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Quest for 500,000 Points: My 20,000 Point Weekend

This weekend I got a call from my cousin. Her in-laws were flying to Germany, and considering how well I did last time, they were hoping I could book their tickets for them.

Tickets were not cheap and the best I could do was an Air Berlin flight at $1,180. In the end, four people ended up booking, for a total cost of about $4,720. Since I used my American Express Business Gold Rewards card, I earned over 14,000 points just from booking the tickets. Not bad, considering my grand total expense of $0.

I also purchased $3,000 in MoneyPaks from RiteAid, netting me 1,500 points. I reloaded three Amex for Target cards for a total of 2,500 points, finished up a 1,000 point search session with the Hawaiian Miles Toolbar, and picked up 2,500 points by ordering a $2,500 Wells Fargo prepaid card. Grand total: 21,500 points.

I need to earn at least 40,000 points each month in order to meet my target of 500,000 miles by June 2013. This got me almost half-way there. These activities alone aren’t enough to generate 40,000 points per month, so if you are interested in substantially bumping your point balance the easy way, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Check promotions, offers, and free points for each loyalty program.
  1. Open a brokerage account. Fidelity is currently offering 10,000-50,000 miles for opening a brokerage account. They have partnered with American Airlines, Delta, and United. You can open one of these accounts every 12 months. In the past, I was able to open more than one account and redeposit the same amount until it added up to $100,000. This option is no longer available.
  1. Get a mileage checking account. Bank Direct and Citi both offer lucrative sign-up bonuses. Be aware that Citi may send you a 1099 at the end of the year for the value of the points. Read about how to dispute the value of miles listed on this document.

I currently have a Bank Direct mileage checking account. While the bank is totally outdated in terms of its online system, it does earn me a decent amount of miles each year.

I earned 1,000 AAdvantage miles for joining; 1,000 miles for signing up with a referral; 10,000 for using direct deposit; 5,000 miles for using my check card for 3 months; an additional 5,000 miles once I complete 12 months of bill pay in June; and 100 miles per month for every $1,000 I keep in the account.

The account has a monthly fee of $12, so I don’t recommend opening an account unless you are earning at least 1,200 miles per month. If you would like to earn an additional 1,000 miles by signing up with a referral, please feel free to email me at ariana at pointchaser.com. I will also earn 1,000 points if you decide to open an account.

  1. Have an app party. While I’m not comfortable with the idea of opening and closing lots of accounts just for the miles, many in the points and miles community do this without any problems. I personally like to get credit cards that are going to benefit me in the long term. I recommend getting cards that come with a high sign-up bonus and that help you maximize your earnings on everyday spending.

What are your point earning goals, and what is your strategy for achieving them?

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Ariana Arghandewal

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