Wish Me Luck: I Bought Millions Of Miles

Wish Me Luck: I Bought Millions Of Miles

148
Update: American Airlines has confirmed that this deal will be honored.

On Monday I wrote about how I took advantage (or should I say AAdvantage?) of an incredible deal on a pretty big scale, and I shared my thought process given the risk, uncertainty, etc. The deal ended up being pulled on Tuesday, which didn’t come as much of a surprise, since the terms stated the deal was “subject to availability of bonus miles.”

In the past couple of days, a countless number of readers have asked what the latest is with this deal, either out of sheer curiosity, or because they took advantage of it themselves. While there’s not much to report, I wanted to recap where things stand, and how I’m feeling about the deal as of now.

I bought AAdvantage miles for 0.42 cents each (hopefully)

Earlier this week the SimplyMiles program was running an incredible promotion. Long story short, there was a promotion offering 5x AAdvantage bonus miles for purchases with select retailers. This offer wasn’t for an additional five miles per dollar spent, but rather was for an additional 5x bonus miles. In other words, if you usually earned one mile per dollar spent, you’d instead earn six miles per dollar spent.

Not all retailers offered the same rewards, and there was one option that stood out. Donations to Conservation International ordinarily offered 40 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent. Since you could earn an additional 5x AAdvantage bonus miles per dollar spent, you were looking at a total of 240 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent.

That’s a cost of 0.42 cents per AAdvantage mile (not factoring in credit card rewards), which is an incredible deal. For context, I value AAdvantage miles at 1.5 cents each, so I bought the miles at just 28% of what I value them. I’ll admit, I took a “go big or go home” approach here, and I bought millions of miles. Well, or at least I made donations with the hopes of receiving millions of miles when all is said and done.

Just to put that into perspective, currently a Qatar Airways Qsuites business class award from the United States to the Middle East costs 70,000 miles one-way. At 0.42 cents per mile, that’s like paying under $300 for the ticket.

Maybe I’ll just declare residency in Qsuites with all these miles?

Why I decided to “go big” on this offer

Over the years the miles & points world has seen some incredible offers along these lines. Sometimes they’ve been honored, and sometimes they haven’t been honored. I’d like to think that I have a pretty good track record of guessing when deals will be honored, though of course I don’t always get it right. That’s also why I don’t bother taking advantage of these kinds of deals more often than not, since I figure they won’t be worth the hassle.

This time was different. Why? First of all, Conservation International is an awesome cause. Presumably it’s not Conservation International on the hook for this promotion and the bonus miles (rather Conservation International is likely paying some amount for the standard number of miles to begin with), but rather SimplyMiles, Mastercard, AAdvantage, etc.

In general I’d have serious concerns about this offer being honored, but in this case I feel as confident as I could possibly feel with an offer this generous:

  • Emails to SimplyMiles members were explicit about the intention of the bonus, which was to offer 5x additional bonus miles, for a total of 6x the number of miles one would ordinarily earn (“For example, if you earn 100 miles on a purchase of $30 or more, then you will actually earn 100 miles + 500 bonus miles for a total of 600 miles.”)
  • An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed to View from the Wing that “the offer is as described”
  • While there was a clause in the terms stating that the offer was “subject to availability of bonus miles,” I think it’s reasonable to assume that limit isn’t reached until the banner promoting the offer is removed, especially during regular business hours; sure enough, there’s a new banner up now saying that the limit on bonus miles has been reached
  • Upon making a donation I received an email confirming I was earning the standard 40 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent, so at least the first part of the offer worked as expected
  • The offer was available for an entire weekend and more than a full business day before finally being pulled; heck, a lot of people were targeted for the offers in the hours before it was pulled
  • I took screenshots of everything

I also think it’s important to clarify that this wasn’t a fat finger mistake where an extra zero was added, or something along those lines, no matter how you slice it:

  • The 40x miles per dollar for Conservation International was the standard offer, and that’s not unusual for a contribution to a charity
  • The 5x AAdvantage bonus miles offer was also intentional, and the way the math works was specifically spelled out
  • Now, it’s possible that someone at SimplyMiles wasn’t thinking this through and was very bad at math, but that’s different than there being a typo, or something
  • Conversely, this was a year-end promotion, and it’s also entirely possible that SimplyMiles had pre-purchased a ton of AAdvantage miles that needed to be used before the end of the year, and all of this was quite intentional

Then there’s the general concept of parting with cold hard cash in exchange for miles, which could be devalued at any time:

  • I bought AAdvantage miles for less than 30% of what I value them, so even if AAdvantage miles were devalued to the point that redemptions cost twice as much (which I don’t anticipate anytime soon), that would still be an amazing value
  • Admittedly I’m parting ways with a significant amount of cash (and I’m lucky to be in a situation where I have the liquidity), though at the same time this seems to me like a reasonable “investment” — if Hyatt or Marriott sold gift cards and offered a 100% bonus, I’d buy a lot of gift cards as well
  • Also, let me state that I recommend always playing by the rules, as I’m sure some mileage brokers took advantage of this offer and will have their accounts shut down after selling miles, and if that happens they deserve that; with offers like this I only recommend buying as many miles as you will practically be able to use for yourself, family, friends, etc., without bartering or selling them
240 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent? Yes please!

