Free Miles

TopGuest – Earning United Miles For “Checking In”

As a frequent flyer, the worst feeling you can have is finding out that your miles expired.

Typically, this problem primarily affects the casual traveler who maybe takes 1 trip a year and purchases tickets solely based on price.

Since casual travelers are buying their tickets solely on price, unless 1 airline is consistently the cheapest, they end up flying all different airlines and earning in all difference programs. Since they don’t fly one airline consistently, eventually the miles in all their various frequent flyer accounts expire because they didn’t have any qualifying activity.

It is for this reason that the number 1 thing I stress for anyone starting to collect miles is to sign up for a free miles tracking service like AwardWallet. Your future self will thank you!

While some frequent flyer programs have gotten rid of expiration dates, unfortunately the majority of programs still do have them. To keep the miles / points in these accounts from expiring, you basically need to have some kind of activity in your account that will result in earning some miles.

Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean hopping on a plane or booking a hotel stay.

Simply by purchasing some miles, transferring in miles from other programs, doing some online shopping, dining out, signing up for their credit card, etc, you can have “qualifying” activity that will reset the expiration clock on your miles / points.

With Chase Ultimate Rewards, it is pretty easy to simply transfer 1 mile into your respective United or British Airways account to reset the expiration clock, however some of the non Ultimate Rewards hotel programs can be a little more difficult.

Recently, I discovered a new company called TopGuest that makes it really easy to earn some miles / points while simultaneously generating some qualifying activity to keep your miles from expiring.

If you aren’t familiar with TopGuest, in short they give you miles / points for performing certain social media activity and informing your online friends about it.

Link To Sign Up For TopGuest

For example, by “checking-in” at O’Hare via Facebook, I’d earn 50 United miles.

The amount of points you earn varies by the program, but given that you are earning miles just for pressing a button on your phone, it really doesn’t get much easier than that.

Brands that participate in TopGuest include:

  • Priority Club
  • Hilton HHonors
  • Virgin America Elevate
  • Best Western Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards
  • Kipton Hotels
  • Viola Hotels
  • Club Hotel

United also participates in the program but for some reason or the other it isn’t publicly displayed. So you have to first sign up for TopGuest and then separately sign up for the United program. Don’t ask me why.

Link To Sign Up For TopGuest – United MileagePlus

I take public transit everyday and my office is on Michigan Avenue, so the bus goes right by the Intercontinental Chicago, Hilton Chicago, etc daily, however what I realized is that you can “check-in” even if you aren’t necessarily close to the location.

For example, I check-in via FourSquare to O’Hare Airport randomly when I am sitting at home on my couch and still earn 50 United miles.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if I could check-in to SFO (San Francisco) airport while still in Chicago, and get 50 United miles.

As with anytime there is a really amazing opportunity to earn miles, if you abuse the system, you will get banned. So don’t try to check-in to the same hotel or airport everyday and think you are going to earn 250 miles a week by doing that.

While it may seem silly that a company would pay (in miles) for users to “share” their location with their friends, at some level it does make sense. If you see that your friend is constantly checking-in to a certain hotel, you might be curious to check out the hotel for yourself.

Anyways as stated above, this is a really easy way to earn some free miles, while keeping all your random loyalty program active so I strongly encourage everyone to sign-up!

Below is what I have earned so far from spending literally a grand total of 10 seconds checking in.

If you have any other ideas on ways to keep miles / points from expiring, feel free to leave a comment!


1,000 American Airlines & British Airway Miles & A Movie Recommendation

UPDATE: Looks like OneWorld has pulled the 1,000 point language from the site, so more than likely they aren’t giving the 1,000 point bonus anymore. : (

OneWorld alliance launched a game today that will get you 1,000 miles per an account.

Although it technically is for the first 20,000 people, there was a glitch this afternoon in which the site wasn’t working properly. After a barrage of angry tweets, it seems like the site is back up and working. Although it was suppose to cap at 20,000 contestants, I just did it and it still seems to be working fine.

I suspect that OneWorld will honor this promotion past the first 20,000 people due to the errors this afternoon and the fact that the game is still up and running.

The promotion is free and takes all of 3 minutes to complete.


You can register multiple frequent flyer programs for this promotion. So you can play once, and put down your American Airlines number, and then play again and put down you British Airway number, etc.

