How to get 30,000 miles and lots of satellite TV for free

Last week I posted “$100 free for DIRECTV customers!”  Those with DIRECTV and a few Amex small business cards can use this offer to get free money from American Express.  But, what about those who do not have DIRECTV?

It might be time to give it a try…

Quick review: Amex is offering a one time $100 statement credit to Amex business card cardholders who register for the promo and use the card to pay $100 or more to their DIRECTV bill.  If you have multiple Amex business cards (including employee cards), you can register all of them and each will qualify for the statement credit.  The promo is supposedly just for DIRECTV for Business, but it works for personal DIRECTV accounts as well. Full details can be found in last week’s post.

Trying out DIRECTV…

One way for those without DIRECTV to make use of this offer is to sign up for DIRECTV.  Then, use your registered Amex cards to pay your bill.  Prepay as much of your bill as DIRECTV will allow.  Note that I have never been a DIRECTV customer so I cannot vouch for its quality or customer satisfaction.

DIRECTV Signup Offers

It so happens that there are multiple signup offers for DIRECTV that might make this more appealing (hat tip Milenerd):

In addition to the above special offers, there are online portal offers.  At the time of this writing, here were the best portal deals (you can find up to date offers here):

Directv_portals_2

Which deal is best?

At first blush, I’d say go for the 30K United miles.  However, when I click through to that offer (or to the AA offer), I find that package prices are higher than with the Hilton offer or the portal offers.

For example, I see this when clicking through the United or AA offers:

TV for free

And, I see this when clicking through the Hilton or portal offers:

TV for free

The pricing shown above is just for the first 12 months, so you can save $10 per month, or a total of $120 altogether, by using the Hilton or portal offers.

The next best airline mile offer is 12,500 points through the Southwest portal.  If we ignore the fact that people value United miles differently than United miles, you can see that there is a tradeoff: 17,500 additional miles when picking the United offer in exchange for $120 more in fees.  That’s akin to paying .68 cents per mile for the extra United miles.  Since we’ll be getting Amex to pickup the tab for those additional miles, I’d say it’s well worth it!  Unless… if you’re working towards a Southwest Companion Pass in 2015, this could be an easy way to get 12,500 of the 110,000 requires points.

Credit Inquiry

When you apply for DIRECTV, you’ll find that DIRECTV wants to do a credit check.  If you allow it, there is a chance that this will be a hard inquiry (in other words, the inquiry itself could affect your credit score).  I found reports on the web in both directions: some reported hard inquiries, others said they only received soft inquiries.  I haven’t yet tested this out, so I don’t have personal experience to report.

TV for free

You can choose to proceed without a credit check, but I found that DIRECTV wasn’t lying when they said they would charge $300 more for that privilege. You might have better luck on the phone, though.  Some have reported that they were able to go without a credit check simply by providing a credit card.

CAUTIONS

If you plan to do this, keep in mind that all of your Amex business cards must be enrolled in the offer by 1/31/2015.  And, all payments to DIRECTV must post by 3/31/2015

In case you’re wondering… I’m not planning to do this deal myself.  I do think it’s a lucrative deal, but I have my cable TV setup working fine, and I’m not really interested in messing with it at this time.

Fine Print

For those who like to read the fine print, here is the fine print I found with the United 30K offer:

United MileagePlus Offer: MileagePlus offer is valid to new DIRECTV customers who provide their MileagePlus number when ordering DIRECTV service through the phone number listed above, or online at united.directv.com. Customers who have a current DIRECTV account, or have been a DIRECTV customer within the last 24 months are ineligible. DIRECTV account must be kept current and in good standing for a minimum of 30 days before MileagePlus miles will be awarded. Please allow 6-8 weeks for bonus miles to post to your account. DIRECTV hardware and programming available separately. Credit card required (except in MA & PA). Programming, pricing, terms and conditions subject to change at any time. Pricing residential. Taxes not included. Receipt of DIRECTV programming subject to DIRECTV Customer Agreement; copy provided at directv.com/legal and in your first bill. This promotional offer may not be combined or used in conjunction with any other promotional or partner offers.