Do I think this promotion will be honored?

On the surface I don’t see any way that SimplyMiles can’t honor this promotion, especially with American confirming this was the intention of the promotion, and with there now being a banner saying all bonus miles have been used. It’s one thing if this were only possible for a few brief hours over a weekend, but that’s not what happened.

That being said:

  • I don’t have a full understanding of who is picking up the tab for this promotion, which will likely determine how this plays out — is it SimplyMiles, Mastercard, AAdvantage, or a combination of all three?
  • Absolute worst case scenario, I’d expect a full refund to be offered in the event that this somehow isn’t honored; if that were to happen, I’d still make a (smaller) donation to Conservation International, just out of goodwill
  • I think the optics around this will be interesting, given that this money is going to a great cause; even if the intent weren’t to honor this, perhaps the various parties will come together to turn this into something positive, and this will also bring awareness to SimplyMiles
  • Since the offer was pulled, everything is pointing towards this being honored — that’s to say that no news is good news
  • The terms state that miles will be awarded in three to five business days, and in some cases could take up to 15 business days; we haven’t reached those limits yet, so there’s no reason to be concerned

I will admit that I’m refreshing the “Miles Earned” section of the SimplyMiles website roughly once every 37 seconds, waiting for something to appear. 😉 But as of now there continue to be no qualifying transactions.

Frankly there’s a thrill to taking part in these promotions. It has been years since I’ve participated in an offer like this, so after putting some thought into it, I decided I couldn’t say no.

It seems likely to me that this will be honored

Bottom line

Over the years the miles & points world has seen quite a number of “too good to be true” deals. In some cases they’re airline or hotel mistake fares, and in some cases they’re offered with airline and hotel partners. Sometimes they’re honored, sometimes they’re not.

While this offer did seem too good to be true, I’m not sure what more could have been done in terms of due diligence. The airline confirmed that this promotion was being offered as intended, and it continued to be promoted for a significant amount of time even after it was confirmed that this was the intention of the promotion. Add in that the money is going to a good cause, and this just seemed like something that was worth giving a spin.

There haven’t been any updates when it comes to this offer since earlier in the week, and I’d consider that to be a good thing. My hope is that the miles post as expected in the coming days. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the email that members get from SimplyMiles is something along the lines of “you got one hell of a deal, congrats.”

I’ll report back when there’s an update, but for now I’m happy to not have any news. Good luck to those who took advantage of this, and hopefully it’s at least good entertainment for other OMAAT readers.

If you were eligible, did you take advantage of this offer? If you weren’t eligible, would you have taken advantage of this offer?

Conversations (148)
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  1. george smart Guest

    Ben, I need help! Having written Simply Miles 5 times with only one acknowledgement and no resolution, they've taken my 12/12 and 12/13 donation and not credited the miles.

  2. Alan Bachand Guest

    Where are we at the the .0042 cents per mile. Do we call our credit card companies and claim that $1000 back or are we getting the miles SOON? When are we getting the miles???

  3. Adambgarrett New Member

    I wish I had seen your reporting on this deal when I first heard about it from another less reputable source. If I had, I might have gone big as well.

    1. robertw Guest

      I was new to Simply Miles. I did not have an account. If you did not have an account prior the deal would not show. It was not showing for me a new account, while it was still live for others. Also the comments about risk. There was zero risk. You screenshot the offer and if they did not give you the miles you get the credit card company to reverse the charges or Simply...

      I was new to Simply Miles. I did not have an account. If you did not have an account prior the deal would not show. It was not showing for me a new account, while it was still live for others. Also the comments about risk. There was zero risk. You screenshot the offer and if they did not give you the miles you get the credit card company to reverse the charges or Simply Miles. Simple as that. You would be well within your rights to do so. Maybe it will be available next year. Who knows.

  4. tmsnyc New Member

    Congratulations! I bet you spent $10k, which is a big amount but if you get 2.4m miles, it's worth it so very very much.

    Worst case scenario, you did good and the 10k donation is likely tax deductible.

    I hope you get it and tell us all what you're going to spend so many miles in!!!

  5. Ryan Miller Guest

    Could have been a great article if the author reported on how much he spent and how many miles he earned for that spend. Imagine reading an article on here where they got a great mileage fare and didn’t tell you the mileage cost? Guy went 99 yards then tripped at the 1 yard line.

