Today’s Lessons Learned in the Miles and Points World + $100 United Credit Winner

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I learned a few lessons today in the miles and points world that I wanted to share so you can avoid the mistakes I made. I guess in truth they weren’t really lessons learned so much as just good reminders for things I already knew.  Also, I will announce the winner of the $100 United credit!

1. If you think you might want extremely inexpensive airport lounge access via the Executive Privileges Club, then don’t wait until the day you want access to purchase the membership (if you want the cheapest package).  My husband is traveling home from a work trip today and found himself at the airport in Atlanta with time to kill and no lounge access.  Most of the time when he travels I am there and he gets in the United Club with me via my club membership, but we hadn’t added him on officially because, well, we are still kinda cheap.  However, I guess once you get used to lounge access, “free” internet, comfy chairs, salty snacks, and “free” drinks, it is hard to turn back. 😉  So, we have now spent the $19.99 to get him lounge access at a rate we can afford for the next year.  I’ll post more about this process once we actually use it, but until then this post by Million Mile Secrets is very helpful.  Lesson learned.

2.  When you get a new rewards credit card don’t forget to register it with the Rewards Dining Network program of your choice.  I earn thousands of miles per year via these dining programs, usually through United MileagePlus Dining.  I am a “VIP” diner with them, so I now earn 5 miles per dollar from that program when I eat out at a participating restaurant and pay with a registered card (in addition to whatever I am earning via my credit card).  I almost always use my Sapphire Preferred Card for dining to earn double points, so since that card is already linked to the program, I don’t have to think about it.  However, while at the Frequent Traveler University this weekend I joined a dozen or so other folks for dinner at Steak Frites in Manhattan.  It’s hard for me to turn down any reason to go into my favorite American city.

I had a chance to buy a round of drinks for a few folks and put that on my New Ink Bold card so I could inch closer to my minimum spending requirement.  However, I’m sure you have already guessed where this is going at this point – I had not yet added that card to the dining program.  So today when Deals We Like (who was also at the dinner) messaged me to say “Yay we earned miles at Steak Frites!” I said…….well poop (or maybe it was another word I said).  My bill that night wasn’t cheap, so I left a chunk of miles on the table for being a procrastinator.  Lesson learned and card registered.  If you have not yet enrolled in the United MileagePlus Dining program, you can get 1,000 bonus miles by registering and having one $50 dining purchase at an eligible restaurant in the next 30 days.  However, even without the extra miles it was a really fun night!

3.  The more you think about the points packages from the Daily Getaways, the more likely you are to purchase them.  When I posted last night about the Choice Privileges points packages that were for sale today, I really didn’t think I was going to purchase any.  I have already spent a good amount on these Daily Getaway deals, and thought I would sit this one out.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I saw how valuable the points were for my family, and then I went from not thinking I wouldn’t make a purchase to buying 80,000 points.  I realized that for less than $300 I can have three nights in Nassau to take Little C to Atlantis (which was already on our to-do list) and I should still have enough left over for a potential Grand Slam hit.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that for only 20,000 British Airways Avios each we can go round-trip from DFW to Nassau on American.  Even better is that with the current 50% transfer bonus it will only cost me 40,000 Membership Reward points for all three of us to go round-trip!  Grand total of 40,000 Membership Reward points and less than $300 in purchased Choice points and our family of three can have a long weekend in Nassau.  Crazy.  I love points.  More on planning that trip soon.  😉

4.  Earlier this week I tried to give away a couple “first year free” codes for the United Club card that I had picked up at the United Clubs in Houston and Newark.  However, I was subsequently informed that I was not able to give those away on this site which really stinks, but life goes on.  However, there is no chance that I would have people spend time commenting to enter the contest only to have no “prize” at all to offer, so instead I decided to purchase a $100 United travel credit for the winner.  Thanks to the ever handy, the winner of the $100 United credit is………….comment #23 Kris Ziel who was actually helping answer a question from another commenter, so I think that is pretty cool that he/she ended up winning the credit as a result of helping!  Kris, congrats and please  shoot me an email mommypoints at so I can send you your United credit.

Tomorrow brings us a very solid deal for Hertz points via the Daily Getaways Deals.  I’ll post more details in the morning, but mark your calendars for Noon Eastern if you want a chance at buying those points.  Quantities are very limited.

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  1. Ok…what’s your secret for getting in on the Daily Getaways? I’ve only tried a couple but have been unsuccessful both times. Have you been able to purchase all you’ve tried for? Are you getting them during the pre-sale or the next round? I do update over and over, but have had no luck getting past “these are in someone else’s cart” and “sold out.”

