As much as I love signing up for Credit Cards and earning miles only in increments of 50,000, I am not one to discriminate and will take points any way I can get them, as long they are free and can be earned quickly.
Yes, 1,000 free miles won’t get you a free flight right off the bat but combined with other offers, you would be surprised how quickly those free miles add up.
Case And Point #1: Dining Programs
I last talked about dining programs last February around Valentine’s Day, and I’ll be honest that even I sometimes forget I am even enrolled in some of the these programs.
For those of you not familiar with dining programs, basically you can earn miles for eating out. This is on top of any miles or points you might earn with your credit card.
Although I am registered for all of the dining programs, you can’t double dip and earn in multiple programs at the same time.
For some reason or the other, the last program I registered for was US Airways (most likely for the Grand Slam promotion) with my Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Now while I haven’t been actively scoping out restaurants to earn miles, to my surprise many bars and normal restaurants that I frequent, participate in these dining programs. Basically I will randomly go to one of these places to eat/drink, pay with my Chase Sapphire Preferred to get 2X miles on dining, and then a few days later I will get an email stating I’ve earned some miles from the US Airways dining program!
Well that exact situation happened the other day, and in all honestly I should really register my Credit Card to a more useful program like United (instead of US Airways).
However, after seeing their email saying I am only 3 dines away from VIP status, I may just stick it out.
s, from my last dine, to my surprise I earned 106 US Airway miles.
In addition because I paid with my Chase Sapphire Preferred, which gets 2X points on dining, I got an additional 72 UR points.
All in all, when you combine the 2X from the Sapphire Preferred and the 3X from US Airways, I got 5X points on dining, which is pretty good.
Now if I dine 3 more times, I’ll get bumped to VIP status, which means 5X points through the dining program plus an additional 2X with my Sapphire Preferred, which means 7X points on Dining.
I am secretly salivating for when the Chase Freedom has 5X points on Restaurants, which will mean 10X when you include the 5X from the US Airways dining program!
Basically the cool thing about these types of programs is that once you sign up, you are done!
You just go out and eat, and if you earn miles, they will email you!
Plus almost all of dining programs have 1,000 mile sign up bonuses, so that by itself makes it worthwhile.
So for everyone who has signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase INK Bold, and the new Chase British Airways 100,000 mile card, consider this a friendly reminder to go register your new card!
I just got my Chase INK Bold a couple of days ago, went out to a restaurant to eat later that night, and forgot to register my card, and now I am regretting the 150 miles I missed out on.
If you aren’t signed up for a dining program, please check out my last post and remember to register your new card!
Case & Point #2: Starwood Points
If you haven’t already realized from all my previous posts gushing about SPG points, in the words of Larry David, they are pretty pretttty good!
Not only can they be transferred to over 31 airline partners at a 1:1 (or 1:1.25 depending on how many you transfer), but they can also be used at Starwood hotels like the Westin, W, Sheraton, etc as part of a Cash & Points combination.
Anything above $100 for a hotel I find a waste of money, since all you are really doing there is sleeping.
Therefore Cash & Points options are nice because for a few thousand SPG points (1,600-7,000) along with $30 – $90, you can stay at luxury hotels that typically cost $120-$250 a night.
Spending 4,800 SPG Points & $90 saves you $152 off the original price of $242 a night!
Spending 1,600 SPG Points & only $30 saves you $99 off the original price of $129 a night!
The problem with SPG points is that you can really only earn them 1 of 2 ways.
By either having the Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX (which currently offers 25,000 SPG points for signing up) or by staying at SPG hotels.
Well I have already had the SPG AMEX and SPG hotels are too expensive for me to pay out-of-pocket, so I am always looking for ways to get more SPG points for FREE.
Well last summer, SPG let some of their hotels promote their individual hotel Facebook pages by offering between 250 – 3,000 free SPG points for ‘liking’ their page.
Little did they know about the wildfire they were about to spark, and within a few hours these hotel fan pages literally got thousands of new “fans”.
If you are familiar with Starwood, they allow you to transf
er points between family members for free.
Since I had already set up individual Starwood accounts for my entire Family as well as my Girlfriend’s Family, I had 10 accounts ready to go for those hotel promotions.
Literally in the span of 10 minutes, with those generous SPG hotel promos, I racked up between the 10 accounts almost 32,500 and with the convenience of being able to transfer the points between family members; I pooled them into 2 family accounts for our personal use.
Just one of the 10 accounts
Basically, it was a great opportunity to earn some SPG points because I didn’t have to open a SPG Credit Card and it was FREE.
Ultimately, I think SPG learned their lesson and never ran one of those promotions again.
Fast forward to last month, and I posted that SPG was doing some Social Media survey in which they were offering 1,000 SPG for completing.
Even better when they post the points twice!
Once again, using the 10 accounts for my Family and my Girlfriend’s Family, I again managed to get another 10,000 SPG points for FREE!
As you can see it took almost 9 months of waiting around for SPG to do another one of these promos, but I racked up almost 42,500 free SPG points with an average of 4,250 points per an account!
While earning 1,000 points here and there is nothing special, when you combine them with other promos and accounts, the points really add up!
Case & Point #3: BMI Miles
If you are reading this and saying, “Damn, I wish I did that!”, you are in luck!
A similar situation is available with British Midlands International and their subsequent buyout by British Airways.
Both Airlines allow household accounts (meaning you can pool all the miles from individual family members accounts into 1 big account).
BMI miles will undoubtedly be converted into BA Avios later this year when the merger is complete.
As I pointed out in an earlier post, BMI is still offering 1,000 free miles for signing up for their program.
By signing up all your family members can net you anywhere from 4,000 – 6,000 BMI miles which will convert over to BA Avios in a few months.
Again not a ton of miles, but remember a 1 way flight from Chicago to Baltimore is only 4,500 Avios, so even the small points can be useful!
Hopefully you learned something new from this post and next time you see an offer for 1,000 free points (like this Priority Club one), don’t blow it off!