Update: My 100,000 United & Delta Mile Payday with Fidelity

by on March 7, 2012 · 88 comments

in Delta, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, United

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In December I wrote about the opportunity to get 50,000 United and 50,000 Delta miles by opening up Fidelity brokerage accounts. The trick is to open a United account first, fund it, and once you get the miles, then open the Delta account since the Delta promotion did not exclude existing Fidelity customers.

I did just that and have successfully received both sets of 50,000 miles, so wanted to share my experience. Considering this method does not incur any credit inquiries or annual fees, like applying for mileage credit cards does, I consider this a pretty great way to rack up miles if you’ve got the cash laying around. Luckily I have family members who gave me short term loan of these funds, so I was able to get it deposited and get the miles in a pretty quick turnaround time. Note: It may be possible to use a smaller amount of money, like $10,000, and deposit/withdraw it until you hit the total amount deposited needed for the bonus.

I created my first United Fidelity account on December 28, 2011. I funded it with the maximum at that time, which was $20,000 a day until the account was verified. I was busy over the holidays so I deposited $25,000 on January 4, 2012, and then the final $56,000 on January 10, 2012.

I received a set of 15,000 United miles on or about January 6, 2012, and then I received an email on January 25, 2012 that the rest of my United miles were on the way. I’m not exactly sure what day they were deposited, but my United statement shows an activity date of 35,000 miles on January 20, 2012. Score!

I then transferred most of the money (I’m still keeping my accounts open and leaving small balances to day trade with) back to my checking account and created a new Fidelity account using the Delta sign-up promotion on February 21, 2012, and fully funded back to $100,000, which I could do in one transfer since I was an existing and verified customer.

50,000 Delta SkyMiles were deposited into my account on February 25, 2012. I was stunned at the quick turnaround!

I’m also currently working at getting 20,000 Starwood points  via TD Ameritrade’s new account bonus when you deposit $25,000.

I understand not everyone has this type of cash accessible, but if you do it can be extremely profitable to take advantage of these deals since the miles post so quickly (FYI I do not have any business relationship with Fidelity for recommending these promotions). If you want to hear examples of other peoples’ experiences with these accounts, there is a several hundred page long Flyertalk thread that can be found here.

Disclaimer: 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.

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  • Matt

    If I did this fidelity promo for AA miles and Skymiles last year, can I also hop in to do the united promo?

  • AlexMinnesota

    The majority of your readers probably don’t have 100k laying around to fund Fidelity accounts and if they do they probably aren’t out opening accounts for free points.

  • thepointsguy

    I disagree. I know a lot of people who have gotten this bonus- just read the Flyertalk thread- there are creative ways that hundreds/thousands of people have gotten in on this.

  • thepointsguy

    Technically the United deal isn’t for existing customers, however anything is possible. I’d read through the Flyertalk thread to see if anyone else has gotten all three.

  • JosephStern

    Just an FYI, the TD Ameritrade + SPG promo is dead. I think the only one left is AA for TD Ameritrade.

  • Diamond Vargas

    The T&C state that you need to have the applicable funds in the account for 6 months. Sounds like, at least for the United portion of the project, you had the full $100k deposited for far less time. Are you concerned that the miles may be retracted?

  • thepointsguy

    I have some funds in the account and will leave them there for 6 months. There have been no reports of retracted miles and I just emptied my united account to book an award so I’m not really concerned

  • Gpapadop

    I did all these brokerage deals back in the go go days. I used to have an account I called “the whore” account, it just went around and around. Terms have tightened, especially for people wanting to get the bonus again (same brokerage, same airline, beware!). I was shut down by both TD Ameritrade and Fidelity for getting bonuses again…The “must keep account open” minimum terms have also tightened up quite a bit. For both conditions…I am sure some slide through! If a new brokerage company came in the picture I may try this again…but for now, I am not going (back) there again.

