Thursday, February 14, 2013

Get your 100,000 AA miles before it's too late

Update:  It's too late.  But there are plenty of other good deals to be had.

With the new AA - US Airways merger officially announced today, I'm handicapping the over/under of the termination of the legendary "two browser trick," which still gets you 100,000 miles on AA per person, to occur within about a month.  (50,000 miles for each of two cards)  But it could be anytime, maybe tomorrow, maybe it already happened.  To be honest, I'm surprised it didn't happen as soon as the loophole was exploited about three years ago.  In any case, it's worth trying even if you only get one of the 50k cards.

The new CEO will be very focused on cost cutting and this is surely one of the first loopholes to be closed.  So if you are considering taking the deal that has enabled me and countless other scavengers to rack up way more frequent flier miles than we ever thought possible, do it now.

I believe that the 2 cards applied for simultaneously will show up on your credit score as a single credit hit, about a 3-point decrease in the score, although I am not certain of this.  Conventional wisdom is that you need a credit score of at least 700 to qualify and my personal experience is that you can't have applied for a lot of other credit cards recently.

You and a spouse have separate credit scores and can each apply separately, and each get 100,000 points this way.  If you give

Daraius explains the procedure eloquently and answers many questions about it.  Be sure to follow the directions very carefully, or you might not get both cards.  Click Here for instructions on!

Here is what you could do with 100,000 miles on AA:

  • Four 1-way tickets to/from Japan offpeak
  • Five 1-way tickets to/from Europe offpeak
  • Five 1-way tickets to/from South America offpeak
Or half as many if you fly first or business class, or slightly fewer trips if you fly in the summer.  

And if you are very resourceful and patient and live in certain places, you could bundle each of the above trips with another domestic one-way trip, for only the cost of the TSA fee ($2.50 per segment).  Or you could hire a professional to help you.

Of course, it is possible (albeit unlikely, given the number of sharps floating around) that AA somehow makes money off the 2-browser trick, in which case expect to see it there until kingdom come.

Note: this may not be a good idea for you if you are in the middle of applying for a mortgage (or if you plan to apply for one soon and your credit score is marginal) and/or if you have a difficult time paying off your credit card balance every month.

Good luck and enjoy the miles.

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