Imagine if an A380 landed in San Diego?

The first time I ever flew on a jet was on a Boeing 707. I was 3 years old and don’t even remember where I was going, but I did collect my wings and that started my dreaming of flight. As aviation continued to progress with newer and bigger jets I too would dream of what it would be like to fly on them. I still remember my first flight on a 737, it was LAX-SFO on Braniff Airlines for $29 round trip.  Slowly I started to check off each plane on my list, the 727, L1011, MD80, 747, 757, 767, 777, A320, A330, A319, A321.  It seems that lately I have been flying on more than my share of 757′s, but the one that I want to fly on the most is the A380.

I have not had the opportunity to fly on the newest star of aviation the A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. What was the last type of plane that you flew on and what aircraft to you dream of flying on next?  Thanks to YouTube it is a lot easier to dream:

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Chase BA Visa: How to Quickly Meet Your Minimum Spend at No Cost to You

Today, Mr. Pickles returns to discuss how to meet the minimum spend at no cost to you by using the US Mint and following their guidelines for a basic purchase. You can follow Mr. Pickles on Twitter at @TheMrPickles.

The Challenge
I have never flown on American Airlines even though I have one of those old frequent flyer numbers from them that starts with a letter followed followed by 6 numbers. I joined in April of 1985 when I had to fly a lot for work. I was a regular flyer of PSA Airlines, Eastern Airlines and United Airlines and I thought what the heck why not sign up for all of them, they might just start to charge to join in the future.
Fast forward to 2006 and I received letter with a new gold American Airlines luggage tags welcoming me as a 1 Million Mile Lifetime Gold member of American Airlines. I thought I had won a contest. I was a real frequent flyer idiot- I had no idea why I had been bestowed this honor. After searching around the internet I came across Flyertalk and discovered all of the ins and outs of the American Airlines lifetime program. Without my knowledge, 12 years of Citibank credit card usage had pushed me past the 1 million mile mark and since American Airlines was the only airline that allows ALL miles to count towards lifetime status this is what had happened. My office staff had using my credit card to pay for office supplies, business trips, etc and had by this time amassed over 1.2 million miles in my American AAdvantage account. Realizing this lucrative proposition, I had a new challenge in life: Figure out the quickest way to get to 2 million miles, which would get me Lifetime Platinum status.

Creme de la creme: Buying Money
What I came across and will share in this post will help you meet minimum spending requirement, such as the $2,500 spend requirement to complete the British Airways 100K mile Bonus, or the $30k spend requirement to get the annual companion certificate. If buying coins doesn’t interest you, on Monday I discussed how you can use BigCrumbs to earn cash back on purchasing American Express Gift Cards and then use those gift cards for other purchases, which is another quick way to meet credit card spend requirements. If you have a little more time, say six weeks, you can consider buying coins from the US Mint. This process was outlined in numerous online online forums and in the Wall Street Journal article in December of 2009.

Current US Mint Program
The US Mint is under a Congressional mandate to get into circulation these $1 coins until 2016. The $1 coins come in Presidential variety and in the Native American variety. After the WSJ article, word spread quickly that the credit card companies were cracking down and not allowing these purchases or if they were, that they were charging cash advance fees to coin buyers. However, in reality only a few credit card issuers were a problem, one being the US Bank FlexPerks card. Readers can comment on other cards that they have had experiences where they do not work. There is an excellent primer for ordering coins with an FAQ on FlyerTalk.

In fact, the only real change was that the US Mint issued a warning on its website: “There is a 4-box $1 coin limit for every 10-day period on any and all $1 coin orders. Beyond that your credit card will not be authorized.” This is something that I can work with. The coins come prerolled in $25 rolls, 10 to a box. Each box costs $250 so 4 boxes works out to $1000/per order/per 10 days. To simply meet the $2,500 spend requirement on my BA card, all I needed to do was order 10 boxes total.

box of coins

The nice thing about this is that the US Mint offers FREE overnight shipping on orders over $500. Simply set up an account on the US Mint website, register your shipping address where you can receive the coins and then place your first order. I would recommend placing 3 orders to meet your $2,500 minimum spend requirement:

  1. 4 boxes of $250.00 on day 1 for a total of $1,000
  2. 3 boxes of $250.00 on day 11 for a total of $750
  3. 3 boxes of $750.00 on day 22 for a total of $750

Word of Caution
When ordering these coins you must keep in mind that you cannot order more than $1,000 every ten days. When purchasing you agree to not deposit them immediately in a bank, but that you will circulate the coins. The interpretation of immediately is up to you. I will not discuss the ethics of this, but you will hear many differing experiences about depositing them at the bank if you read the master Flyertalk thread.