  • Miron

    When you write “I then transferred most of the money (I’m still keeping my accounts open and leaving small balances to day trade with) back to my checking account and created a new Fidelity account using the Delta sign-up promotion on February 21, 2012, and fully funded back to $100,000, which I could do in one transfer since I was an existing and verified customer.” did you create a new account for Delta or after clicking to Delta link you logged in and added funds to your existing Fido United account? I am not clear how you funded the Delta: cycling with partial payments or lump sum of 100K again, after you completed the same for United?

  • Jeff Ning

    Thanks brotha. I did this and recieved my miles. About to try one for the wife,brother,sister,mom, and dad. The best is to go with AA since you are allowed limit to receive 100k in 1 year. I have been contemplating putting my ff# down to see if that works but it may not be worth the risk.

  • thepointsguy

    I created a brand new Fidelity account using the Delta link and my SkyMiles number. I put down that I was an existing customer, so when the account was created, it was linked with my existing account that I had for the United miles. Since it was linked, I was verified so I just transfered the lump sum 100k to the Delta account. No cycling here

  • Tom

    So as long as you deposit a total of $100K within 90days you receive the 50K miles, correct? So you could essentially deposit in $10K, transfer out $10K, and retransfer in $10K repeating this sequence to meet the threshold, correct?

  • thepointsguy

    People have down that though there are reports that they are cracking down on it. Can’t guarantee that’ll work but read the flyertalk thread for more recent experiences

  • MilesRunner

    I’m not familiar with how Fidelity investments work. When you transfer money in, where is it invested? Is it a savings account, money market, or do you have to pick stocks? Did you get the bonus without incurring any fees?

  • thepointsguy

    It just gets put in a holding account. You don’t need to actually invest the money in any accounts to get the bonus, so no fees incurred- in fact I think I got some interest.

  • THEsocalledfan

    As an FYI, you made this too complex. I signed up for the United offer. Once I had the account from that, I signed up the Delta offer and began my money “churning.” When my churn of $10-15 hit the milestones, I got 15K miles in both United and Delta, then another 10K when the $50K deposit was reached. Today, my last deposit to get to $100K total just hit and I am sure I will soon get a 25K deposit in both programs. I followed exactly how Gary said to do it with no problems. Could have also gotten an apple gift card if I could have gotten to 75K faster……

  • MilesRunner

    That was a quick reply. I got a small USAir bonus last year from Sharebuilder, but I think it required making a trade, which cost $4 to buy and $9.95 to sell so you can transfer the funds back out.

  • sfobuddy

    Wow. Travel blogging is treating you really well…

  • Plextor555

    I believe you will get a 1099 for your miles. Brokerages seem to be like banks and report account-related bonuses.

  • Andre LaPlume

    Didn’t get one from TD for their DAL promotion in 2011.

  • kaztx

    I hope you got the Apple gift card as well. I did UA and Delta but only got enough money in during the 30-day window to get a $100 card. Now I’m doing same for huz and will go for the $300 card in addition to UA/DL miles. This is a sweet deal for us since we just sold a house (currently renting) and have the proceeds to play with until we decide what our next move is. Any other ways to turn idle cash into miles?

  • Cohall

    My company’s 401K, and stock program (I participate in both) are with Fidelity. Any thoughts on whether or not having these accounts would exclude me from the 1st time customer requirement?

  • Loveroftiramisu

    I have $50k in TD Ameritrade for UA miles which I can withdraw now.
    With $100k laying around, what do you recommend please?
    Open Fidelity for UA and then reopen for Delta?
    Please explain more in detail….

  • Sss

    You didn’t need to create and fund a new Fidelity Account to take advantage of the Delta offer. All you had to do was after meeting the requirements for the United/AA promo and those miles posted – click on the Delta link and checkoff “fund existing account” you then enter your account number and skymiles number. I did that and just funded an additional 20k and the total 50k Delta miles also posted my account (based off my previous 100k churn) – I didn’t need to start a new account or fund an additional 100k.

