It’s been awhile since I participated in a program where you have to make transactions with X number of merchants in order to get a bunch of frequent flyer miles. I did one YEARS ago for American that had me making small purchases from all kinds of weird merchants such as Orvis. But this one looks easy-peasy: Spend money with these four American Airlines partners, get 10,000 miles: 1-800-FLOWERS, the AAdvantage Shopping Portal, AAdvantage Dining and Vinesse Wines.
Since I didn’t feel like working this afternoon, I went ahead and planned out a strategy for getting the bonus miles and more at a cost of about $150, without buying anything I didn’t want anyway:
First, I ordered some Mother’s Day flowers. Thanks to a hot tip from One Mile at a Time, I registered for the $15 off $50 promo currently available to American Express card users, and paid for it with my Amex. I ended up paying $70 including shipping and tax for a nice plant that was worth about $20 (this is why I normally don’t order from 800-FLOWERS!), but I got an email from Amex offers right away confirming my $15 statement credit, so I’ll really only pay $55. Besides the bonus miles I’m going for, I also earned 30 miles to the dollar for going through the American link, which should be 1,650 miles. The miles are really starting to pile up here!
Second, I tried to log onto AAdvantage Dining and to add all my current credit cards, only to find, after numerous attempts to sign in, that I was never actually a member of AAdvantage Dining. Just my husband was. So I opened a new account, which is great, because it earned me an additional 2,000 miles, with the opportunity to earn another 2,000 bonus miles in my first month of membership. Then I took a look at the local participating restaurants, and made a plan for using my account by the June 15 deadline for this promotion: We’ll probably order from Extreme Pizza Friday night, and we might go to Rock Wall Winery Sunday.
Third, I tackled the wine subscription. Completely separate from the 10,000 miles promotion, Vinesse is offering 3,000 AA miles to sign up for their service. So I signed up to get a shipment of six bottles of red wine, shipped, for $41.95. Heck, that’s only 6 bucks a bottle, but when you factor in all the miles I’m getting, it’s basically free. If I stayed a member, I’d have to pay more per bottle for the second shipment, but I’ll probably just cancel after the first.
Fourth, I needed to make a purchase through the AAdvantage shopping portal. No problem! I didn’t really have time to browse through a bunch of stores for something I needed, though, so I just clicked through to Groupon and got a half-price deal for a local restaurant that we love.
Boom. I finished this four-partner promo in about one hour (except the dining portion, which I’ll finish this weekend). Much of that time I spent searching for my credit card, which I should have realized was in my dumb jacket pocket, and typing this blog post. So I estimate people not blogging about it, who know where their credit card is, could do it in half an hour or less.
I spent $117, and I’ll probably spend another $50 eating out — but we were going to go to the winery Sunday anyway so that doesn’t really count. Including the original bonus, other sign-up bonuses, and miles-per-dollar rewards, I should get something like 18,000 AAdvantage miles. Plus, I’ll get the 150 or so Membership Rewards from using my AmEx card to spend the money. Even if you only value these points and miles at a penny each, that’s better than breaking even, getting $180 value for $167 expenditure — plus a flower delivery, two meals out and six bottles of wine.
I enjoyed doing this promo so much, I went through it again with my husband’s AAdvantage account. Because I already knew the ropes, it only took me about 15 minutes this time around. I spent $35 on more Mother’s Day flowers (I spent less this time since I couldn’t use the AmEx statement credit a second time), another $42 on wine (we’ll be stocked up for a good long time with a dozen bottles of red), and $10 on a different Groupon. I’ll probably spend $50 getting Friday night pizza to complete the dining requirement, so, Erik will have spent $137 on 14,380 miles. (He’ll earn fewer than me because he was already a member of AAdvantage Dining, plus he spent fewer dollars overall.)