Crazy Things We Do for Miles Giveaway

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It’s been a crazy busy week around here (thanks for hanging in there with me!), so to bring in the weekend it seems logical to talk about the craziest things you have done for miles and give away some free United drink certificates at the same time. 

Most of what many of us do for miles these days may seem normal to us, but is really viewed as a bit bizarre to the average observer.  For example, using different credit cards for different types or purchases, applying for multiple new credit cards a year, buying gift cards on a regular basis just for yourself, and shopping for everything including toilet paper online through a shopping portal, can seem strange if you don’t understand the how’s and why’s of it all.

I’ve heard stories of folks who “dumpster dove” for miles from Wendy’s cups or employed people to fly for them solely to earn miles, but I can’t say I’ve ever gone that far!  However, I have done a few different things here and there.  I have flown to an airport just to turn right back around and fly home to earn miles.  I’ve rented cars and not driven them and bought tins of cookies I had never heard of because of very lucrative promotions…oh Grand Slam, I miss you.  I have lined up with hundreds of folks for free Spirit Airlines miles.  I have even gotten miles from a mortgage long ago, not in the same manner as the promo shown below, but you get the idea…and of course, I have to say don’t overpay to earn miles. 

Miles for MortgageIf the payoff is big enough, I actually think the crazy thing sometimes is to not take advantage of a promotion to earn miles!

Share with me your craziest story about earning miles by 11:59PM on Sunday September 7th (and it’s totally okay if it isn’t crazy by mileage addict standards), and I’ll pick three stories at random to mail some United drink vouchers out. 


The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I discovered that I’d amassed about a boatload of lifetime points on AA — almost none through flying — a about 4 months before AA changed their lifetime elite status policy to exclude everything but flying. I had enough to put me in striking distance of lifetime elite, but I had to hustle: I discovered US mint and that immediately went away, I went on a binge spree applying for every AA credit card offer and struggled to reach the spending requirement, bought wine online for another bonus, set up a new checking account I didn’t want or need with Citi that gave a big bonus after 3 months and hit in the nick of time, and lord knows what else. After all that I was still short a significant chunk of miles — a lot to make up if you don’t pay to fly very often. AA had a bonus offer to buy miles, I broke down and bought the max … and still was short a few thousand. On the eve of the policy change (and entirely by chance, I would never redeem miles for a flight to the Caribbean), I flew to Dominican Republic on Nov 28 on a cheap AA flight which took me to lifetime elite status before the rules changed on Dec 1. I actually got the congratulatory e-mail while I was in DR and sighed a sigh of relief that it was all done before the bell rang.

  2. Great post, Mommy!

    When the new “Big Win” just came out, i found myself downgrading myself to the Holiday Inn Express Kowloon instead of the Intercontinental, so I can get two future stays at — you guessed it — an Intercontinental. In the abstract, I’m sacrificing my current enjoyment for an undetermined enjoyment just because there is so much “value” in a contest I didn’t even know about 48 hours ago. That is crazy and, yet, at the same time, logical.

    Once you run the numbers, you can remain sane but trying telling them that to people in your circle who want to call the fellah with the butterfly net to take you away…

  3. I remember doing a visit to Bosley Hair for a free hair-loss consultation by 08/25 to get 20,000 free Delta Skymiles!

    Even though I had a full head of hair, I told them I had a “family history of hair loss.”

    Once I made and kept the appointment, I got the miles shortly afterwards. Pulled the same trick with Lasik Plus for a lasix consultation!

  4. Where to start…bags of Bic razors (so long ago don’t remember the promo, but way before “Pudding” guy’s antics), jars of p-nut butter for companion AA tkts., flying 8 segment days strictly for miles, $1 coins, buying bags of cups from Wendys, opening IRAs for AA miles, Amex cards for kids so they received 3x miles on Delta, Healthy Choice out the gazoo, checking into hotels we never stayed in, renting cars to drive around the block and then return, flying to Hawaii for less than 4 hrs.,need I go further?
    Every one was well worth the wonderful travel experiences they provided!

  5. United offered 50 miles every time you checked in on Facebook or four square at an airport (limit one per day for each). I pass SFO very day on the way to an from work so I checked in there twice a day, every day, for the length of the promotion. Done people thought I was crazy, others wondered what new job I had that required so much travel, but in the end I banked north of 10,000 mileage plus miles.

  6. I don’t know if this is a crazy thing, or just something I stumbled upon on accident. If you are a shopper at Sams Club, you are pretty much stuck with using the Club credit card or your own choice of MasterCard. Visa and Amex not accepted at the register. However, those cards are accepted at the Walmart courtesy desk to buy and reload a Walmart gift card. That gift card, in turn, is honored at Sams Club.