    Once I finish the miles promo for my wife, I’m going to start churning my account up to 300k and then sign up for the Apple promo in hopes of getting the $500 gift card (I couldn’t churn $300k in the 30 day window required from scratch). Not sure if it will work, but if it counts past churns like the Delta one did, then I’m getting a free iphone soon.

  • Jmansour

    so say I put in $25k to start? and i recycyle the same $25k within 90 days to make it $100k will that get me the 50k miles bonus? after i see my 50k miles i then do the same thing with delta?

  • Butlerbc

    Another FYI, if you are affiliated with a broker/dealer, FINRA, NASD, or the like you will not be eligible. It is technically in the fine print but I gave it a shot anyways. After getting the run around for several weeks because they could not “figure out” while my miles were not posting, I finally got the official e-mail that it was due to the fact that I work for another brokerage firm and was ineligible.

  • Diamond Vargas

    I’m in the same position and called to ask about this when the deal first came out. You would be eligible for the Delta promotion, but not the others.

  • Denise

    We got United miles last year, but thanks to your post, we also just got Delta miles. Thanks for all of your good information.

  • KP

    No and No! I use Fidelity as a Brokerage Account, ROTH IRA, TRA IRA, 403B, And my smart cash account. You will receive the points with an existing account! All I did was withdraw my 100k to my other bank. Then I went to the bank and wrote a 100k check to myself and cashed it in at the Fidelity office :). It is quite nice having all of these accounts in one login. I love the layout! Also the ATM card can be used worldwide with no ATM fees or FOREX fees. You can withdraw cash at bank rate! Hidden gem that a lot of people don’t know about because they are too busy using Chase, Wells Fargo, or Bank of America!

  • Tim

    I am surprised I missed this offer…..

    Couple of questions:
    #1 Reading the websites it looks like United, DL and AA are still up and being offered – So I can still do this deal as of today 03/07/2012?
    #2.a Can my wife and I sign up separately i.e. two accounts of $100k for 50k miles x 2?
    #2.b Any reason I couldn’t do the same for each of my kids?
    #3 If I fund right away with $100k do I have to leave it in the account for the full length of time (I think 90 days) or can I put $100k in, leave it for say a week or two and then remove it. I understand I may get the points right away…
    #4 Seems by eveyones post I can go from UA to DL to AA correct? No worries about “new” accounts not qualifying.

    Thanks so much for your help on this

  • Email

    If you read the post, you would have read that family members loaned him the money.

  • Ike

    Yes, cycling the $25K 3 more times should get you the 50K AA/UA miles and then just sign up for DL and the DL miles post without further cycling.

    Also, you can sign up to get an Apple GC ($100-300) without further deposits.

  • Scwram

    So it’s certain that late registration of the Delta promo is retroactive on the deopsits? Why not just register for Delta at the same time as UA/AA?

  • TpgFollower

    Please be very patient if you are being “creative”. My account was closed recently since I made the transactions too fast which alerted the “risk”ies :) That’s all I am going to say here.

  • Jmansour

    Whats the link for the apple gc?

  • oldmanpeabody

    Agree with TPG. I got in on it as well and I have less than $10k in cash available, just had to get a little creative with short term loans, etc. Also, note that you have a choice between 50k United miles or 50k American miles, which is what I opted for. Thanks again, TPG, I first heard about this promo here and wouldn’t have gotten all those points otherwise!

  • leeschneider

    Looks like the SPG/TD Ameritrade offer is dead. The only one still up there seems to be the American deal.

  • Tim

    I just applied for the United deal this morning.

    The link the to UA/Fidelity site was active and still offered 50K.

    I hope it is still legit?!?!?

    Any comments?

  • thepointsguy

    Lee was referring to TD Ameritrade. Fidelity is still active- no issues there

  • leeschneider

    Tim, I was referring specifically to the TD Ameritrade deals. Can’t comment on the Fidelity deals. Good luck.

