US Airways has just announced their annual “Grand Slam” promotion, which will run from September 14 through November 14 this year (registration required). This promotion offers bonus miles for completing certain “hits.” The more “hits” you rack up, the more bonus miles you earn, with a maximum of 110,000 miles. The earnings schedule is as follows:
4 hits: 3,000 miles
8 hits: 10,000 miles
12 hits: 15,000 miles
16 hits: 25,000 miles (2,000 of which are Preferred-qualifying miles)
20 hits: 35,000 miles
24 hits: 45,000 miles (5,000 of which are Preferred-qualifying miles)
28 hits: 60,000 miles
32 hits: 80,000 miles
36 hits: 100,000 miles
40 hits*: 110,000 miles (10,000 of which are Preferred-qualifying miles)
You can earn miles for all kinds of activities, from using a US Airways credit card to transferring hotel points to buying up to Preferred status to shopping through US Airways’ shopping mall, to buying miles.
Rather than recap everything here, take a look at US Airways’ website, which does a good job of laying everything out.
Now here’s my scary confession — I haven’t participated in the Grand Slam promotion in the past, and I don’t think I will this year either. I think the big question is, should I?
Let me put it this way — US Airways miles can be purchased for less than 1.5 cents each, so 100,000 miles would cost me $1,500 if I purchased them outright.
So if I went all out on this promotion, how much would I still end up spending to earn 100,000 miles?
Yes, there are some activities that are easy, so I’ll likely go for a few “hits” — do a search on their toolbar, buy miles I’d buy anyway, etc. But for the rest, what am I going to do? Buy one of those hideous garden gnomes from the SkyMall catalog to earn a hit? Get an ADT security system for my hot nut cupboard? Buy wine I’ll likely use to water my plants? Get an annual membership to LifeLock?
I guess I could credit a few hotel stays to US Airways, but I’d have to factor in the miles/points I would be losing out on by doing that. If I credit a Hyatt stay to US Airways, I’d be giving up the 2,500 Aeroplan miles I could otherwise earn. So there’s definitely a huge opportunity cost to that.
I’m not judging the promo one way or another, though I think the big question is — can one actually get real value out of this?
Feel free to share your thoughts, and I’ll be doing my own research too. If I find a way to earn 100,000 miles with an investment of maybe $500 and a bit of time, I’m in!