7,500 bonus miles. Here’s an idea to do even better…

Valid through: December 20, 2014

If you belong to the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining program, you may have received an email with a subject heading like this:

Greg, We Have Your 7,500 AAdvantage Bonus Miles

(Note that your email might have your first name rather than mine)

This is a targeted offer that requires 10 dines of $40 or more (plus review each one) before December 20th.  If you can’t find the email, it can’t hurt to try to register through this link.

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Wondering about Small Business Saturday… (see Update below)

The above deal, in itself, sounds to me like too much work and expense for too little reward.  What if we can combine it, though, with Small Business Saturday (details here) where we can get back $10 for each $10 purchase at a local business on Saturday November 29th?  Would it be worth loading your account with Amex card numbers and then buying multiple $40 gift cards on that day?

Since each Amex card can qualify for Small Business Saturday for up to 3 purchases, it would only be necessary to load 4 cards to your Dining account to make this work.  On Small Business Saturday, buy a total of 10 $40 gift cards at a restaurant that qualifies as a small business and is listed as a qualifying restaurant for the AAdvantage Dining program.  Each gift card would have to be bought as a separate transaction.  And, you would have to make sure to use each Amex card no more than 3 times.

If this works, you would get $10 back for each $40 gift card purchased and you would get both the regular AAdvantage Dining program miles and the 7,500 bonus miles.

Let’s say you earn 5 miles per dollar from the dining program, then:

  • Total gift card value: $400
  • Total cost to you: $300 (after Small Business Saturday rebates)
  • Credit card miles earned: 300 (assuming 1 mile per dollar)
  • Regular dining miles earned: 5 X 400 = 2000
  • Bonus miles earned: 7,500
  • Total miles earned: 9800
  • Miles earned per dollar: 32.7

That seems like a pretty good deal!

Caution!

I don’t know if the above idea would work!  The entire idea is contingent upon earning dining miles from buying restaurant gift cards rather than from dining at the restaurant.  It seems likely to me that it would work, but I don’t have evidence.  Please comment below if you have tried anything similar.

UPDATE: Never mind!

I just read through the terms & conditions more carefully and found this:

Limit of one bonus qualifying visit per restaurant per day

Doh!  This means that we can’t combine this with Small Business Saturday as described above.  Oh well!

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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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  1. Pro tips: Make sure the purchase amounts differ if only by a penny. You might want to secure VIP status with tiny “dines” prior to buying the gift cards. And try to do it at a restaurant that sells gift cards you can liquidate.

    Good idea stacking it with Small Biz Saturday!

    • Actually almost all my restaurant bills are for exact dollar amounts as I round up when tipping, so it is not unusual for me to have many charges that are the same in a given month.

      Also, in the past I have successfully been paid out for gift cards purchased directly at a restaurant (swipe card).

      • The problem with identical amounts is only for *same day* transactions, as it would if you’re doing this all on Small Biz Saturday. This could be a problem if the restaurant only sells fixed-value GCs. A call to the restaurant portal folks can get this patched up – but I’m thinking it would be preferable to avoid that.

  2. Do the terms and conditions of the AA Dining Program bonus require you to dine 10 times at 10different restaurants and write 10 reviews? Or could you dine at one restaurant 10 times (and write 10 reviews)? Also would require you to do 40 transactions X $10, which could get tedious or annoying to restaurant owner. Also, if you try to use the same Amex card three times in a row for $10, Amex might decline the 2nd or 3rd transaction, since it might look like a double- or triple-swipe. Not sure if it’s worth the effort, though the payoff would be good.

    • Boo!

      Well, it kills the idea of stacking Small Business Saturday with this offer. But it would have been tough to find restaurants that are in the dining program -and- participate in SBS -and- who gladly sell ten $40 gift cards at a time. 🙂

      The per-day restriction (and the requirement to review each dine) is new since last time they ran this for 10K a few months back. It’s really quite ridiculous now. I mean – who can actually bend their schedule around eating at qualifying restaurants 10 times in the next month? Kinda crazy.

      That said, I think there’s still a touch of merit in finding a conveniently located store that sells GCs you can liquidate readily at a reasonable rate. With a 3X restaurant card you can get AA or UA miles for around $0.007 this way.

  3. I got a similar offer for 10,000 points after 10 dines. I got excited and missed the $40 min per dine requirement, but I think it would still be worth it, especially combining with SBS for at least one gift card per restaurant.

  4. “Limit of one bonus qualifying visit per restaurant per day.” Yup, I noticed that when I was reading through the T&C when I received my promotion earlier today. Oh, and for what it’s worth, my promo was only for 5K miles. A quick call to their “VIP Line” proved fruitless as, “the computer generates these promotions and their recipients randomly and I can’t do anything about it.” So, 5K miles is better than nothing. I’ll just make sure to maximize by making purchases places I would normally eat anyway, use my Chase Sapphire card to double dip (on non-Small Business Saturday), and get 3X the UR points (and 5X the AA miles) on the First Friday, December 5. It’ll take a little legwork, but I’ll rest up on my next (free) trip 😉

  5. Does it really kill it, or just make it more difficult. It seems that you could still pull it off if you can find ten different restaurants that both participate in SBS and are in the American Airlines dining program. That might be tough, but if you can find them, that would clear the hurdle of \one qualifying visit per restaurant per day.\ Plus, I think we overlook the points earned by many AMEX cards such as Membership Rewards points. So that would make the deal even a little bit sweeter.

    In similar promotions with the American program, buying GCs has worked for me.

    But, another problem is…..do you really want the GCs from the ten different restaurants, if you can find them, or are you having to force it to much, just to make the \deal.\ If you don’t really want to eat at the restaurants, unless you can sell the GCs, it isn’t much of a deal to spend $ 300 for 10,000 +/- points/miles.

    • Good point. I read the T&C as meaning only one dine per day, but I think you’re right that you could do 10 dines in a day if they are all different restaurants. It would be tough to find 10 that participate in both programs though!

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