the cheap trial size stuff now before it sells out or gets more expensive.

Hit 3.  Skymall – 9V Alkaline Batteries – $9.99 all in

This purchase nets 3 miles per dollar (though I saw it say 5 miles per dollar later in the day).  It took a while for me to get a screen that had a spot to put my Dividend Number in at check-out.  It comes in “Step 2” at checkout.  Do not actually check-out until you are sure you have entered your number.  I had to sign-in, sign-out, and keep playing with it until it gave me the box to enter my number.  I bought two .99 9V batteries to be sure I was over $1.  Some people are just buying one, but I wanted to be safe.  These will eventually get used around the house here.

Hit 4.  1-800-Flowers – Happy Birthday Puppy from Gund $15.00 all in

This puppy is actually really cute and is on it’s way to a three year old who’s birthday we missed last weekend due to the SMD3.  When I did this under the U3 code it defaulted to, it gave 10 miles per purchase, but there is now a U44 code that gives 20 miles per purchase as part of the “Grand Slam Promo”.  When I did it with a purchase with free shipping, it did not give me an error code and accepted the U3 code just fine.  However, that seems to have changed at some point in the day.  Waterford Holiday Bells are now listed on Flyertalk as an eligible cheap item ($14.99).  Just be sure you don’t get an error message and that it accepts your US Airways # at checkout.

Hit 5.  Audience Rewards – Answer Trivia Questions Free

This hit may or may not count.  I am going to give it a shot and see if it posts when hits start posting on 9/28.  If not, I will go back and buy a cheap ticket to a show.  I know there are lots of people buying tickets they can’t use to a Poetry Slam in North Carolina.  I think tickets were $12.50.  If you go that route, donate your ticket to the North Carolina USO.  They would be happy to have it!

Hit 6.  Thanks Again – Gift Certificate – $1

I bought a $10 gift certificate for $5 and then used code SAVE to get 80% off.  That code ends today, 9/14, but there are often others that come out.  I bought it to a pizza place here in town and it will absolutely go to good use!  You have to register with Thanks Again and then log in with when it routes you to that website.  It is kind of weird, but it should work.

Hit 7.  US Airways Dividend Miles Shopping Mall – $5

I bought a Halloween trick-or-treat bag and book for Little C from Pottery Barn Kids.  I had a rewards certificate from their credit card program that covered most of the purchase, but $5 of it I paid out of my own pocket just to make sure it counted as a hit.  Can’t wait to get her personalized little trick-or-treat bag!  Remember that is a partner in their shopping mall, so there is no reason to miss out on this hit!

Hit 8.  Mags for Miles – free

This one is sort of strange as you are using miles to get a hit, but I picked up a year of Sunset Magazine for 400 US Airways miles.  That and a Cigar magazine were the two cheapest options coming in at 400 miles.  If you don’t yet have miles, just wait until some of your miles from other purchases start posting and then take advantage of this free and easy hit.  Getting to this one was a little “harder”.  Log into your Dividend Miles account, go to “use miles”, go to “subscriptions for miles”, and select “magazines”.

Hit 9.  Transfer Hotel Points to Miles, Starwood – free

It made me cringe a bit to transfer 1,500 Starwood miles to US Airways Dividend miles.  I am a Gold member with SPG, and 1,500 was the minimum I could transfer.  I value Starwood miles very highly, but the transfer ratio for this one was better than for many of the other hotel options, and I know I will need the hit.  Starwood Platinum members have no minimum point transfer amount on Starwood’s end, so they can transfer the exact 850 miles needed to count as a valid hit for this promotion.  You initiate the transfer from Starwood’s website.  The process was easy, but it said it can take 4 weeks or so to post.  Hopefully it doesn’t really take that long, but don’t wait until the end to try this one.

Day 1 Recap:  I probably spent a couple hours today reading the forums on Flyertalk and Milepoint to see how to score hits as cheaply and easily as possible.  The Points Guy also has a very helpful Grand Slam post up on his site.  Today I got 9 hits (if the Audience Rewards hit works) for a total cost of $44.46.  Not counting the miles from the purchases themselves, that puts me at the 10,000 miles level.  If you just want to get to 10,000 as cheaply as possible, you could take out the 1-800-Flowers and Biscoff purchase and substitute in the tool bar and dining transaction hits I have planned for tomorrow.  That would get you to 10,000 miles for only a $17.99 outlay (if you did the same purchases I did).  That is a great deal, and requires very little time or financial outlay on your part!