  6. Jorge Paez Guest

    You know Ben you got ROASTED on other blogs comments for hogging all the miles.....

  7. TranceXplant New Member

    I couldn't care less about the offer this year. But I am curious to see whether the regular rates are continued into next year. After all, wouldn't a $5k donation at 40x earn EXP under the new rules?

  8. Mark G Guest

    I’m pretty sure you’ll probably get 45x instead of 200x but I guess we’ll see

    1. Other Mark Guest

      You must have missed the part about American Airlines sending out this email. There is no way it's going to be 45x if they decide to honor.

      "As a special holiday bonus, through December 27 or while supplies last, earn an additional 5x American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles on every offer site-wide. For example, if you earn 100 miles on a purchase of $30 or more, then you will actually earn 100 miles + 500 bonus miles for a total of 600 miles."

  9. Eric Guest

    You didn’t tell us about this? But told us after the fact? Sucks. I wanted in.

    1. Harry M Lothridge Guest

      Not true. This sight and several more were lit-up like a Christmas tree way before the offer was pulled.

  10. Alan Bachand Guest

    I'm also in for $1K... When are we supposed to get them 240K miles?? If not, I'm calling my bank and voiding this misrepresentation. An offer is an offer... They should think before they make offers AND put maximums if they foresee a problem... Think before you talk!

    I wonder how much money this Forest Conservation raised??? They must be freaking with cash now... If that doesn't pan out... They'll be hit with SO many back charges and TICKED-OFF PEOPLE... OMG!!!

    1. Jorge Paez Guest

      Did you read the article?

  11. Beachfan Guest

    Lots of precedent for “while supplies last”

    It is still bobble head day at the ballpark, even if you aren’t one of the first 10k fans attending.

    As to they should honor it while the banner is up, how could they take the banner down the moment the supply is exhausted. Isn’t within 24 hours reasonable? And it’s one thing if it’s a little more supply, but I bet it was double then they intended.

    ...

    Lots of precedent for “while supplies last”

    It is still bobble head day at the ballpark, even if you aren’t one of the first 10k fans attending.

    As to they should honor it while the banner is up, how could they take the banner down the moment the supply is exhausted. Isn’t within 24 hours reasonable? And it’s one thing if it’s a little more supply, but I bet it was double then they intended.

    I predict they will honor the small stuff but not the big. Whether my $1k will be considered small, I don’t know. But no regrets, i donated the most I would feel good about if the offer didn’t go through.

    1. Guy Guest

      Lawyers would have a field day with paying the small and not the big, that’s not how it works at all.

  12. loungeabuser Guest

    @AL: The spirit of the offer?

    I have no idea what you're talking about.
    There's an offer and an acceptance. A higher quantity purchased is good, not bad, and there's nothing etherel or ghoulish about it.

    Focus.

  13. Em Guest

    The way I see AA dealing with this is they will say the offer is legit but it was for purchases as mentioned in the terms and conditions and not for donations.

  14. Al Guest

    It only takes a couple of obnoxiously greedy gamers taking advantage of these deals to get them shut down for all the others who would like to participate in much more reasonable degrees. This is why these deals are becoming fewer and fewer. "But we're just following the rules!" Sure, but we also know full well it's not in the spirit of the offer and is just downright selfish greed. Congratulations on being in a...

    It only takes a couple of obnoxiously greedy gamers taking advantage of these deals to get them shut down for all the others who would like to participate in much more reasonable degrees. This is why these deals are becoming fewer and fewer. "But we're just following the rules!" Sure, but we also know full well it's not in the spirit of the offer and is just downright selfish greed. Congratulations on being in a position where you can get yours at the expense of others.

    1. Hobbs Guest

      So what you’re saying is be less charitable…

    2. uldguy Diamond

      I gotta agree with Al on this one. This offer was way to generous to begin with. They should have imposed some limits on it. I just wanted to do a little Christmas shopping at Best Buy but all of the miles were eaten up before I could act.

      If I were a vendor participating in this program I would be pissed that it only shut down after a couple of days due to one vendor with a ridiculous offer. Just was was MasterCard hoping to accomplish here?

    3. Ryan Miller Guest

      Spirit of the offer was to get people to donate to this charity. The money money flowing in the better. That is the spirit of the offer. How cooked are you?

  15. George Guest

    I donated 1k and intended to leave that be whether I really got 240k miles or 40k miles. Still a good deal.

  16. Enjoy Fine Food Guest

    SimplyMiles from a December 7 purchase I made [way before the promo] just posted today December 16, so "refreshing the “Miles Earned” section of the SimplyMiles website roughly once every 37 seconds" is probably more anxious than you really need to be.

