A crazy million mile idea. Should I do it?


A few weeks ago I had an idea.  I’m not saying it was a good idea, but to me it was a fun idea.  A fun challenge.  A big challenge…

The idea is simple: I will challenge myself to earn a million miles in a month.

Now, to be clear, I don’t need a million more miles.  And, there’s nothing special about the number “million” other than the fact that it is big and begins with the same letter as “miles”.  And, there’s nothing special about the timeframe of a month other than that it is a relatively small amount of time in which to earn lots of miles.  And, of course, “month” begins with the same letter as “million” and “miles”.  No, I don’t need a million more miles, but I think it would be great fun to try to get them, in one month.

My first thought was that I should do this in May since that’s a nice month that begins with the same nice letter.  But then I realized that March was also a good month in which to preserve the ridiculous alliteration and it is much more amenable to puns.  “Million Mile March” has a nice ring to it.  To me, it sounds better than “Million Mile May”.  I like too that it sounds like my intention is to march a million miles, Forest Gumpishly.  A million mile march would be the equivalent of walking completely around the earth 40 times.  If someone wanted to match my Million Mile March with their own million mile march, they would have to walk the equivalent of 1 and 1/3 times around the earth each day.  I would argue that earning a million miles would be easier.

Less than a million rules

To do this crazy feat, I would need some rules.  I mean, given unlimited money, I could buy a million miles, but that wouldn’t be fun at all.  So here are some thoughts:

  • Keep to a budget of $1000. Many point-earning techniques cost money. Let’s keep the total expenses down to $1000 or less.
  • Miles or points, it’s all good.  Even though different types of miles & points are more or less valuable, I think this game would be easier if we just agree to count all miles and points as long as they are somewhat travel related (e.g. airline miles, hotel points, flexible points, etc. all count).
  • No extra points through conversions.  Sometimes its possible to trade one type of point for another at a better than 1 to 1 ratio.  For example, Virgin Atlantic points can be transferred to twice as many Hilton points.  In this example, I think it would be cheating to count the Hilton points.
  • Cash earnings can be used to increase the budget.  If I make money through cash-back portals, for example, that cash can be used towards more mile-earning opportunities.
  • No points from family and friends.  I could always ask my wife to sign up for a bunch of credit cards (and I frequently do), but I won’t count those points towards this challenge.
  • Points expected, but not yet credited are OK.  It often takes quite a while for points to get credited to a person’s account.  Whether I’m waiting for sign-up bonus points, shopping portal points, or run of the mill credit card statement points, I’ll count the ones I expect to get based on March activity even if the points don’t actually post until April or later.
  • All requirements must be met within the month.  If I sign up for a credit card in order to earn the sign-up bonus, I would have to sign up in March and meet minimum spend requirements in March in order to count the points.  Here’s to hoping for overnight credit card delivery!
  • Don’t cross the line.  There are often times when points can be earned by violating laws, rules, or ethics.  Those opportunities are not allowed.  See “Drawing the line.”

Did I miss any important rules?

Blogging on the way

If I do this, then I would post a bunch of progress reports during the month of March.  With most of the reports I expect that I would be able to give full details of how I earned points, but in some cases I may not.  The reason is that some deals have limited scope – only so many people can participate before the deal is ruined.  One example is when I buy merchandise for points and resell the stuff.  If I were to specify exactly what I bought, many others would be likely to do the same, and then when trying to sell the stuff we would face a price war as we all competed with each other.  So, for some things, where I think necessary, I’ll be less forthcoming about how exactly the points were earned.

Who’s with me?

Do I do this alone or are there others who would like to join me on this ridiculous mission? If there are others, I think it would be very interesting to track everyone’s progress along the way.  We could setup a Google spreadsheet or something similar for each person to self-report their progress.

What do you think?

Is this crazy idea worth doing?  As a full time blogger, I’m lucky enough to have the time to do insane things like this.  I think that many readers would find it entertaining to follow along with my successes and setbacks as I report them.  And, maybe, we’ll all learn some great tricks along the way.  What do you think?

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