Hits on deck for tomorrow: Download the toolbar and complete three searches (free), make a dining transaction ($2), and make a Track It Back purchase ($24.94).  If all goes well, that will bring me to a total of 12 hits, or 15,000 miles, for $71.40.  Sweet!  If time allows, I also hope to look more into the hit and the hit.

Hits riding the bench: Office Max currently doesn’t have a way for you to enter your Dividend Miles number, so I am waiting for that issue to be worked out before making a purchase there.  If you plan to buy at least 10,000 Dividend Miles, do that by 9/15 as the bonus for extra miles will end.  I only plan to buy 1,000 miles, so I am waiting until later to see if they come out with a bonus that will apply to smaller mileage purchases.  I am also waiting to see if they come out with a promo for purchasing a US Airways Club membership so that I can have access to Continental/United Clubs.  My Platinum Amex card will no longer grant me access starting on 9/30, so I am in the market for a new route into United/Continental lounges.  Last year they dropped the price significantly about half-way through the Grand Slam promo, so I am waiting to see if that happens again.

I know this can start to get overwhelming fast.  If you are a newbie like me, just take it one hit at a time.  Please let me know if you have questions or if you have some tips to share about the hits you have already completed.  How many hits do you have so far?

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  1. Regarding the magazines – better to transfer early and often. The company running the magazine redemptions is a joke. They will ‘run out’ of a magazine title, but the title will remain on the redemption web site. You won’t know this for weeks and weeks, until you get a postcard (maybe) IN THE MAIL telling you your selection is ‘unavailable’. You won’t get your points back. You will have to order another title, and hope it is ‘in stock’. By this time, the Grand Slam will be over. E-mails to this organization are fruitless and you are wasting your time. Good luck with these guys!

  2. Thanks for this very detailed post. A little to late for me to do anything other than read it. Tomorrow I will start my first day too. Thanks for all the great points and I will for sure read The Point’s Guy’s post.
    This is really fun! My first year too!

  3. So I got ahead of myself and clicked on from the shopping mall and ordered a $25 certificate for $2 to a pizza place. So does that count as a shopping mall hit instead of a Thanks Again hit?

  4. @Heather – you can always call the customer service, let them know you no longer want the certificate and they will put the credit back in your account. You can then go to via Thanks Again and purchase the certificate using your credits. Anyone see any issues with this not posting properly in that case?

  5. By the time I realized my error, the promo code expired. I think I’ll keep the certificate and wait for another promo code to buy through Thanks Again. I did complete the registration with Thanks Again and registered my credit card afterwards hoping it might help.

  6. I was skeptical about trying this promo but your posts yesterday and today have encouraged me to jump in.
    Newbie Question: how do you plan to use the Dining hit for $2?

  7. @Jorge, so glad the post is helpful for you! Since this is my first year, I can’t speak from personal experience, but I have read that they appear in your Dividend Miles account.
    @Erndog, yikes! Thanks for the tip. I got a confirmation email from them, but I will keep an eye on it for sure.
    @Faith, glad you are excited to play! It really is fun.
    @Heather C, sounds like a good plan at this point. I’m sure another code will be out within a few days.
    @NYBanker, very smart! Thanks so much for sharing.
    @Neal, very nice way to get a hit.
    @DealsWeLike, thanks for sharing some info with Heather.
    @Heidi, when I link to the Biscoff website from the US Airways website, there is place to enter your number on the home page. It’s kind of lower/center of the page.
    DKAS, so glad to hear that! I plan to buy either a Coke or a Rice Krispie Treat at a sandwich shop for a little under $2. 🙂

  8. Hi. Do you know if you can use miles from US Airways to book award flights with Continental that are national flights? Or do you have to use US Air exclusively if they fly to the same place. Thanks

  9. It is embarrassing to be this naive/blond?/mommy-ish/ new….can’t find 9V batteries on Skymall..where/how do you find the links for the things you bought?? BREATHE….. I did get three hits so far. 🙂

  10. On SkyMall search “Astoria”

    There is a free brochure you can order with free shipping. Anyone know if this counts as a hit? Or do you have to spend money on something?

    • @Marilyn
      There is a free brochure you can order with free shipping. Anyone know if this counts as a hit? Or do you have to spend money on something?