  • SS

    After u sign up for fidelity.. Did u received any confirmation email regarding the free miles promotion? I only got a generic confirmation email receive opening the fidelity account @_@ wondering if I did it right. I funded 25K Sunday (funded immediately via chase) and another 25K (Tuesday) and another 25K today (3/8). I will fund the rest of the 25K tomorrow. But I’m not sure if I did it right since I got no emails regarding the offer

  • Robinschwartz1216

    i already have a fidelity account and when i called fidelity they said i’m not eligible for the united deal. Can you explain how you did this if you had existing fidelity accounts?

  • SS

    I’m a new reader and any free points/miles/money is worth it even if I do have 100k cash. It’s all hard earned money that I treasure and will spend wisely :D

  • TK

    What was it you did?

  • maewest13

    I’m also in the same position (company’s 401k is Fidelity) and I opened a new personal brokerage account, called and confirmed the same day that I was eligible and also called again the following day after my first deposit posted to confirm that I was enrolled for the promotion. The representative on day 1 confirmed that I was eligible but I would need to have them manually enroll me after my first deposit, and on day 2 it was confirmed by a second rep that I was indeed enrolled in the promo.

  • Scram

    I’ve read several posts that you don’t recieve any confirmations and those people still got the miles. Did you send your money over directly from Chase’s websight (push)? I’d like to know if you still get the miles this way instead of pulling it from the fidelity side. Please update when you can about mile postings

  • SS

    I funded money via fidelity’s website. It looks like Chase and Fidelity are somehow affiliated bc the money transfers over immediately. So I funded the first 25K on 3/4 and I got the first 15K miles today 3/11. So it looks like a week turnaround :) As of 3/9.. I’ve fully funded the account with 100K. I’m planning to wait until all 50K posts before I apply for delta offer.

    However.. i remember the guy at the flyertalk forum didn’t wait until all miles posted. He mentioned that he applied for the Delta offer the same day after he finished depositing the $100K. I’m kinda debating if I wanna wait a week to apply to Delta off or to just do it now :P The blogger at flyertalk forum just applied after depositing $100K vs TPG withdraw money after AA/United miles deposited.. applied Delta offer.. then redeposited the money.

    Any thought? *^_^*

  • Scram

    I’m not sure on thoughts. I’ve not done the deal yet. I do know that people giving their old UA number are having some delays due to the conversion. Seems UA extinguished their numbers and replaced them with the linked CO FF#. Did you do UA? If so, did you use your old UA #?

  • TK

    Whats the diff of cycling by ‘Transfer Money/Shares’ vs. ‘Withdraw’ both allow you to select each account (bank/fidelity) as the from/to accounts?

    Also, how do you know when you bank account is verified by Fidelity?

  • gryphon

    I’ve done this 4 times now :D


    The small print says the miles are not eligible for elite status. Does this mean these miles won’t help me towards silver/gold etc status?

  • SS

    I actually applied for AAdvantage miles bc I’m looking to fly out of San Diego to Hawaii.. And it’s seems like AA cost the least miles (correct me if anyone knows otherwise. This is my first time dealing with miles).

    And also.. The rest of my miles (total 50k) posted today (Sunday). So the turned ard time from when I first got a fidelity act and also a AAdvantage act to my 50K miles was 16 days exactly. Now.. on to my Delta miles. Hopefully.. This is will as quick of turn around as TPG. His turn ard was something like 5 days. Once that is done.. I’ll do it for my hubby (for his free flight).

  • Scram

    I also believe AA has the lowest redemption costs. However I chose United since they serve good codeshare flights to asia. The increased redemption cost is minimal for my needs. So you didn’t cycle? If you did, exactly how many days did you wait to make the first withdrawel from the initial deposit. My opening this weekend has something called an “Activation date” which is 12 days from the opening date. Not sure what that is. I’ve read recently that someone used the same FF# previously used but under the spouces name, yet got the miles deposited again into their own account.

