Million Mile Madness: Easy points


955,000 points earned. 45,000 left to go.

Background: Million Mile Madness is the fun and foolish quest to earn a million points in one month. Throughout March, I’m doing everything I can to earn as many points as I can while keeping within my ethical boundaries. I don’t expect that a million points will have been credited to my account by March 31st: points often take quite a while to get credited. Instead, I’ll track all of the points that I expect, and I’ll declare victory if the expected total is over a million. To keep things challenging, I will try to keep my net costs below $1,000.

All points earned and expenses incurred are tracked via this Google Docs spreadsheet. See all Million Mile Madness posts (in reverse order), by clicking here.

Easy Points

If you play this game long enough, every now and then points just fall in your lap.  Here are a few minor windfalls I’ve enjoyed receiving this month:

15,000 Membership Rewards points

I called American Express to cancel my year old Business Platinum card so as to avoid paying its $450 annual fee next month.  They asked if I would be willing to downgrade to their $99 Green card instead.  No.  Then they asked if 15,000 points would be incentive enough to keep the card.  I asked if I could do both.  Could I get the 15,000 points and downgrade to the Green card?  I was definitely willing to pay $99 for 15000 points!  The answer was that I could accept the 15,000 point offer now and then downgrade next month before the Platinum fee is charged.  The points won’t post for a few months.  So, I accepted the offer.  Next month I’ll call and downgrade.  Then, I’ll give the card a try to see if it like it.  Most likely, though, I’ll cancel altogether once the points post.  At most I’ll be out a small prorated portion of the $99 fee.

After the call it occurred to me that I should have haggled and asked for more points.  Ever since flying Singapore Suites on my return from Bangkok I’ve been eager to amass more Membership Rewards points (since they transfer to Singapore Airlines).  I can’t wait to fly Singapore Suites again!

20,000 Ultimate Rewards points

The annual fee on one of my Ink Bold cards is coming due next month.  Since I rarely use this particular Ink Bold card anymore (I have several), I decided to call and cancel.  The customer service representative offered to give me a $95 statement credit to offset the annual fee if I was willing to keep the card.  I asked if he could offer bonus points instead.  So, he offered 20,000 points.  Sold!  While technically I could still cancel the card next month after getting the points, I think that $95 is a small price to pay for 20,000 points.  That’s less than half a cent each!

50,000 Marriott points

I love how AwardWallet sends out emails when point balances have changed.  In a recent email, AwardWallet claimed that I had just received 50,000 Marriott points.  Nice!  But why?  I logged into my Marriott account and saw that I had been re-credited with two 25,000 point award nights that I had redeemed last year.  I remembered that, at check-in, the hotel was unable to find my reservation despite my confirmation numbers.  Luckily, they gave me a room anyway (actually it was a very nice suite upgrade).  Apparently the snafu was never really fixed, and the system thought that I had never completed the stay. 

Since this was such a strange fluke, I won’t count these Marriott points towards my Million Mile Madness quest.  And, if Marriott figures out what happened and pulls back the points, I won’t complain.  After all, I don’t really deserve those points.  If I keep the points, though, I need to see if I can find availability at that same hotel…

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