Friday, October 14, 2011

How I am playing the USAirways Grand Slam - 1

I will not bore you with the basic details of the USAirways Grand Slam -- so many other people have provided such great overviews and strategies.  I, however, will tell you how I am playing this game.  First off, I have never flown USAirways, but since it is a member of the Star Alliance, I know I can use these miles in future travel (Lufthansa First Class to Europe, Thai First to Asia).

First thing I did was sign up for a Dividend Mile Program. I then reviewed the Grand Slam details and set my goal.  I knew I wasn't going to hit 24 hits, without the whole program being cost prohibitive.  So, I set my sights on getting 20 hits, which will earn me 35,000 bonus miles (and a few thousand miles from actually participating in the program -- buying miles, online shopping and point transfers.

I then downloaded this great Grand Slam Hit Tracker so I could easily keep up to date on my status.  I then researched all the possible hits and decided which ones I would NOT do (Buy Trial Preferred Status, Buy Up to Preferred, Dish Network, Energy Plus, getAbstract, Hilton Vacations, Lasik, Life Shield, LifeLock, Marriott Vacation Club, RealEstate.com Select Warranty, Starwood Vacation Ownership, USAirways Club Membership, USAirways Cruises, USA Today, Verizon Wireless), some of these because they were too complex or because they were too expensive for the incremental bonus miles. I shaded these items RED on the excel sheet.

The next step was to find the ones that were pretty easy and I would definitely do (1800Flowers, Audience Rewards, Biscoff, Buy Miles, Dividend Miles, Dividend Shopping Mall, e-Miles, ING-Direct, Magazines for Miles, Office Max, Dividend Mile Search Tool Bar, SuperShuttle, Thanks Again, TrackItBack). I did some research and found these were the ones I could do with little additional effort.  Since there are some birthdays and other holidays coming up, I would just shift some of my shopping to the online portals and do it a bit earlier this year.  Since these prices aren't inflated, there is no additional/incremental cost for me.

I've completed 15 hits, but so far have gotten credit for 8 and have been credited the bonus miles for 4 (1800Flowers, Buy Miles, E-Rewards, Magazine for Miles) and last Friday I was credited my first 3,000 bonus points.  I don't know how often USAirways does the mileage sweep, but last Friday I got my first bonus.  Right now I have 5,522 miles with US Airways and I've spent $94.24, but I bought flowers for my mothers birthday, which is in a couple of weeks -- without the flowers, I'd have only spent $29.56 to buy the miles.

As my miles and bonuses post, I will keep you posted.  My ultimate goal is to get enough miles for a free first class one way ticket to Europe or Asia -- all while spending less than $200 incrementally.

Are you playing Grand Slam 2011?  What is your strategy?  Is there an easy hit out there that I haven't listed?  What do you plan on doing with your GS11 Miles?

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