  • Scram

    Nevermind my questions. I overlooked your previous posts

  • SS

    I also want to accumulate flights to Asia for next yr.. Which United codeshare airlines are good? It seems like AA codeshares include Cathay Pacific and JAL vs United codeshares include ANA and Singapore.

    I didn’t cycle. I was able pool enough from family. But when I tried to withdraw 99K out, it says “in review.” so I cancelled it and applied for the DL offer. I’ll see if I can also get DL 50K miles without withdrawing and then depositing. It seems like DL miles deposit on saturdays.. so I’ll wait a week. However, for apple offer.. I’ll need to cycle. I don’t know how that “in review” status will affect it though. I’ll update when that happens.

    It would be awesome if we can use same FF#.. but then again.. if it doesn’t post.. then we would waste one 50K offer. Dunno if I’m up to take that risk :P

  • Diamond Vargas

    To be clear, you did this and received the 50k AA or United miles? I understand you would be eligible for the Delta promotion as an existing account holder, but the terms of the AA and United offers are only for new customers.

  • Diamond Vargas

    Yes, that it what it means, which is typical for financial account signup bonuses. Only miles actually flown count towards silver/gold/elite status (generally).

  • maewest13

    Yes – I received an initial 15k United miles so far (deposited a day or so after my first deposit into the new brokerage account). I have not yet registered for the Delta promo (waiting until the rest of my miles hit my ff account).

  • David Lichtman

    FYI — If you are employed by a FINRA member (all broker/dealers and many financial firms), you are ineligible for this offer. At least I found out without having to apply for a new credit card!

  • MinnesotaRick

    I registered for the Fidelity Delta promo yesterday morning and moved $100k into my non-retirement existing brokerage account soon after. I called Fidelity this morning and confirmed eligibility for the promotion. Has anyone completed the Fidelity promo recently that can share how long it took for the 50k miles to post to your Delta FF account? Thanks!

  • JohnAtlanta

    I deposited $100K into my existing Fidelity non-retirement brokerage account and received the 50K Delta Skymiles posted into my Delta account in 6 days.This works great!

  • Diamond Vargas

    As an update to this, I was an existing Fidelity customer with a 401(k) and an IRA, and I clicked through the United offer as you described above. That was on Tuesday, and today (Thursday) I received an email from Fidelity stating:
    “Thank you for signing up for the Fidelity Account® special offer for United Mileage Plus® members.
    Unfortunately, our records indicate that you are not currently eligible for this offer because existing customers are ineligible for this offer.
    If you have any questions or need further assistance, please call a Fidelity Representative at 800-544-3719.”
    I will still sign up for the Delta offer which is open to existing customers, but looks like my experience with the United offer as an existing customer was different from yours.

  • maewest13

    data point: just received a 35k posting on 3/30 which puts me at the full 50k amount.

  • Jermsrgood

    To iterate another comment made earlier: If you are employed by a FINRA member (all broker/dealers and many financial firms), you are ineligible for this offer. So if you work in the financial services industry, you cannot do this (which i unfortunately found out today). Luckily i may be leaving my job soon and will take advantage of this.

    Also (as told by the rep) Fidelity just renewed contracts with all 3 airlines and would most likely continue this promo for some time. Also (as told by the rep), United / American may no longer require NEW accounts and you could do this now with existing accounts (but ask ahead of time).

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  • Joshcom

    I just got rejected from the Delta offer. I did the United offer, and it worked fine. Then I put an additional $100K in, for a total of $200,000 into the account, and they refused to give the me the Delta miles, pointing out the fine print that says “Promotional offers are limited to one per individual per rolling 12 months” I asked them to make an exception and they refused. Very politely, but still. You’d think for $200,000 they’d take care of me, but no. I’ll be closing out the account now.

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  • Marco

    Here is what I got when I tried to get Delta Miles after getting the United miles.