    1. Ed Guest

      facetious
      [ fuh-see-shuhs ]SHOW IPA

      See synonyms for: facetious / facetiously / facetiousness on Thesaurus.com
      High School Level
      adjective
      not meant to be taken seriously or literally:
      a facetious remark.
      amusing; humorous.
      lacking serious intent; concerned with something nonessential, amusing, or frivolous:
      a facetious person.

  17. tom Guest

    I'm sure it will be honored by simplymiles, they will be deposited into your AAdvantage account. Then AA will decide, even though they sold all these miles, they don't really want you having them and they are taking them back. To add insult to injury they'll also ban you from having an AA acount.

    1. CK Guest

      Definitely an outcome that is a possibility.

  18. nub2ski Guest

    Note: deal is over.

    The 5X AAdvantage promotion offer has reached its cap and has ended.
    We hope you continue enjoying earning miles with participating merchants in SimplyMiles.

  19. AA Guest

    And being a donation to a registered charity, it certainly won't hurt come tax return time....

    1. Darin Guest

      If you're playing by the rules, there's no reasonable valuation of AA miles where you didn't get more value than what you paid. Since you have to deduct the value of anything you received for a cash donation, there is no (legal) tax play here.

    2. Omar Guest

      Not really. Given that airline miles have no value by the Airline's own rules and are not really owned by you it is reasonable to put them at a zero dollar value.

      It is the charity's responsibility to send you the deductible amount minus gifts so if they don't do that then it's reasonable to deduct the full amount.

  20. Sel, D. Guest

    Very irresponsible for Gary to say that this will be honored with only speculation and a mostly irrelevant comment from an unidentified source at AA. Fingers crossed for all of us - I’m “only” in for $1k.

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      Gary said that he communicated with an official spokesperson of AA. If correct, statements to customers by an official spokesperson can bind a company.

    2. Sel, D. Guest

      The “spokesperson” said that the offer is “from Mastercard and it will run until Dec. 27 subject to availability.”

      Subject. To. Availability. All they confirmed was the 240x, and not that the miles were available. Heck - MC may have only pledged 5M miles and that’s it. Gary knows nothing more than anyone else here and is wrong in his assumptions, even if the miles are indeed eventually awarded.

    3. tom Guest

      Gary is a pompous douche who just likes to hear himself talk

    4. loungeabuser Guest

      I have personal knowledge he also drinks only boxed whine.

  21. FlyerDad Guest

    Gary, I wish you luck. But since I am bitter, salty and sad that I missed out on this, I am secretly hoping it won't be honored so I don't have to keep kicking myself. Hopefully that doesn't make me a bad person . . .

    1. FlyerDad Guest

      Um, *Ben* (not Gary). I told you I was sad and bitter.

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      Abraham Lincoln said that he did not become a better man by tearing another down.

  22. derek Guest

    There have been charity fraudsters where 99% of money collected goes to fund raising expenses and this may have been one of them.

    1. Mike Guest

      Anytime you're worried about this Charity Navigator is your friend. CI has a 91/100 rating, 83% of their donations go directly to the work, not the staff.

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      No major corporation -- such as AA -- would allow any charity promotion on its web site without due diligence.

  23. Henrique Guest

    Why not disclose exactly how many miles you are expecting? It would add to the thrill of following your blog :)

    1. Omar Guest

      He said he did three charges on three different cards. One can infer he did the max $9999 on each.

  24. C5CrewDog Guest

    Way to go Ben! You’ve come a long way from Mileage Runs on UA as LuckyCoins. Glad to have met you back in the day…

  25. NW Guest

    Exactly how BIG did you go?

    And you say if it’s not honoured you’ll expect a refund but you made a charitable donation not a purchase. I was always taught you don’t give to receive!

  26. TimR Guest

    "The 5X AAdvantage promotion offer has reached its cap and ended. Purchases made after 12AM ET on December 13, 2021 no longer qualify for the 5X bonus."

    Hope you made yours before 12AM ET LOL

  27. Ella Guest

    So YOU’RE the one who ended the 5x offer and crashed the site for a while! I’m glad I got my measly 20K orders in first. Now we wait.

  28. HP Guest

    Site is back up, but 5x is dead

  29. Andrew Guest

    Signed up yesterday. Hoping the Conservation International offer pops up at some point soon.

    And yeah, the website is painfully slow.

  30. Jonathan New Member

    Offer no longer showing on the website now. Looks like deal is dead for real

  31. Sel, D. Guest

    The website is incredibly slow - but I was able to login. The 5x bonus no longer shows.

  32. Leonel Guest

    Website is up, though slow, but do not see the 5X bonus anymore :-(

  33. Mihir Guest

    Looks like SimplyMiles site is now down. CAn you guys access it?

  34. Brian Guest

    Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Good luck.

  35. Steve L. Guest

    Website crashed! Of course...

  36. ck Guest

    Looks like simply miles website is down

  37. D3kingg Guest

    I recommend always playing by the rules.
    Textbook manipulation.