Miles accrued, awards, and benefits issued are subject to change and are subject to the rules of the United MileagePlus program, including without limitation the Premier® program (the “MileagePlus Program”), which are expressly incorporated herein. Please allow 6-8 weeks after completed qualifying activity for miles to post to your account. United may change the MileagePlus Program including, but not limited to, rules, regulations, travel awards and special offers or terminate the MileagePlus Program at any time and without notice. United and its subsidiaries, affiliates and agents are not responsible for any products or services of other participating companies and partners. Taxes and fees related to award travel are the responsibility of the member. Bonus award miles, award miles and any other miles earned through non-flight activity do not count toward qualification for Premier status unless expressly stated otherwise. The accumulation of mileage or Premier status or any other status does not entitle members to any vested rights with respect to the MileagePlus Program. All calculations made in connection with the MileagePlus Program, including without limitation with respect to the accumulation of mileage and the satisfaction of the qualification requirements for Premier status, will be made by United Airlines and MileagePlus in their discretion and such calculations will be considered final. Information in this communication that relates to the MileagePlus Program does not purport to be complete or comprehensive and may not include all of the information that a member may believe is important, and is qualified in its entirety by reference to all of the information on the united.com website and the MileagePlus Program rules. United and MileagePlus are registered service marks. For complete details about the MileagePlus Program, go to www.united.com.

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. So, for the United deal you pay $29.99 a month for 12 months and then $49.99 a month for another 12 months…that’s 959.76, say you are lucky and are able to get $300 credit on AMEX, you are still out of pocket for $659.76 for 30K points, or $30 a month. If you were going to sign up for the service anyway, it’s a great way to offset some of the cost. Of course then there is the DirecTV reputation.

    For the Southwest deal, you pay $839.76 – $300 (assuming you can get it). That leaves you with a cost of $539.76 for 12,500 points, or $22.49 a month. That seems to be a better deal. Of course then there is the DirecTV reputation.

    Keep in mind, DirecTV has raised rates every year in February for the last 10 years
    http://www.tvpredictions.com/directv122914.htm

    • Good post Chip, in flagging what’s rather curiously overlooked, the monstrous expense of year 2. Yet the come-ons here are intriguing, as satellite and cable outlets are all in serious trouble…. especially with all the on-line competition, the rollout of a la carte on-line programming, and the rise of digital over-the-air broadcasting. (see, guv’mnt did something right)

      If we could get these deals with only a ONE year commitment, and find a way to put a channel block on faux news, then maybe I’d be interested. Doubt it.

    • Thanks for the comments Chip! I currently have Dish (which just raised their rates) and was considering switching. It would currently be a wash for me with Dish’s and DirectV’s current prices, but will have to see what their increase is and re-evaluate.

  2. Some fairly particular Ts&Cs for using the Citi Cash Back Portal .. not sure if the miles + cash offer would hold, or if one would override the other.

    DIRECTV.com Terms & Conditions
    Only eligible on new DIRECTV purchases that have been activated for at least forty five (45) days. Not eligible on purchases using gift cards, gift certificates, or any other similar cash equivalents, in whole or in part. Not eligible on purchases made with coupon or discount codes that are not found on this site. Any changes made to the purchase after checkout or during installation, including without limitation programming or other service downgrades or upgrades, will void eligibility. Using the Live Chat feature before, during, or after checkout will void eligibility. Any other contact with DIRECTV during or after checkout will void eligibility.
    Use your Citi credit card at time of purchase so that the additional cash back can be posted to your Citi credit card account. The additional cash back is not subject to an annual maximum accumulation and will appear on your credit card billing statement within 1-3 statement cycles. Return purchases, disputes or unauthorized, fraudulent transactions, finance charges and card account fees do not earn cash back unless otherwise specified.

  3. It is also good to note that to get the 30k UA, it requires that you activate with the Entertainment package or above which is $5 more ($34.99) than Select which adds another $60 for that first year. The best way to offset the cost (assuming that $100 is the most that you could prepay per month until 3/31/15) is to sell your multiple offers on your other cards. I’ve been successful with selling mine for $10 off only ($90 profit). I have 20+ business cards as well so it still looks to be a good deal for me.

  4. So, very deceptive on DirectTV’s part. When you go to checkout for the 19.99 package, it winds up being $46.99 for the first 12 months and $94.99 for the remaining 12 months, due to equipment rental. That puts the cost at $1703 for the 2 year contract.

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