    So, if you want to build your SPG point balance, you can use an SPG Amex to shop at Sams Club, just one step removed.

  7. I have: designated credit cards for specific purchases, dined at restaurants that are part of AA Dining, made online purchases using Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, mileage runs and 1-night vacations, and bought gift cards for myself.

  8. Don’t know if it qualifies for crazy, but I’ve taken a LOT of surveys for United miles. I would hate to think advertisers are basing their newest commercials on my likes/dislikes. Ha!

  9. I have friends that went to Hawaii with me because I had a 2 br timeshare unit on Kauai. We flew on the same itinerary on HA because I was able to use a 25% discount that came with HA credit card. Anyway, I signed them both up myself for HA ff program including login names and passwords so I could (with their permission) transfer the HA miles they earned to my account. I think I still have their info somewhere.

  10. We’ve only started all this pretty recently, but signing up for twenty-six cards in two months seems pretty insane to most people we know 🙂

  11. On the weekend when it was reported that cvs was going to stop allowing vanilla reload purchases with credit cards, my husband and I bribed our kids with donuts and then proceeded to hit up every CVS in the Austin area to “stock up” so we could meet a bunch of minimum spends. The following weekend, our kids asked, “Are we going to do anything besides hunt for points this weekend?”

  12. I do pretty crazy and obsessed things too. I read all the blogs and make sure that I don’t miss a thing. I have applied for and gotten all the credit cards that we possibly can get. When CVS had vanilla reloads, I racked up and made sure I maxed out each month so that we could get the greatest benefit from our bluebird. I keep a spread sheet with my credit cards so I know when they were opened, the credit limits, the bonus points earned, dates closed, etc. I sit down and “train” my husband on reconsideration calls. He is doing better but he still doesn’t like doing it. I tell him that this is the only way he can keep going on ski trips so he goes with it. I switch the credit cards around in his wallet and put sticky notes on them. I carry several around. He really doesn’t like to keep but 2 at a time. I also try to get my friends in on the game. I just love it. I don’t think I am any more obsessed than anyone else here. It is a great hobby and it keeps us traveling. Love reading the stories.

  13. This story has become legendary in our family. Many years ago, British Airways offered miles (per person, not per household) in exchange for a Jaguar test drive.

    One day, a snow day, arrived and the kids were out of school. After sledding, we all piled into the car and went to the Jaguar dealership.

    One can only imagine what the manager was thinking, as we walked in with sledge covered snow boots, at least one toddler in tow, ready to each take our “test drive” in their
    beautiful, new luxury cars.

    Thankfully, he signed off on all the vouchers. We combined the miles in our household account and got at least one free airfare to the Caribbean that winter.

  14. I like your test drive story, Marie. I did the same thing when my kids were younger but not for miles. There used to be a lot of test drive offers for gift cards, etc. I would load my kids with car seats, etc. Sometimes I would take a friend with her kids. When we pulled up to the car dealership with all the kids in tow, they would just sign the certificate. It took a while for me to get the guts to do it, but I got the hang of it after a while. The sale men asked me, “do you want to really look at a car or do you just want the form filled out?”.

  15. Timed the posting of 59,000 bonus Rapid Rewards credit card points, $44,000 in property tax payments for rental homes, $5,000 in personal expenses, 1200 rental car bonus points, 800 points earned from flying, and a few more “just in case” to re-qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass on January 10 this year. (Yes, I used a spreadsheet to keep track of everything. 🙂

  16. We sat at Wendy’s for the cups. Our Wendy’s would give you a new cup for the refill, so we would sit and get 3-4 refills every day. We had 10 people to get tickets for, so it was a lot of cups. At one point, the manager walked out and handed my Dad an entire sleeve of cups. We had planned on going to California on those tickets and pick up cheap flights to Hawaii. Unfortunately, that is when I was diagnosed with Cancer and spent most of the year in treatment. We finally burned them going to NYC and using Choice points for the stay.

  17. Ran into a restaurant to buy an ice cream cone, then gave it back to the person behind the counter who really seemed happy to get it!

  18. Opened a high minimum balance citibank checking account just for the AA miles. Used the debit card (required amount) to load at walmart. Still waiting for the points to appear…

  19. I’m new to the miles/points world and was wondering how you all find out about these promotions. Is it advertisements, through emails, etc? I’ve don’t remember ever seeing or hearing anything about earning miles through Wendy’s cups or lasik consultations. How can I find out about these promotions to take advantage of them?
    Thanks for your help!

  20. The promotion a year or two ago that required taking pictures in front of hiltons…. drive to a hilton, take a picture out front or in the lobby, leave, repeat! My friends did NOT understand the trouble….

    Now, with the deval not even worth it.

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