  38. meg New Member

    Is there anything one can do to trigger getting the donation offer (ex activating various offers that are showing to clear way for new ones, like with Amex offers), or is it just a wait and see game? I signed up Sunday evening and have been refreshing obsessively - no donation offer yet.

    Does adding multiple cards help the chances of getting it? I’m now realizing how many Visas and how few Mastercards I have…

    ...

    Is there anything one can do to trigger getting the donation offer (ex activating various offers that are showing to clear way for new ones, like with Amex offers), or is it just a wait and see game? I signed up Sunday evening and have been refreshing obsessively - no donation offer yet.

    Does adding multiple cards help the chances of getting it? I’m now realizing how many Visas and how few Mastercards I have…

    Are certain cards more likely to get the offer maybe? I’ve tried a Citi Premier and an Aviator card.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ meg -- Nope, doesn't seem like there's anything you can do to force yourself to be targeted. It's not like Amex Offers, the cards you add don't matter, etc. All you can do is be patient -- sorry!

  39. Adam Guest

    Is there a limit to how many of these off we can do?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Adam -- You'll want to read the terms for yourself, but my understanding is that there's a $9,999 limit per transaction, and you can link up to three credit cards, but there's no limit beyond that.

  40. Collin Greer Guest

    Lucky/All, I'm struggling to see how you got to 240 miles / dollar spent with the promotion? More just wanting to put my mind at ease that I'm not going crazy for not understanding the math between 40miles/dollar & 5x miles/dollar spent... Any help on the math here would be greatly appreciated it!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Collin Greer -- You ordinarily earn 40 miles per dollar spent. This offer is for an additional 5x the number of miles you'd usually earn. So 40 x 5 = 200, which is the number of bonus miles you earn, in addition to the 40 base miles.

      This math was spelled out in an email to members:
      "As a special holiday bonus, through December 27 or while supplies last, earn an additional 5x...

      @ Collin Greer -- You ordinarily earn 40 miles per dollar spent. This offer is for an additional 5x the number of miles you'd usually earn. So 40 x 5 = 200, which is the number of bonus miles you earn, in addition to the 40 base miles.

      This math was spelled out in an email to members:
      "As a special holiday bonus, through December 27 or while supplies last, earn an additional 5x American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles on every offer site-wide. For example, if you earn 100 miles on a purchase of $30 or more, then you will actually earn 100 miles + 500 bonus miles for a total of 600 miles."

      Hope that clarifies things!

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      Ben, your interpretation is supported by Gary at View From The Wing. Gary emailed AA and expressly posed the question:

      40X plus 5X = 45X
      or
      40X plus 5*(40X) = 240X?

      AA expressly responded that it is 240X.

      I think that we're all hoping that AA honors this offer.

    3. Collin Greer Guest

      @Ben - Ah yes! Makes much more sense now thank you for the clarity!

  41. Another Lump Guest

    In next week's news: AA shut down my account and confiscated my miles because of "abuse", but I didn't break any program rules, I only took advantage of offers available to me!

    It happened to me, so why not.

  42. Rob Guest

    I'm not understanding Ben's comments about making the charges on 3 different cards. Is there some limit per card?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Rob -- There's just a $9,999 limit per transaction, but no other per card limit, best I can tell.

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      3 x $10k = $30k >>> 7.2 million points.

      Yeah, baby!

  43. Never In Doubt Guest

    Good for you!

    Literally putting your money where your mouth is!

  44. Reyyan New Member

    Any possibility to add a non-US Mastercard? Is it possible to link a US issued E-giftcard?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Reyyan -- The terms state that you need to be a US resident and use a valid Mastercard. While I'm not sure 100% sure the Mastercard needs to be issued in the US, personally I'd only consider taking advantage of this deal if you otherwise 100% meet the eligibility requirements, since there's just too much risk.

  45. TD Guest

    Is it YMMV? I do not see the 40-point donation offer Ben purchased all the miles with.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ TD -- Yep, the individual offers are targeted, so not everyone will be eligible for each offer. New members don't seem to initially see the Conservation International offer.

  46. SMR Guest

    We can always thank the wealthy for diluting our points and money! I am sure this is exactly how AA wanted this promo to go. At least the money is going to a good cause is all I can say.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Your saltiness is baffling.

      Would you even have known about this if not for Ben?

      Are you afraid Ben’s points will reduce what you can get?

      Are you feeling bad for AA?

      Baffling.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      When you talk about wealthy people diluting, are you also referring to the economy and billionaires?

      I'm sure Elon Musk has manipulated the market enough to send his wealth pass pre-divorce Jeff Bezos. While many others are still struggling at minimum wage.

      Also a big shout out to the great scammer and billionaire Satoshi Nakamoto, who successfully turned snake oil into gold.

      So you still think your money is going to good cause?

