Last fall I wrote about a special promotion where you could earn an enormous Frequent Flyer bonus by buying a large quantity of useless stickers.
True story, as odd as it sounds. It was one of the best travel hacking opportunities I’ve been a part of yet.
As I result of the promotion, I woke up yesterday to an influx of new miles in my US Air account. How many? Well, I had already earned about 280,000 a few months ago… but this morning the new deposit read: 808,185 miles.
(My favorite part of that screenshot is where it shows my US Air flight history: “0 miles and 0 segments.” Yep, I’m not a big fan of US Air as an actual airline—but as a mileage holder, I love them.)
The Miles Are Raining In!
The best thing is I’m not the only one planning a bunch of trips with new miles. So far I’ve heard success stories from about two dozen readers who also took part. One of the first notes I received came from Lorraine (originally from Calgary, now in Thailand):
Thanks to your post about the promotion with US Air and following your lead, I now have ONE MILLION miles in my US Air account!! WOW, WOW, WOW! Can hardly wait to start planning.
Then I received this note from Farsh (another Canadian — you guys are active travelers):
Duuuuuuuude! US airways, MILES posted! I received a total of 351,000. Looking to go location independent this year sometime. I’m planning to take a year off and travel, I would leave from either US or Europe and visit… Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Tajikistan, Turkey, Syria, Tanzania, Malta, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, and the UK
Another note from Ty (not sure where he is from) arrived a few minutes later reporting 324,810 miles.
To try and get on top of all the reports, yesterday I sent out a message asking for everyone to report in with their totals. Long story short, I’m still reading through all the replies. So far, Greg got 250k miles. Bob got 600k. Chris (another Chris) got 210k.
Megan got 39,000. Mike got 51,000. Sherah also got 51,000 for a ticket from South Africa to Uganda. And so on—lots of folks, lots of miles, lots of free travel.
Even using a highly conservative mileage valuation, it’s clear that our own small group has generated more than $100,000 in free flights just from the people who have written in thus far. And since most of us are smart and use the miles to book flights that would normally be more expensive, the real value is likely much higher.
Whatever it is, I’m just glad it worked out. Fun times. Happy travels, everyone.
A Note on Risk
I hope you’ll forgive me for a brief soapbox moment. When I wrote about the deal last fall, I received a lot of emails from excited people, but I also received a lot of emails from skeptics. Someone even told me I was encouraging readers to throw away their money.
“Is this guaranteed?” several other people asked. Sorry, no. Nothing with travel hacking is ever guaranteed! I don’t think the airlines are going to guarantee to sell millions of miles for a fraction of their value; that’s why it’s a hack.
The people who attacked the deal and said it would never work were right—it didn’t work for them because they didn’t try it. Meanwhile, Lorraine in Thailand has one million miles, Farsh from Alberta is going around the world in Business Class, Sherah is going to Uganda, and so on.
As a matter of fact, nothing in life is really guaranteed either. Lots of people said they liked Tsilli’s profile because it focused on how a risk-averse person could carefully and gradually take a big leap. I liked that too, but the point is: eventually she took the leap.
Anyway, that’s the soapbox. Most importantly, congratulations to everyone who is mileage rich! Let’s have a party in Japan, or New Zealand, or somewhere. (I’ll actually be using my miles to get to places like Belarus and Madagascar, but it’s all good. Have fun in Japan.)
Everyone else, this deal is over now—but the next time a good thing comes along, don’t think too hard about it.