How to get rid of the coins
If you choose to follow the spirit of the US Mint’s rules on putting the coins into circulation here are a few tips on spending them:

  • Pay property taxes or DMV fees
  • Use at your local Farmer’s Market
  • All Federal buildings have vending machines that accept $1 coins
  • Use at parking meters
  • Pay mortgage or rent
  • Pay college tuition
  • Pay your household help, gardner or housekeeper
  • Use anywhere that will not take a credit card
  • Buy Money Orders at Walmart ($1000/cost$0.60)
  • Buy Money Orders at the US Post Office
  • Give your kids an allowance bonus
  • Use for mass transit

Back in the old days I would order $24,750 of coins several times a day, those days are gone. Boxes would show up on a pallet.
pallet of coins
Back in those days, I had the following rules that allowed me to deposit them without rocking the boat:

  • Make arrangements in advance to verify that your bank will accept the coins without charging you a fee
  • Don’t lie to the bank if they ask you why the have all of these coins, know your answer in advance
  • Make sure they will not require you to unroll the coins (more likely for a miss count and loss of $)
  • If the bank says no, be gracious and just go to another branch or bank
  • Don’t show up with coins just before closing, preferably bring them in the morning
  • Never bring them on a weekend
  • Open all of the coin boxes and throwaway the trash at your own home, this way the teller does not break a fingernail
  • I deposit at a bank that I consider to be disposable, where if they close my account if is not intermingled with my primary bank
  • Bring the bank a box of doughnuts, you want them to be happy!

In Summary
You need to set a goal. My goal was to reach another mile level for airline status, but you can set a much easier goal of $2,500 for a minimum spend requirement on the Chase British Airways Visa 100k Mile credit card without any out of pocket expense. I have more tips on maximizing this “promotion”, so follow my site for future posts on the topic.

About Me
Joshua Pickles, aka “mrpickles”, has been writing on the Flyertalk.com forum since 2009 and more recently on the MilePoint.com forum telling stories of racking huge amounts of frequent flyer miles in a short period of time. Primarily focusing on American Airlines AAdvantage miles mrpickles found notoriety in December 2009 when The Wall Street Journal wrote a front page article which featured a story that hinted about how mrpickles earned American Airlines lifetime Platinum status without ever stepping on an American Airlines flight. More recently he was featured as one of the Legends of Flyertalk at the Chicago Seminar 2010, a gathering of over 500 frequent flyers learning the tricks of the trade. mrpickles currently holds over 5.8 million miles and points over several programs and this year has top tier status with United, Air France, Continental, and American Airlines as well as Starwood Hotels and Hilton Hotels. You can follow Mr. Pickles on Twitter at @TheMrPickles.

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Double dipping with your new Chase BA Visa credit card

Greetings to all TPG followers, I am Joshua Pickles and I contribute to the Flyertalk and MilePoint forums under the handle “mrpickles”.  Beginning today I will be guest blogging with tips and tricks to help you maximize your miles and points potential. To read more about me see the end of this post or visit my own blog at www.TheMrPickles.com or follow me on Twitter @TheMrPickles.

ThePointsGuy.com contacted me and asked if I could weigh in on some ideas on how to make some worthwhile purchases on your newly acquired Chase British Airways 100K mile Visa card. As you know to get the 100K miles you need to make a total of $2500 in purchases within 90 days.  The first 50K miles post after your first purchase, which can be a purchase as small as a pack of gum or a tomato at the grocery store, then bam you have 50K points in your account. But for some people the next step is to complete the $2500 total spend requirement in the next 90 days to qualify for the additional 50K miles.

