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