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I’m excited to announce that starting today that I will be featuring guest blog posts from some of the greatest minds in the frequent flyer world. For the first post, I’m happy to introduce Joshua Pickles, also known as Mr. Pickles. In the frequent flyer community Mr. Pickles is known for his ability to analyze opportunities and push the boundaries on what is possible when it comes ways of earning miles and points.
Update: There is a chance your credit card company may characterize these purchases as cash advances, so I recommend making a small purchase to verify how the charge posts, before buying a lot of Amex Gift cards.
Greetings to all TPG followers, I am Joshua Pickles and I contribute to the Flyertalk and MilePoint forums under the handle “mrpickles”. Beginning today I will be guest blogging with tips and tricks to help you maximize your miles and points potential. To read more about me see the end of this post or visit my own blog at www.TheMrPickles.com or follow me on Twitter @TheMrPickles.
The Points Guy contacted me and asked if I could weigh in on some ideas on how to make some worthwhile purchases on your newly acquired Chase British Airways 100K mile Visa card. As you know, to get the 100K miles you need to make a total of $2,500 in purchases within 90 days. The first 50K miles post after your first purchase, which can be a purchase as small as a pack of gum or a tomato at the grocery store, then bam you have 50K points in your account. But for some people, finding a way to complete the $2,500 total spend requirement in the next 90 days requires some creativity.
Today and Thursday I will outline some different methods you can use to meet these spend requirements. Today’s post covers spending money on the credit card to Double and Triple dip rewards.
When I was a frequent flyer newbie I would get a thrill out of earning points and miles. I felt that I was getting something for free, and when standing on the jetway boarding for my next flight I would sneak a glance at other passengers boarding passes and notice no status or no frequent flyer number and snicker to myself thinking that these people were losing out on miles. Even today I cringe when I see someone in a restaurant or grocery store handing over a fist of money. All those lost miles.
Well, it did not take long until I realized it took an awful lot of activity just to get just one free flight or hotel night. Then I was enlightened that a better way to rack up miles was to Double Dip. I use online shopping mall websites and for simplicity I will focus on one called Big Crumbs. This is a online shopping mall where members sign in and then click through to the popular stores where they want to purchase an item such as eBay, Expedia, Walmart, Drugstore.com, etc. Members earn a cash back incentive which is a percentage of the total amount spent per store for example Flowers.com is 9.6%, and Nordstrom is 5.6%.
How it Works
BigCrumbs is very simple to use. First you click on the link and sign up for a free account. Next you sign-in and shop as usual. Third; in about 2 months you will receive an automatic cash rebate via Paypal on all of your purchases. Payments lag about 8 weeks, so purchases made throughout the month of May will be paid on July 15.
How to Double Dip and Triple Dip.
One of the stores on BigCrumbs is the American Express Gift Card store which pays 1.6% cash back. You can use a Chase British Airways Visa card, for example, and make a purchase at the American Express Gift Cards/Business Store,(earning 1.25 BA miles per dollar spent) and then use the American Express gift cards for everyday purchases. There are two Amex Gift Card stores, one for personal and one for business gift cards. The personal store has an upper limit of $3,000 per gift card ($5,000 per order) and the Business store has an upper limit of $5,000/gift card ($75,000 per order). American Express will not ship gift cards to Hawaii or Vermont. There is a current offer code from American Express “GEN374” which gives an additional $5.95 discount to help absorb any fees incurred like a shipping fee. Another offer code is “EMMOTCM” for FEE-FREE Amex Gift Cards good until 6/30/2011 (this is the better deal for the time being). This would be the Double Dip:
- Miles for British Airways using your Chase British Airways Visa card
- Purchase the gift cards for use later to complete your $2,500 spend requirement right away
- 1.6% cash back for the Amex gift card purchase
You can take it a step further and use the newly purchased Amex Gift Card and go back to Big Crumbs and book your travel through the Expedia travel website and earn an additional cash back of 6.4% on all air, hotel other travel bookings. This would be your Triple Dip:
- Miles for BAEC using your Chase British Airways Visa card
- 1.6% Cash Back for purchase of Amex Gift Card
- Additional cash back for Expedia purchases
So in essence, say you really need the 100,000 miles to book an award and you don’t want to wait several months to meet the $2,500 spend requirement. Once you get the card in the mail and activate it, you could buy $2,500 in gift cards from the American Express Business Gift Card store, which would cost $2,500 plus $8.95 in shipping and handling. You’d then receive an automatic Paypal payment from Big Crumbs for $40 the next month, so you’d come out $31.05 ahead once you take out the shipping fee. So in essence you’ve just taken nearly 33% off the $95 annual fee, earned 3,125 additional BA miles on top of the 100,000 bonus and you hit the spend requirement immediately. If you then spent those gift cards on travel through Expedia using Big Crumbs, you’d then get an additional money back:
Cash Back Tiers Product/Category
Car Rental 2.4%
Expedia Special Rate Merchant Hotel (includes Unpublished and Sponsered Rates) 6.4%
Big Crumbs as a Passive Income Stream
BigCrumbs works on a referral system much like any multilevel marketing program. There are three tiers. First tier is the person who referred me, second tier is myself, and the third tier is the person who signs up under me. I make a small commission on the purchase that I make and so does the person above me, and above them. The person below me makes a small commission on their purchases and so do I and the person above me. Anyone that you get to sign up makes a commission and so do you and I. So basically you get a commission on your own purchases and the purchases of the next two steps below you. If you have many buyers below you then you will have a continuous stream of passive income. So to get started please sign up under my link here.
Example of signup page:
Once you sign up you can then create a referral code of your own and then email that to your friends and family and start earning on their purchases too.
“mrpickles” has been writing on the Flyertalk.com forum since 2009 and more recently on the MilePoint.com forum telling stories of racking huge amounts of frequent flyer miles in a short period of time. Primarily focusing on American Airlines AAdvantage miles mrpickles found notoriety in December 2009 when The Wall Street Journal wrote a front page article which featured a story that hinted about how mrpickles earned American Airlines lifetime Platinum status without ever stepping on an American Airlines flight. More recently he was featured as one of the Legends of Flyertalk at the Chicago Seminar 2010, a gathering of over 500 frequent flyers learning the tricks of the trade. mrpickles currently holds over 5.8 million miles and points over several programs and this year has top tier status with United, Air France, Continental, and American Airlines as well as Starwood Hotels and Hilton Hotels.