    “Thank you for contacting us about the Delta SkyMiles offer. I am happy to help you with your questions.

    I contact our Investments Department and they informed me that you have already received 50,000 United Airline Miles for your account. We are able to give you one set of airline miles per year. They informed me that you will be able to receive additional airline miles in one year…

    Please note for the United Miles, you will need to keep the funds in the account for six months.

    For further questions, you may contact our Investments Department directly at 800-343-3548. Our associates are available:

    Monday through Wednesday, 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.
    Thursday and Friday, 7:00 a.m. – midnight
    Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
    Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.
    All times are Eastern

    Please contact us again anytime and thank you for choosing to invest with Fidelity Investments.”

  • Selene

    Is the recycling stop working? I deposited 15k, withdrew 14k, then deposit 14k again. The total account value I have on my account is 15k, instead of 29k? Can somebody help? Thanks.

  • carolina

    FYI…cycling of funds, in and out of account did not work. Apparently the funds must remain for 6 months.


    Thank you for investing with Fidelity. I am happy to provide you with a status of the airline miles.

    Our records reflect that you registered for the United Airlines promotion. However, deposits made to the account were withdrawn shortly after being deposited, so the airlines offer registration is no longer considered valid. In order to receive the airline miles, it will be necessary to leave the funds in the account for at least six months.

    I see that you deposited funds initially on May 17, 2012, and also on May 22nd totaling $40,000. You then, withdrew the funds on May 30th, therefore, you are no longer eligible to participate in the airlines promotion, and I apologize for any inconvenience.

    You can still participate in the offer, if you deposit the funds to your account and maintain the balance for the full six months.

    You can view the complete details of the United MileagePlus offer by accessing the link below:

  • robin

    Hi pointsguy,
    I did receive my united points a week after i deposited the money. Do I need to keep that money for 6 months before I do the delta? I’ve read about how you can cycle the money but I don’t really get how its done? The 100K is now in fidelity, should I withraw it and apply for the delta miles? Wouldnt fidelity figure out that its just the old money deposited back? Any feedback would be appreciated

  • Mrnik2007

    The rules changed. Now you can only get 1 airline bonus every 12 months.

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  • Ziyingl

    Having $100k or $200k sitting around to invest doens’t make anyone rich these days. it may only means the person is good with managing finance. Plus, a person having good finance record doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t be smart with money. I have more than 200k cash to invest and I would like to get free points too. Why not? Smart people would.

  • Anon

    yes… I tried the same with $100k into United first, and then tried another $100k with Delta. I called Fidelity this morning and they said you are only allowed one promotion per 12 months. Has anyone had any success getting around this?

  • Surfintheusa

    Aww I feel sorry for the scumbags who are trying to cheat the system by cycling their funds in and out of their accounts. Let me guess, because they are a big business it makes it ok…they dont need the money, right?! Your moral compass is messed up if thats what you think. The offers are there for people to invest, not cycle money in, then take it out once you have the miles. Db’s.

  • cuckoojuice

    Yes, but when you go to close the brokerage account, they normally hit you for about an average $95 account closing or transfer fee. How did that work out for you since you have two accounts there? Starts to cut into the benefit of doing this.

  • Jeff

    Opened the united acct but was not aware of the Delta deal as well. Is there a code or anything specific need to open it.
    Did you draft funds from your First acct to the next or withdraw most of the funds and re deposit ?

    The fine print says acct needs to remain open for 6 months. Nothing about balance requirements after funding.
    You have 60 days to complete funding.
    It does not have to be All Cash! Stocks,etc. any non retirement funds. There is one exception that came to me. Im pretty sure you can borrow from your IRA without penalty provided you put it all back before 60 days. I would only do this with cash.

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  • Josh Josh

    read the material that’s already available.

    you can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink.

  • Chi

    Did you end up getting a 1099 for the points? thx. (if so at what value)?

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