The following airlines are participating:

  • British Airways
  • American Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LAN
  • Qantas
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Siberia Airlines


So taking my own advice, this past week I signed up for Netflix to get 3,000 AA miles for $8. While I was working on some upcoming blog posts this weekend, I randomly picked a movie on Netflix and had it playing in the background.

The movie I randomly picked was called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. WOW! What an amazing movie!

It is about this Australian guy that comes to the U.S and road trips across America for 60 days trying to lose weight and learn more about why we are so overweight.

I am sure there are a bunch of us (myself included) that made New Years Resolutions to lose weight back on January 1, 2012 and yet after 2 short months we are back to our same old bad habits.

If you need motivation to lose weight or get back in shape, I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU WATCH THIS MOVIE!

While Frequent Flyer University is obviously a blog about frequent flying, I also like talk about financial health (ie Credit Scores), but sometimes it is also important to occasionally talk about personal health.

The other interesting thing about this movie is that the main character, Joe Cross, is an Australian Road Warrior who is obviously a frequent flyer because in his cartoon montage, he included a Qantas A380 complete with First Class seats and the Bathroom Suite (although I’m not sure if Qantas’s A380s have the Emirates A380 bathrooms).

I know there are a lot of Road Warriors out there that spend most of their days either up in the air or at hotels, where dining decisions are based on whatever is most convenient. While I wish I had a job where I could travel and collect all those miles, I can only imagine the impact such a lifestyle has on your health.

Anyways at a minimum, I hope you take 2 minutes to watch the trailer! I promise that you won’t be disappointed and you will probably want to visit Sydney after viewing it!

If you want to watch the full movie, it is conveniently on Hulu for free, or if you took part in the Netflix deal then you can also find it on there.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead Trailer

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Hulu

If you have seen the movie before or have tried any of his methods, please comment and let me know what you think!



2,000 Free British Airway Avios (12,000 Avios If You Are Willing To Do Some Work!)

Update: FFU reader Amit found an active link to the survey that will get you another 1,000 miles!

Link to Survey

While I suspect most United States based readers of FFU are primarily members of Domestic based loyalty programs like United, American, Delta, for the sake of flexibility, it is always smart to be a member of a few international loyalty programs.

For example, in addition to the above programs, I am also a member of British Airways, Air Canada, BMI, Air France, Jet Airways, ANA, and Kingfisher. It isn’t because I ever fly these airlines; rather because in the past there have been lucrative promotions that compel me to sign up for these programs!

This was the case with BMI. A few years ago, there was a 5,000 mile sign up bonus for BMI. Although I had no plans to credit any miles to BMI,  those 5,000 miles + $50 would be enough for a domestic award flight if I ever needed to fly between any 2 cities in Europe.

Fast-forward to 2012 and BMI is getting bought by British Airways. Similar to the Continental / United merger, any miles in BMI should eventually be credited over to British Airways Avios program!

Those 5,000 BMI miles that have been sitting in my account for over 3 years now are suddenly actually useful!

If you don’t have a BMI account, you can make one here and get 1,000 BMI miles for signing up.

Once the merger between BMI and British Airways is complete, your 1,000 BMI miles should become 1,000 British Airways Avios! According to terms and conditions, the 1,000 Avois will post within 28 days of opening the account.

Once you have your BMI account, take this survey and get another 1,000 miles. The survey takes all of 1 minute to complete. Survey from miles should post within 40 days.

Link to Survey

Now here is where it gets interesting!

BMI and British Airways both allow for household accounts. If you are not familiar with household accounts, essentially it is a pool of all your family’s miles in one account (ie central bank account). For example: If 5 of your family members only have 5,000 miles each in their accounts, those miles are kind of useless. However with a household account, you can pool all those miles into one account, so now you have 25,000 miles all in one place. Extremely useful!

For this BMI promotion, if you had a “family” that all had different email addresses but the same mailing address, you could hypothetically sign up them up for a new BMI account and get 1,000 miles per an account, then take the survey and get another 1,000 miles.

When the merger between BMI & British Airways is complete, you should once again be able to link all the “family” accounts back together.

From my research, British Airways allows a maximum of 6 “family” members in a household account.

Also to avoid having any issues creating a household account, I suggest using a common last name and a common mailing address when creating “family” members for a household account.

I had problems in the past transferring miles between Starwood accounts when both accounts didn’t have a common last name.

1,000 BMI Miles + 1,000 Miles From The Survey X 6 New Accounts = 12,000 Free British Airway Avios