  47. Chris Guest

    I just joined, using my AAdvantage Mastercard. I'm not seeing Conservation International (was hoping to put up $1,500 for a trip to the Maldives).

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Chris -- Yeah, the Conservation International offer doesn't show up right away. Those who registered on Sunday largely seem to be seeing that offer as of Monday evening.

  48. Sam Guest

    Sorry if this has been answered:

    Can I use my wife's credit card under my simplymiles account? Will the miles still come under my AA loyalty account? Secondly, when you do get transferred to the donation site, can you use a totally different card?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sam -- You have to use a Mastercard, since the donation is even made through a special portal from Mastercard. I don't see anything in the terms about the SimplyMiles member having to use a card in their name, though you'll want to double check for yourself, since I have no inside knowledge there beyond what I can read.

    2. Sam Guest

      Thank you Ben. You’re always great!

  49. AG Guest

    Im going down the ship with you Lucky...Im in for $10k!

  50. HSquared Guest

    Tried the Best Buy to see - worst case scenario I have lots of Lyft Gift Cards to use.

    1. Coleslaw Guest

      Gift cards are specifically excluded.

  51. Matt Guest

    And you wonder why programs keep devaluing. Such a hypocritical stance.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Your ire at Ben (and not the program itself) is misplaced.

      The idea that Ben/his readers are culprits in some way is ridiculous.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Matt -- First of all, the AAdvantage program hasn't devalued partner awards (which is what I value in over five years), so I'm not sure that logic adds up here? Second of all, what do you think an appropriate number of miles to purchase is at the rate of 240x miles per dollar, when the airline confirms the promotion is legitimate?

    3. Matt Guest

      It’s great that the opportunity happened. But, in my mind you should no longer get to judge the “turkey pastrami” sandwich, etc.. Cleary AA has set their own value at this point, so criticism of the airline and their offerings should be adjusted to what they’ve set their own worth. Also “haven’t devalued”, they’ve gone to pretty great lengths to devalue (as have all US majors in a way), they’ve removed award charts for their...

      It’s great that the opportunity happened. But, in my mind you should no longer get to judge the “turkey pastrami” sandwich, etc.. Cleary AA has set their own value at this point, so criticism of the airline and their offerings should be adjusted to what they’ve set their own worth. Also “haven’t devalued”, they’ve gone to pretty great lengths to devalue (as have all US majors in a way), they’ve removed award charts for their own flights, and the new status program has little reward to many fliers.

    4. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Matt -- What does this offer have to do with turkey pastrami sandwiches when I book a paid first class ticket (with cash)? Also, last I checked I can "judge" whatever I'd like on my blog...

  52. Steve Guest

    Be aware that the Best Buy terms appear to require you to use an AAdvantage Mastercard.

    1. medi Guest

      where does it say that?

    2. philco Guest

      I think it depends on the offer, my BBY offer does NOT and I have checked the detailed terms twice, nothing in mine.

    3. Steve Guest

      When you click on the terms link there is a second hot link that opens up more information. It's there.

    4. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Steve -- Possible I'm missing something, but I don't see that. I think all SimplyMiles offers require you to use a Mastercard, but not an AAdvantage co-branded one.

    5. Fltnz6 Guest

      I registered using a non AA card and the Best Buy offer didn’t have the AA requirement. After I linked an AA Mastercard the Best Buy offer was replaced with one requiring an AA mastercard. So the offer appears to be tied to card on your account

  53. Jules Guest

    Made a $200 donation. People taking this to the extreme are likely going to cause this deal to be rescinded for everyone. In any case, I’d be fine with 40x since it appears to be a good cause.

  54. Earl Lee Guest

    I also donated a few thousand today. I didn't get the 40X email confirmation like you did. I did confirm that the card was registered, I went through the links, etc.

    I figure worst case scenario, they don't and you can always dispute the charge with your credit card if it doesn't turn out how they advertised. Some might think that is a crappy thing to do but most people would never have donated...

    I also donated a few thousand today. I didn't get the 40X email confirmation like you did. I did confirm that the card was registered, I went through the links, etc.

    I figure worst case scenario, they don't and you can always dispute the charge with your credit card if it doesn't turn out how they advertised. Some might think that is a crappy thing to do but most people would never have donated unless they offered these terms/conditions so I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

    1. Luke Guest

      Just pulled the trigger for $3k after registering my Citi Double Cash. Hope it works out as the confirmation email like you shows 40x and not the 5x multiplier. This replenishes the miles I used up on purchasing on the double discount deal a couple months ago where a mistake caused Aadvantage miles to be priced at 1.35 cents per. Thought that was awesome but this really takes the cake if works out!

      Feel like just took my money to the casino blackjack table!

    2. Jules Guest

      Disputing a charge to a charity is definitely not something I’d be comfortable doing. But hey…to each their own.

