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US Airways recently announced their new Grand Slam Promotion, which encourages members to earn points on all non-flight related activity, such as hotel stays and rental cars. This is a way for US Airways to generate revenue, because every time you choose to earn frequent flyer miles with a hotel, rental car or other partner, they have to pay US for the miles.
The promotion is based on “hits” and the more you get, the more points you earn when you hit the next threshold.
Hits/ Bonus Miles earned
12/ 14,000 (and 3,000 Elite Qualifying Miles)
16/ 20,000 (and 6,000 Elite Qualifying Miles)
I originally started out thinking I’d go for an easy 16 or 20 hits, but then I asked myself “What kind of Points Guy would I be to only go half way”? So with that, I resolved to get to the 36 hit threshold which will earn me a 100,000 point bonus. As a competitive person, now that I’ve framed this as a challenge, I will be damned if I don’t get to 36 hits! Oh yeah, and knowing that I will be able to use the points for two business class tickets to Europe helps sweeten the deal. US has off-peak award tickets to Europe, so for 60,000 you can get a ticket on most days in January/ February. This works out well, because I’m obsessed with Europe and my best friend lives in Madrid. Almost two free business class tickets to Europe for a couple hours of time and a couple hundred bucks? Sign me up!
As with any complex airline promotion, the best thing to do is analyze the fine print so you perfectly understand the rules of the game. The airline website is a good start, but often leaves many open questions. That’s why I always head to flyertalk.com to get the scoop from people who have been taking advantage of these promotions for years.
Link to promo on US website
Link to Flyertalk thread (note its now over 1,800 posts long, so I’ll save you the time and try to summarize as best as I can below)
Per the chart below, you earn hits by: staying at US Air car and hotel partners, transferring partner points to US, buying and sharing US points, using US points for magazines and shopping at partners. The good thing is that I already have 6 hotel stays and 6 car stays that will get me to an easy 12 hits. While I normally bank my Hertz points to my Hertz #1 account and my hotel stays to my respective hotel accounts, getting the US hits is worth it to temporarily credit my activity to my US Dividend Miles account. I also have several hotel point balances that I can transfer to US, thus bringing my hits up. I made a chart to show the number of hits you can possibly get for each type of activity and how many I plan to get. The goal is to spend as little as possible, so for example, to get a hit for Dividend Miles Wireless, you don’t have to actually sign up for a new account. You can spend $9 and buy cell phone screen wipes. The thing to understand is that you just need miles to post to your Dividend Miles account from each vendor.
Here are my 10 tips to maximizing this promotion. I will report back as hit my hit thresholds and explained how I got them. I’ll also write back after I take my business class trips to Europe :-)
1) Set a goal and stick to it. I won’t lie- this promotion takes times and determination. Analyze the low-hanging fruit and then do the cost-benefit analysis of hitting the next level.
2) Read the flyertalk.com thread for the cheapest ways to get hits.
3) Memorize your US Airways number. You will need to use it a lot, so commit it to memory!
4) Make sure you ALWAYS provide your Dividend Miles number with a partner. When renting a car, make sure the check-in agent has it down (same for hotel). It is very hard to get miles after your activity has happened, so try to make sure its included on the front end (such as at check-out for the online partners)
5) Keep all receipts and email confirmations. Partners are sometimes reluctant to award your hard earned miles, so you should always have proof. If your miles don’t show up within two weeks, send an email to confirm they are en route. If US doesn’t receive the hit by Feb 25, 2011, you won’t get credit for it.
6) Make an excel spreadsheet and track all of your hits. Add in notes as well, like “Make sure to cancel Netflix account after the points hit my account”. Especially if you go for a lot of hits, it can get very confusing.
7) Make sure you know when the hits will hit your account. For example, Netflix is offering one month free. That means they won’t bill you the first $9 until after your trial. So if you sign up for Netflix on November 1 and they don’t bill you until December 1- that won’t count as a hit, because all hits need to happen by November 14.
8) Make your hits as soon as possible. Some partners are notoriously slow at posting miles. You don’t want to be down to the wire and begging them to post. The more timeyou have, the better chance of a hit coming through.
9) For your online purchases, try to order something you will actually use. For example, if you are going to a wedding and are going to purchase items from Bloomingdales, do it through Dividend Miles Shopping portal. You’ll earn a hit for something you were going to buy anyway.
