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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.