Shopping for Millions

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In January I reported my strategy to buy Delta Platinum status and a million miles.  The idea is to use gift card churning and other tricks to spend a total of $110,000 on two credit cards (Delta Reserve and Platinum) in the calendar year.  Most of these tricks result in getting most of my money back so I won’t go poor doing this.  By spending $60K on the Reserve card and $50K on the Platinum card I will earn 50,000 Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles towards Platinum elite status.  The remaining 25,000 miles needed for Platinum status will be earned through flying.

In that same post, I suggested the possibility of earning an average of 20 points per dollar on spending I put on the Platinum card.  If I manage that, I would earn a total of 1 Million miles on top of miles earned directly from credit card spend and from flying.  Note that I’m primarily focused on earning elite status.  The million mile target is more of a nice-to-have bonus if I get there.

To meet these goals, I would need to spend, on average, $2115 per week using my Delta cards, and I would need to earn almost 20,000 points or miles per week in shopping portals.

So, with 7 weeks into 2012 accounted for, how am I doing so far? I’ve spent an average of $2195 per week so I’m slightly ahead on spending, and I’ve earned just over 24,000 points and miles per week from shopping portals.  I’m ahead there too!  Of course, the Nordstrom 36X deal accounts for most of my success on the latter point, but still it’s nice to see!  Hopefully we’ll continue to see mega-deals every couple of months so as to keep up the pace!


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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Nice job!! I am assuming you are buying items of high re-sale value and then selling them on ebay or craigslist. Are you keeping track of your netcost to do this?

  2. US Airways has a price on every level of status with their airline – including the top-tier Chairmans Preferred. If you give them a few thousand dollars they will upgrade your status for one year immediately. It would sure save a bunch of spending – I applaud your plan though and good luck

    • webrobby: Since I live near a Delta hub, Delta status is much more important to me. If you fly US Airways a lot I could imagine purchasing top tier status especially when they offer discounts or extra miles for it.

      Steve: The Platinum card is great to have for its annual companion pass benefit, but to me it’s not great to put spend on unless you hit a bonus level. For example, put exactly $25K or $50K on the card per year and you’ll average 1.4 redeemable miles per dollar plus .4 MQMs per dollar. That is an excellent return if you value MQMs (as I do). If you don’t reach $25K, you only get 1 mile per dollar in spend (except on Delta purchases where you get 2). You can do much better with a 2% back card or something like a Sapphire Preferred where you’ll get 2X for all dining and travel expenses and no foreign transaction fee.

      Vivek: Thanks. Yes I keep track of my costs. I haven’t sold much yet, so the jury is still out on my total costs.

  3. I’d be interested to see what you’ve spent $$ on so far, and what sort of return you’ve getting on those purchases.
    I’ve been focusing my normal spend on other cards so far in 2012, and I’ve only put about $1000 on my platinum card. I’m not shooting for platinum status, but I always appreciate the extra 10k MQMs per year on my platinum card spend (25k).

    • My spending so far has included:
      * personal spend
      * spend with 100% return such as: Kiva (true, Kiva isn’t guaranteed 100% return, but so far so good), Staples 100% rebate, buy & sell discount gift cards
      * schemes to buy miles by purchasing products through shopping portals and reselling them. The jury is still out on how well I will do, but I am confident that miles will be purchased for less than 1 cent each, on average. That is after accounting for all of my costs such as shipping, taxes, closing fees, etc.

  4. I agree with your assessment. I currently put the majority of my spending on 2-5% cards (approx $4,000/month) or to hit credit card signup bonuses, with a small amount of my regular spend going to my Delta AMEX. Last year I spent precisely $25,116 on my Delta card to get the end of the year bonuses. I’m looking at my opportunities to determine if I can reach 25k spending with it or not. The 10k MQMs will be nice for lifetime accrual, and as a carryover for next year. I figure I’ll end up at 30k MQM without the card, so it’ll be an effort for me to spend 25k on it just to end the year with 40k MQM.

    If I can find $1,100 a month in additional spending that preferably costs $0, like the FAR Staples purchases (thanks for that tip by the way!), I will go for it. I’m already maximizing my other spending though.

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