  55. Will Guest

    Dude- best work all year! Love this (bet end of year, one of highest read articles)
    I hope it works! Standing by to make a large donation...
    Happy holidays Ben

  56. YULtide Member

    @Ben
    No skin in this game, but I'm curious. Conservation International is a registered charity, which means you get a tax deduction. Did you calculate the value of the tax receipt in your 0.42 cents per AAdvantage mile?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ YULtide -- Admittedly I'm not a tax expert, but I don't believe you can write off a donation if you're getting something in return for it? Someone correct me if I'm wrong...

    2. Coleslaw Guest

      You can write off the value of the donation less the value of the points you received in return. If it posts as 240x then no write off. If it posts as 40x then you could assign a reasonable value (same as Bask Bank?) and write off the difference.

    3. YULtide Member

      Good point. I can't comment on US tax law, but in Canada it might be a grey area that would depend on who is providing the points. There would be a responsibility on the charity to declare the value of the points and issue a receipt (or not) that takes that into account if this applies at all. It would raise the question of the fair market value of the points. But of course this case is under US law.

      Thanks for indulging my curiosity.

    4. FoxtrotMikeLima Guest

      wrong. this can be a write off.

    5. Florida Sunshine Guest

      Yes you can. You get something at an auction for charity, you receive something and you can write off the donation.

    6. Andy 11235 Guest

      Just a further nuance -- not sure if they are a registered charity /in Canada/. Under US rules, you can deduct gifts to charity less any value received in return for the gift, and you don't necessarily need a letter/receipt from the charity confirming this as long as you have some other documentation to justify your deduction. Under Canadian rules, you can deduct gifts to a US charity not registered in Canada only to the...

      Just a further nuance -- not sure if they are a registered charity /in Canada/. Under US rules, you can deduct gifts to charity less any value received in return for the gift, and you don't necessarily need a letter/receipt from the charity confirming this as long as you have some other documentation to justify your deduction. Under Canadian rules, you can deduct gifts to a US charity not registered in Canada only to the extent that you have US source income (unless it's a university).

  57. HP Guest

    I am certainly not a blogger and I still see the 40x offer in my activated list

  58. Alpha Golf Guest

    Also not seeing CI...

  59. AG New Member

    Did you make multiple donations using your SimplyMiles account? I donated yesterday and am thinking of giving more, but the terms of the offer don't seem very clear on whether there's a limit of one donation.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ AG -- Yep, I did multiple donations. I received the emails confirming eligibility for all three cards.

    2. Bill S Guest

      How long did it take to get the confirmation emails? I made my purchase a few hours ago and haven't gotten a confirmation.

    3. Rohit Guest

      Ben, can you donate twice on the same card?

    4. John G Guest

      Multiple $9999.00 I feel like is pushing it. It says the max is $9999.00, I know when you finish it ask you if you want to make another donation.. but I feel like making multiple $9999.00 to exceed the single limit might give them grounds for a claw back.

  60. Sel, D. Guest

    Let’s go!!!!! I got .24 millions of miles. Also the Best Buy is up to 2.5k (so 15k after bonus) for a $200 purchase. Just got airpod pros out the door for $205 and receiving 15k less miles. Also, zero risk as compared to the donation route.

    1. coleslaw Guest

      It's not really zero risk... the same "while supplies last" disclaimer applies across the board.

    2. normalinternetperson Guest

      You may want to be careful. There is at least one DP of sales tax not counting, as is often the case with these types of offers.

  61. Willem Guest

    How will you maintain AA EXP status with the ability to fly “Free” on AA for awhile?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Willem -- Hah, I haven't thought that far ahead yet. If this does all work out, I don't plan on redeeming miles all at once. I'm not sure my redemption patterns would actually change all that much.

    2. ABC Guest

      I’m surprised you (+Ford) didn’t go bigger.

  62. IAHRoadWarrior Guest

    I went big as well hoping for the miles to come in handy for a destination wedding in 2022. Guess we'll find out (in somewhere <8 weeks?) if this really pays off!

  63. echino Member

    I think the charity ends up paying for that, at least partially. Charity buys AA miles and offers them as an incentive for the donation. They just didn't realize the full implications of their offer and will likely end up losing a lot of money.

    1. philco Guest

      I believe that VFTW has spoken to AA and is saying Mastercard is covering this cost not the charity. I think Simply Miles is actually run by Mastercard. When I reached out to their support the email address domain that responded was Mastercard.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ echino -- While the charity almost certainly pays for the "standard" miles at some rate, I doubt the promotion as such is being billed to the charity. At least that's not usually how it works for these kinds of retailer bonuses.

  64. Robert Guest

    I'm in as well. Didn't go as large as @Lucky, but went big enough to keep me flying comfortably for a long time.