Today and Thursday I will outline some different methods you can use to meet these spend requirements. Today’s post covers spending money on the credit card to Double and Triple dip rewards, while Thursdays post will cover how to meet the spend requirement, earn reward points all while using the governments money.

When I was a frequent flyer newbie I would get a thrill out of earning points and miles. I felt that I was getting something for free, and when standing on the jetway boarding for my next flight I would sneak a glance at other passengers boarding passes and notice no status or no frequent flyer number and snicker to myself thinking that these people were losing out on miles. Even today I cringe when I see someone in a restaurant or grocery store handing over a fist of money. All those lost miles.

Well it did not take long until I realized it took an awful lot of activity just to get just one free flight or hotel night. Then I was enlightened that a better way to rack up miles was to Double Dip. I use online shopping mall websites and for simplicity I will focus on one called Big Crumbs. This is a online shopping mall where members sign in and then click through to the popular stores where they want to purchase an item such as eBay, Expedia, Walmart, Drugstore.com, etc. Members earn a cash back incentive which is a percentage of the total amount spent per store for example Flowers.com is 9.6%, and Nordstrom is 5.6%.

How it Works

BigCrumbs is very simple to use. First you click on my link and sign up for a free account. Next you sign in and shop as usual. Third in about 2 months you will receive a rebate check on all of your purchases. Payments lag about 8 weeks, so purchases made in all of May will be paid on July 15.

How to Double Dip and Triple Dip.
One of the stores on BigCrumbs is the American Express Gift Card store which pays 1.6% cash back. You can use a Chase British Airways Visa card for example and make a purchase at the American Express Gift Cards – Business Store, earn BAEC miles at 1.25:1 and then use the American Express gift cards for everyday purchases. There are two Amex Gift Card stores, one for personal and one for business gift cards.  The Personal store has an upper limit of $200 per gift card and the Business store has an upper limit of $500/gift card.  There is a current offer code from American Express “GEN374″ which gives an additional $5.95 discount to help absorb any fees incurred like a shipping fee. Another  offer code is “EMMOTCM” for FEE-FREE Amex Gift Cards good until 6/30/2011. This would be the Double Dip:

  • Miles for BAEC using your Chase British Airways Visa card
  • Purchase the gift cards for use later to complete your $2500 spend requirement
  • 1.6% cash back for the Amex gift card purchase

You can take it a step further and use the newly purchased Amex Gift Card and go back to Big Crumbs and book your travel through the Expedia travel website and earn an additional cash back of 6.4% on all air, hotel other travel bookings. This would be your Triple Dip:

  • Miles for BAEC using your Chase British Airways Visa card
  • 1.6% Cash Back for purchase of Amex Gift Card
  • Additional 6.4% cash back for Expedia purchases

Big Crumbs as a Passive Income Stream

BigCrumbs works on a referral system much like any multilevel marketing program. There are three tiers. First tier is the person who referred me, second tier is myself, and the third tier is the person who signs up under me. I make a small commission on the purchase that I make and so does the person above me, and above them. The person below me makes a small commission on their purchases and so do I and the person above me. Anyone that you get to sign up makes a commission and so do you and I. So basically you get a commission on your own purchases and the purchases of the next two steps below you. If you have many buyers below you then you will have a continuous stream of passive income. So to get started please sign up under my link here.

Example of signup page:

BigCrumbs signup page

Once you sign up you can then create a referral code of your own and then email that to your friends and family and start earning on their purchases too.

About Me

“mrpickles” has been writing on the Flyertalk.com forum since 2009 and more recently on the MilePoint.com forum telling stories of racking huge amounts of frequent flyer miles in a short period of time. Primarily focusing on American Airlines AAdvantage miles mrpickles found notoriety in December 2009 when The Wall Street Journal wrote a front page article which featured a story that hinted about how mrpickles earned American Airlines lifetime Platinum status without ever stepping on an American Airlines flight. More recently he was featured as one of the Legends of Flyertalk at the Chicago Seminar 2010, a gathering of over 500 frequent flyers learning the tricks of the trade. mrpickles currently holds over 5.8 million miles and points over several programs and this year has top tier status with United, Air France, Continental, and American Airlines as well as Starwood Hotels and Hilton Hotels.

 

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