  2. Yep to number 3.
    In the beginning everybody noted that the Hilton participation was not really that great a bargin. And there has been some discussion this year about the short comings of the Hilton program. But when it came down to the wire, I think there may have been 460 Hilton packages offered and there were none left unsold. I wasn’t in a position to be able to get one, so now I’m left out in the “blues”. What I learned was that regardless of what people think domestically about Hilton’s program; the fact that Hilton also has good hotels outside the US is going to ensure that the Hilton offerings on Daily Getaways sell out.
    I did get the Alamo deal, which I can use to my advantage; and which frankly I was surprised did not sell out. The cash I save from the Alamo deal, I can put toward my Hilton stay. 😉

  3. More and more you are becoming my goto travel blog. Why? Because most of your travel goals are common and realistic. Who wouldnt want to check out Atlantis for a family of 3 for what you are getting it for. I am more likely to go there than some beautiful place off the coast of Africa that I never heard of going first class for 100,000 of my precious miles.
    I was referred to your site during grand slam time, and when that was over I figured, I would be done here, but you have kept your info relavent enough to me to keep returning. Congrats on getting 2 of the 40k choice, that was my goal, ended up with 3 x 32k.

  4. @Up&Away, just hitting refresh constantly right before they go on-sale and then hitting “buy” as quickly as possible. I then keep trying if they are in someone else’s cart until it actually says “sold out”.

    @MSPDeltaDude, absolutely!

    @john, I actually sat out on the Hilton points, but you are correct that there are some great redemption opportunities….especially outside the US.

    @Michael T, first, thanks for coming over during the Grand Slam and for sticking around after it was over! I love reading about the very luxurious and first class trips, but that isn’t what most of my trips look like by any stretch of the imagination. I do okay at earning miles, but 100,000 x 3 is a huge ton of miles and so most of our trips have to come in at a much more manageable rate. 😉 Congrats on scoring points yesterday!

    @edward, it is still showing for me. Try going here:

    @Marilyn, thanks! I promise to do a write-up soon because this can be replicated even without the Daily Getaways. 😉

    @jedijood, thanks for sharing that info. That is what I have seen as well. 😉

  5. Just catching up on your posts as usual, informative as always… I checked the Daily getaways site for the hertz deal you mentioned, I’d like to point out that $280 for a weekly rental of any standard car from any rental outfit is not really discount. It’s not hard to achieve rental rates from hertz below $280/wk on a regular basis.

    • @Al, agreed, but the real cost is about $125 for a weekly rental in many cases (don’t pay attention to how they are marketing it as you can use the points however you want). I just wrote a post on it, but feel free to spread the word it isn’t a good deal……more packages for me to buy. 😉 In all seriousness, thanks for catching up on posts and for your comment!

  6. As it relates to #1, I presume you are talking about the advertised 4-6 week wait time to get your membership package…HOWEVER…even when you buy the $19.99 package, you can get your membership information immediately and begin submitting receipts. Just go to the “forgot my login” button and enter your info…voila!

    Here’s the direct link but you can also find it at the top of the main skyguide page…

    • @SkyGuide Trick, ugh, good to know! Thanks! He didn’t have the same Amex with him yesterday that I end up buying the package with online, so I am assuming that will hurt his chances of reimbursement for the day pass he ended up buying yesterday, but I would love to be wrong about that.

  7. I agree the Hertz Daily getaway is not great for standard rentals often but I can get a minivan for a week for 4000 points which comes out to about $173 for a week. I’ve never rented for less than $350 a week and it’s often in the 500-700 range during the periods I’ve rented.

  8. to earn the 1000 united miles for registering for united dining program, on top of creating profile,
    “You must continue to satisfy other Online and/or VIP Member level criteria to earn this bonus”


  9. 1k united miles is not for me due to too many requirements. i rarely dine in and i dont spend more then $30 for 2 when eating out or taking carry outs.
    @mommypoints, please next time, don’t forget to incluse the terms of the sign up offer. just saying 1k miles for signing up is not a true thing.

    Welcome Bonus Details

    *This bonus offer is open to new MileagePlus DiningSM members or existing members without a dining profile at the time of registration. A dining profile includes creating a web login and opting in and remaining opted in to receive emails from MileagePlus Dining with a valid, deliverable email address. To qualify, your profile must originate through one of the “Create a Profile” links on this page. You must register by December 31, 2012 to qualify for this bonus. You must continue to satisfy other Online and/or VIP Member level criteria to earn this bonus.

    To earn this bonus, you must spend at least $50 (including tax and tip) in one dine at a participating restaurant, bar or club within 30 days of registering for the bonus, but no later than December 31, 2012. You must also complete your post-dine review within 30 days of your dine. Please note that activity that occurred prior to registration will not be eligible for this bonus. In addition, the dine must occur during a valid reward period and be paid for with a credit or debit card registered in MileagePlus Dining. A maximum of 1,000 bonus award miles may be earned with this bonus. Offer is not combinable with other Mileage Plus Dining bonuses. Please allow 4-6 weeks from the date of your dine for any bonus award miles to post to your MileagePlus account. All account inquiries related to this bonus must be received by March 31, 2013.

  10. @ed, sorry for the confusion but it does say you have to spend $50 at a restaurant within 30 days in the post. I’ve done this by buying a gift card at the restaurant and using it as I need it in the future.

  11. Hi, I have written a few times before. (NYtrip with a 2-y/o, etc). I finally made the move from Caracas to Montreal and already have a credit card with points.

    So regarding your number two, imagine my feelings when I bought a mattress (700 CAD) and the card was declined because I had reached the limit. 700 points (or AA,BA miles) missed. Ouch

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