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Winc: Ordering wine is helping me earn airline elite status, but is it worth it?

April 28, 2022
7 min read
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There are more ways than ever to earn American Airlines elite status now with the introduction of Loyalty Points.

You can earn elite qualifying Loyalty Points on a wide range of everyday activities, including dining out, ordering flowers, staying at hotels and filling up your tank. But arguably one of the most lucrative methods is through the AAdvantage eShopping online shopping portal.

American's shopping portal lets you earn bonus redeemable miles and Loyalty Points at hundreds of online retailers simply by starting at the portal and clicking through to the merchant's website. Most retailers generally offer 1 to 5 bonus miles per dollar spent through the portal.

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However, we often see outsized earnings offered by wine subscription services — sometimes 50 miles (or more) per dollar. These services typically participate in American's SimplyMiles program, too, allowing you to double dip on your earnings.

Among these wine clubs is Winc. At the time of writing, the company is offering 1,500 miles for your first order through the shopping portal and 1,000 miles by activating the offer through SimplyMiles. That’s a sizable return given the service's low price tag.

But is it actually worth it? How is the quality of the wine, and how difficult is it to cancel your subscription? Here’s what I learned after testing the service out.

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Cost

New members who sign up for Winc can currently get four bottles of wine for $29.95, including shipping but not tax. So, each bottle came out to around $8, which seemed like a good enough deal even before factoring in the miles.

Just note that after your first month, your subscription will automatically renew for $59.95 per month. However, there's no long-term commitment, so you can cancel whenever you’d like (more on that later).

Related: How to earn the maximum points for alcohol purchases

Value

As discussed, I earned 2,500 AAdvantage miles and Loyalty Points on my order: 1,500 miles for placing my order through the eShopping portal and another 1,000 miles for activating a Winc offer through SimplyMiles and paying with a Mastercard.

(Screenshot from aadvantageeshopping.com)

Considering the box cost about $30, I got a return of more than 80 miles per dollar spent, which is phenomenal and sure beats the return you get from flying.

Normally, you only earn between 5 and 11 miles per dollar spent on flights with American, depending on your status. In other words, as a general AAdvantage member, I would have needed to spend at least $500 on airfare (before factoring in taxes) in order to earn the same amount of miles.

Related: How to earn Loyalty Points

(Screenshot from simplymiles.com)

TPG values American Airlines miles at 1.77 cents each, so I effectively got $44 back in rewards and made a net gain of about $14. Alternatively, you could look at it as me buying American miles for a modest 1.2 cents apiece.

But that was just the cherry on top. The real reason I placed this order, after all, was to quickly earn Loyalty Points toward American elite status.

Let's also not forget that I still got four bottles of wine. Each bottle retailed for $10 to $20, so I got good value there, too.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with American Airlines AAdvantage

Testing the wine

Before even signing up for Winc, I was prompted to complete a short ″Palate Profile″ quiz so that the algorithm could attempt to learn my tastes. The questions ranged from what kinds of flavors I like to whether I'd rather eat Skittles or M&Ms — or both at the same time.

I was then matched with two red and two white wines with flavors of white peach and strawberry.

(Screenshot from winc.com)

However, they didn't all jump out to me, so I decided to customize my box and swap out three of the four wines. I ended up ordering the following:

  • Far & Wide‌ Grenache, 2020‌ (recommended by the algorithm).
  • If a Tree Falls Pinot Grigio, 2020.
  • Lost Poet Red Blend, 2019.
  • Summer Water Rosé, 2020.

Winc exclusively sells its own wines, so you'll never see any big brand names. If you want to reorder any of the wines, you'd generally have to do so through Winc, though some brands may be available at local retailers.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Related: Drizly vs. Uber Eats: We put alcohol deliveries to the test

There was no way I could finish four bottles of wine alone, so I enlisted the help of a few friends to sample them with me. None of us are wine experts, but overall, the wines were better than expected. We wouldn't go out of our way to buy them again, but none were particularly bad, and we still finished all the bottles.

Everyone's favorite was the Summer Water Rosé. This is definitely one of Winc's best-known wines and one that you might find in a local liquor store. It was refreshing and fruity, with notes of strawberry, grapefruit and watermelon. A friend said, "It lives up to its name — it's perfect for a hot summer day." It's also quite popular on Vivino, with a 3.9 average rating.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

I also enjoyed the Far & Wide Grenache. It was well balanced with flavors of dark fruits and spice. Although Winc bottles all wine in California, it sources grapes from around the globe. In this case, they were from the Western Cape of South Africa.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

The Lost Poet Red Blend was palatable, too, though it was definitely on the oakier side. Meanwhile, we thought the If a Tree Falls Pinot Grigio would've been better off used for cooking. However, it seems popular on Vivino, with a 4.0 average rating.

Ease of use

From the ″Palate Profile″ quiz to canceling my membership, Winc's platform was very straightforward and easy to use. The questionnaire was fun to complete, and I appreciated the option to customize the bottles in my box.

(Screenshot from winc.com)

One of the most important things for me when signing up for a recurring service like Winc is how easy it is to cancel. And luckily, it was in this case. Although there was no cancel button online, I was able to easily cancel my membership via text message. Alternatively, I could have called in or chatted with an agent online. My membership was canceled without hesitation, and there was no cancellation fee.

Unfortunately, Winc cannot ship to Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Utah. There are also some wines that can't be shipped to Michigan.

Bottom line

Buying a box of Winc wine through the AAdvantage eShopping online shopping portal proved to be a phenomenal deal. For about $30, I earned the same amount of elite qualifying Loyalty Points I'd normally earn on a flight costing more than $500, plus about $44 worth of redeemable miles. Although I really only placed this order for the rewards, the wines themselves were better than expected and definitely drinkable.

You only earn miles on new subscriptions, so you can't get this outsized return month after month. However, the subscription is easy to cancel, and there are other wine clubs on the portal that you can earn miles with.

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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