  65. echino Member

    I wanted to participate, but I couldn't since I live in Canada and this is limited to the US.

  66. Peter Guest

    I pulled the trigger on this as well, received email confirming standard 40 miles per dollar. Hopefully they honor this!

  67. Joe Guest

    Is the conservation international offer still available? I can’t find it anywhere in my simply miles account?

    1. Nun Guest

      The offer is targeted. Use the filter button and enter "conservation" to find it more easily.

  68. Paul Guest

    What card did you use? Surely Double Cash makes sense here.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Paul -- I used a few different cards, but the Citi Double Cash was the primary one I tried to use.

    2. Dave Guest

      Can I do it again on the same AA account? I put in $500 last night. Will it make additional purchase ineligible for 5x?

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Dave -- Yep, I used the offer on three different cards, and got the email each time saying I'd earn 40x miles, as expected.

    4. Vu tran Guest

      I just donate but haven't receive any confirmation email. How long it took for you to receive the email. Thanks

  69. Steve Diamond

    Seems a classic case of them targeting the high profile bloggers like yourself and not the general population. If something sounds too good to be true than it usually is. Congrats Ben on the miles. Im sure they will honor them their goal was to raise awareness and advertise for Simply Miles which clearly worked as thousands of your readers are hearing about them for the first time.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Steve -- Respectfully, you're giving SimplyMiles way too much credit in terms of targeting. Virtually everyone who had an account prior to this week saw the offer. It's mostly the people who just signed up who aren't seeing this offer.

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      I JUST signed up and a day later the offer appeared.

      Count to 10, refresh your window, repeat.

    3. Steve Diamond

      Good to know maybe it will show up in new folks accounts here shortly! Intentional or not the marketing sure looks to be working here.

    4. philco Guest

      I have been using Simply Miles since they started back in 2019. I actually got in on their 5x deal then (not nearly as lucrative offers then as now but a couple of good ones). I have used them throughout the years maybe a half-dozen to a dozen times a year give or take. I was targeted for this and a bunch of other offers that are pretty lucrative though not scalable. I will say...

      I have been using Simply Miles since they started back in 2019. I actually got in on their 5x deal then (not nearly as lucrative offers then as now but a couple of good ones). I have used them throughout the years maybe a half-dozen to a dozen times a year give or take. I was targeted for this and a bunch of other offers that are pretty lucrative though not scalable. I will say Simply Miles has always paid out what they owed me. I think two times I had to reach out to them when points didn't post and they always resolved in my favor. Finally additionally folks have been targeted today. It appears new account don't initially get this and a lot of other offers. Keep checking your account.

    5. Quo Vadis Guest

      I signed up for SimplyMiles yesterday and did not see/find the Conservation International offer (yesterday), which irked me. Today, however, I saw the 40 miles/dollar offer in my account, which I activated and made a donation for. So hold on another day and check back tomorrow.

  70. mojo Guest

    Ah, so that's why Conservation Int'l never appeared in my offers list - because you emptied out the pot.

    Way to go, bro.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ mojo -- I don't think that's what's going on, since plenty of other people have just been targeted for it in the past couple of hours, after I (and others) made purchases. When did you sign up for SimplyMiles?

  71. Trevor Guest

    Good luck! I also want to get in big on this, but the offer isn’t appearing in my account. I just signed up for Simply Miles today, though. You mentioned that some people were just targeted for this offer in the past few hours. Any idea how often they are refreshing available offers to accounts? Thanks!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Trevor -- Wish I knew, but I have no clue. I know many people who signed up yesterday are only seeing the offer in the past couple of hours. So the best guess I have as of now is that it updates about once a day, but who knows...

  72. Pmv Guest

    Three different cards registered, but only 83 offer on any of them no nothing more than 3miles/$

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Al Guest

It only takes a couple of obnoxiously greedy gamers taking advantage of these deals to get them shut down for all the others who would like to participate in much more reasonable degrees. This is why these deals are becoming fewer and fewer. "But we're just following the rules!" Sure, but we also know full well it's not in the spirit of the offer and is just downright selfish greed. Congratulations on being in a position where you can get yours at the expense of others.

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Matt -- What does this offer have to do with turkey pastrami sandwiches when I book a paid first class ticket (with cash)? Also, last I checked I can "judge" whatever I'd like on my blog...

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Collin Greer -- You ordinarily earn 40 miles per dollar spent. This offer is for an additional 5x the number of miles you'd usually earn. So 40 x 5 = 200, which is the number of bonus miles you earn, in addition to the 40 base miles. This math was spelled out in an email to members: "As a special holiday bonus, through December 27 or while supplies last, earn an additional 5x American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles on every offer site-wide. For example, if you earn 100 miles on a purchase of $30 or more, then you will actually earn 100 miles + 500 bonus miles for a total of 600 miles." Hope that clarifies things!

2
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