      Unfortunately, this shouldn’t count. The T&Cs state: “Any activity that does not earn Dividend Miles including but limited to hotel stays and car rentals that do not earn Dividend Miles.”

      You can always buy it, see if it posts and hope they don’t take it back.

  11. @SEE, good tips!
    @Maury, you should be able to book any Star Alliance flight (including Continental) that reward availability.
    @Pete, thanks for the new code.
    @Marilyn, I agree with Richard that it probably won’t work since it won’t trigger any miles being earned. However, it is still early enough in the game that you could try.
    @Richard, thanks for helping Marilyn. I agree that it probably won’t work in the end, but you never know.

  12. I’m a little confused about buying from all these vendors. I fully get the individual sites but some of your recommendations involve more than one purchase from the shopping mall. I copied this from the Grand Slam FAQs:

    “What if I shop with different merchants in the Shopping Mall? Will I earn more hits?

    No. You can only earn one hit with the Shopping Mall, no matter the number of merchants you use.”

    Please clarify how all your Mall purchases count as hits when the limit is one. Thanks

  13. @Gerry, sorry for any confusion. You are correct that only one shopping mall purchase can count as a hit. My only hit that came from the Shopping Mall is hit #7. Some of the other ones that may look like shopping mall purchases (such as Restaurant.come via Thanks Again, Biscoff, or Skymall are actually from the “other partners” section, not from the Shopping Mall. They fall under this part of the rules: Earn 1 hit with each of our other Dividend Miles partners, such as Sentry Insurance, SkyMall, and LifeLock. Hope this helps!

  14. Hi-

    Thank you for taking the time & blogging on your hits activity. This is my first grand slam attempt & it’s been an interesting ride so far to say the least. I had a couple of questions and one comment on my hits activity till date.

    On 09-17-2011, I went through your blog, and attempted all of my 9 hits to date. I noticed that today I had already received mileage credit for 1-800 flowers, is this odd since I was under the impression that the 28th for the first time points would start to accrue to my account?

    I also answered a couple of trivia questions for audience rewards, and today the points for those also posted (2 for each question). Were you able to find out if answering trivia questions would count as a hit?

    And, lastly, for $12 I was able to order car & driver magazine through their magazine mileage awards portal for a hit. I noticed that you hadn’t used this venue as a possible hit & wanted to point it out. The only caveat is that this subscription needs to be cancelled before year end.

    My Recent Mileage Activity:

    9/17/2011 09/19/11 AUDIENCE REWARDS MILES 2
    9/17/2011 09/19/11 1-800-FLOWERS BONUS 140
    9/17/2011 09/19/11 1-800-FLOWERS ADDITIONAL BONUS 140
    9/17/2011 09/19/11 AUDIENCE REWARDS MILES 2

    • @Chirag, you are seeing the miles post to your account just as your normally would whether a Grand Slam was happening or not. I actually had similar activity post today. There will be an actual hit count that will start posting on 9/28. I don’t know exactly what that will look like, but we will all find out soon. We don’t know yet if the Audience Rewards trivia will count as a hit, but we should know on the 28th. The Mags for Miles that I used requires you to use miles to purchase magazines. It can be found here. I’m not sure if the one that you did will count as a hit. Fingers crossed that it does though.

  15. im getting worried about the magazine.
    i ordered it last thurs and reccvd a processing email.miles have not been deducted.
    i phoned the number on the site which directed me to another number to phone.
    they have not responded to emails.
    any idea what to do /what is happening?

    • @adamu, mine seems to be processing okay so far. I do remember reading that people had trouble off and on with this hit last year. Seems they would cancel an order and then notify you my mail (not e-mail). Read this thread to learn from others who are experiencing similar issues. Personally, I wouldn’t do anything yet, but I would keep an eye on it and then try ordering a different magazine if it doesn’t post like it should.

    • @nexus99, are you linking directly from US Airway’s website? For me, it is the very last box on the very last check-out page (the same page where you enter your credit card info). Hope it appears for you soon!

  16. Isn’t there a minimum miles you need to obtain when you do the hits for hotels? was it 250? or it doesn’t matter?

    • @NoviceFlyer, there are minimums for both hotel point transfers and hotel stays. The minimum to transfer is 850 Dividend Miles (though sometimes the hotel chain will require a minimum transfer that is much higher) and the minimum earned by a stay to count as a hit is 200. Click here for a good summary of how that impacts each hotel chain. Good luck!

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