Possible Grand Slam “Foul Ball” Alert: ShareBuilder

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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!

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  1. The problem is I’ve actually placed a trade and nothing’s posted in over a week.

    I already had a Sharebuilder account I’ve kept alive and in use from Grand Slam 2009. So now I have two accounts associated with my login. I’ll hold on to the penny stock for a year, pray for a huge buyout, and sell it. 🙂

  2. Mommy Points:
    why didn’t you use a promo code? I used two: 3AIP, which should get me “3 free automatic investment credits” and INVEST91511, which should get me $25.00 credit after funding? they both worked for me.

  3. sharebuilder cheated me out of the 50$ i was to receive years ago for opening an acct as a first time customer. I would never trust them to honot this or any other promo, esp now

  4. brand new account, followed the post on FT, bought OFC depot share last week.
    It said do the transaction on App can get 5 back from the 9.95fee.
    Still waiting for miles.

    ps:Tonight the US account information site down for a while and when I logged in just now, the new updated miles posted, which supposed to be posted on last Thursday.

  5. Now with all the bloggers shouting out codes from the rooftops, the option of doing a trade for a minimal fee should be gone too. Most GS partners have excluded using promo codes in conjunction with miles.

  6. @Nathan @oliver2002 These have been in effect for a few years but US AIrways Dividend Miles Executives *are actually reading the Grand Slam threads on Flyertalk*. They’ve told me so directly. Why you think it’s blogs that are ‘shouting from the rooftops’ and drawing too much attention is really strange…

  7. Good update. I think as people study the terms and conditions more closely there may be a lot of hits that are disallowed. Those easy free non-kosher ones like signing up for Sharebuilder and not funding or trading are the tip of the iceberg. I’m really worried about the wine purchases without the club. I say stay within the spirit of the requirements and don’t try to game the system. It will give you a better argument later. Besides where else can you buy some American Airlines stock to get miles on US Air 🙂

  8. @ArizonaGuy, I have my fingers crossed for both your hit and your penny stock explosion! 🙂

    @worldtraveller2, I’m glad you found the post helpful. I get very leery of codes and Grand Slam hits – I know they do sometimes work, but it just makes me nervous so I often just skip the codes. Hopefully they won’t be an issue for this one though!

    @emily, I am not sure that anyone’s has posted since the process changed early October. It will be interesting to see how it works out though.

    @The Man of 1000 Places, thanks for sharing!

    @Nathan, I totally understand where you are coming from. While it may be an unpopular opinion to have as a blogger, I do think there is some connection between thousands of people getting on a deal at once and the deal being pulled. Companies may or may not know about a “loop hole”, but thousands of people taking advantage of that over a long period of time vs thousands on the same day does lead to some deals being pulled However, since I am a blogger, it should be no surprise that I do believe in sharing most information. I always think of the mom who very much needs all the miles and points help she can get to allow her family to travel to see grandma (or whoever!), but she doesn’t have the hours in the day to comb through Fat Wallet, Flyertalk, etc… I don’t feel that good deals should be reserved for those who have the luxury of spending hours on forums. Again, I do understand where you are coming from though. It is a tough balance.

    @Hola, sorry to hear that! I really hope they do better this go-round.

    @Juventini, thanks for the update!

    @oliver2002, promo codes do make me nervous with the Grand Slam. I know they often work, but certainly not always.

    @Gary, don’t you know you are the deal-killing “enemy”? Kidding! I have no doubt that execs from most of the major companies keep a close eye on the various forums (if they don’t, they are crazy!). I know if it weren’t for blogs I would not be able to take advantage of many different deals due to there just not being enough hours in the day. So, I am eternally grateful for information sharing, even if it does occasionally contribute to some avenues closing due to lots “hits” coming to a particular company all at once.

    @Dan in STL, ha ha love the American stock idea. It certainly is inexpensive these days. 🙂 Your Grand Slam approach is a good one – stay on the safe side. It is true that there are some hits many of us are counting on that are technically outside the terms and conditions.

  9. After going through the T&C, I did one trade when I opened my account. It has been more than 10 days and nothing has been posted to my US DM account. I have sent an email to Sharebuilder. Hope they will respond addressing the concern, rather than saying “It takes 6-8 weeks for your miles to post”.

  10. I opened an account on 10/5 and made an automated trade on 10/18. I didn’t receive the miles yet so I called them and asked about the miles. They looked at the account and said they didn’t see a promo code applied to the account. I find it pretty hard to believe since all the emails I’ve gotten from Sharebuilder have the US Air logo on the email, which to me means it should be linked to some kind of US Air promo. The agent added the promo code in manually but told me the trade I already made would not count and I would have to perform another trade to get the promo. Pretty pissed, I asked to speak to a supervisor who confirmed he couldn’t apply the miles retroactively, but offered me two free automatic trades. I still have to buy some shares that I won’t want ($5 seems to be the minimum) so I’m pretty disappointed in this hit.

    So, lesson of the story, after you open the account and before you make your trade, call to confirm that the promo code “took”.

  11. Also, there is another way to save 5$ on your REAL TRADE transaction. Till 10/28/2011, if you do an active trade using Share builder’s mobile app, you will get a 5$ credit back to your account. There is no promo code involved in this. I checked with Share builder and they confirmed this will be eligible for getting a grand slam hit.
    Note: You spend the actual amount at the time of purchase, but you account gets credited with 5$ later ( may be a month).

    • @WM, you have to have a statement close on or before 11/14, and it is probably too late for that to happen if you haven’t already received the card.

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