10) If you don’t already have a Dividend Miles account, sign up for one using their new member promo. You’ll receive 1,500 miles right away- a nice start to a generous promotion!
I know this is overwhelming at first, but the bonus is so good, it is worth it (at least for me) to take advantage. US also runs this every year, so the time you invest now will pay off in the future.
|Total number of Hits||Qualifying Partner Activity||Points||Cost to me|
|1||Purchase or renew your personal annual membership in the US Airways Club. All US Airways Club terms and conditions apply.|
|5||Earn miles by using your US Airways credit and debit cards. Each unique card partner can count for 1 Hit: 1 each for US Airways MasterCard, US Airways Business MasterCard, US Airways Visa credit card, US Airways Visa Business Card, US Airways Visa debit card.||1||$30|
|1||Singapore Airlines – Earn Dividend Miles on a paid qualifying ticket|
|6||Earn 1 Hit per mileage earning car rental from a qualifying partner, up to a maximum of 6 Hits per member. Hits can be earned by using the same car rental partner 6 times or by using 6 different car rental partners. There are 8 qualifying partners: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Sixt and Thrifty.||6||$0|
|6||Earn 1 Hit per mileage earning hotel stay with a qualifying partner, up to a maximum of 6 Hits per member. Hits can be earned by using the same hotel partner 6 times or by using 6 different hotel partners. There are 11 qualifying hotel families available:||6||$0|
|Accor Hotels: Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, Pullman, MGallery|
|Carlson Hotels: Country Inns & Suites, Park Inn, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotels & Resorts|
|Choice Hotels: Ascend Collection, Cambria Suites, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Econo Lodge, MainStay Suites, Quality Inn, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn, Suburban Extended Stay|
|Hilton Worldwide Portfolio of Brands: Conrad, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites, Waldorf Astoria Collection|
|Hyatt: AmeriSuites, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Summerfield Suites|
|Intercontinental Hotels Group: Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Staybridge Suites|
|Marriott: Autograph Collection, Courtyard, Edition, Fairfield Inn, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts , Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites, TownePlace Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club (mileage-earning stay)|
|Starwood Hotels (minimum 100 Dividend Miles earned): Aloft, Element, Four Points, Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, St. Regis, W Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts|
|Wyndham: Baymont Inn & Suites, Days Inn, Hawthorn Suites, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Microtel Inns and Suites, Ramada Worldwide, Super 8 Motel, Travelodge, Wingate Inn, Wyndham Hotels|
|10||Earn 1 Hit when you convert hotel points from a qualifying partner into Dividend Miles. Maximum 1 Hit per qualifying partner. There are 10 qualifying partners: Accor (AClub), Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges, Hilton HHonors, Hyatt Gold Passport, InterContinental Hotels Group (Priority Club), Marriott Rewards, Radisson Gold Points Plus, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Wyndham Rewards.||5||$0|
|1||Earn 1 Hit when you make a qualifying purchase at the US Airways Dividend Miles Shopping Mall. Maximum 1 Hit regardless of number of merchants used at the Shopping Mall. Purchases of SkyMall merchandise does not count towards Shopping Mall, but does count as a unique Hit. All US Airways Dividend Miles Shopping Mall terms and conditions apply.||1||$1|
|1||Earn 1 Hit when you buy or gift miles at usairways.com or points.com (max 1 Hit per member).||1||$30|
|1||Earn 1 Hit when you share miles at usairways.com or points.com (max 1 Hit per member).||1||$30|
|1||Earn 1 Hit when you swap points or miles into Dividend Miles at points.com – swapping Dividend Miles out does not count (max 1 Hit per member).||1||$0|
|1||21st Century Auto Insurance|
|1||ADT Home Security|
|1||Audience Rewards (coming soon)|
|1||Dividend Miles Dining||1||$0|
|1||Dividend Miles Wireless||1||$10|
|1||FTD.com & Florist.com (counts as 1 partner)||1||$25|
|1||Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ownership|
|1||ING Direct – ShareBuilder|
|1||Marriott Vacation Club (ownership purchase)|
|1||Magazines for Miles||1||$0|
|1||Starwood Vacations Ownership|
|1||SuperShuttle & ExecuCar (counts as 1 partner)||1||$20|
|1||US Airways Cruises|
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Credit Rating|
|N/A||16.24%-23.24% Variable||Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95||5.00%||Excellent Credit|