How to earn 1.3 million miles from one flight, Capital One Shopping clawbacks and Amex retention calls made easy (Saturday Selection)


Earning 1.3 million miles from one paid flight, another round of Capital One Shopping clawbacks, Amex retention calls made easy and the 23,000,000-mile man. All that and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, our weekly round-up of interesting tidbits from around the interwebs (links to each article are embedded in the titles).

Earning 1.3 million miles on one round-trip business class flight

a woman and a child holding a teddy bear
Tell me about it (Image courtesy of Malaysia Airlines)

A common complaint among road warriors is that it’s become much less rewarding to fly than it used to be now that airlines are more concerned with credit card programs than rewarding actual passengers. Our friend Gary over at View from the Wing discovered quite the exception. Malaysia Airlines is currently offering an eye-popping haul of 1,348,000 miles for booking (and flying) one roundtrip business class flight between London and Bali. The cash cost for that flight is ~$4,000. We (somewhat understandably) don’t cover Malaysia in our Reasonable Redemption Values, but they are a OneWorld partner. Normally, the award chart is sub-optimal, but at a cost of around 0.3 cents/mile, it starts to look pretty sexy.

Amex retention calls made easy

a person using a laptop and a phone

99.4% of points and miles afficionados hate retention calls. This time-honored tooth-pull is when cardholders contact a credit card company after an annual fee comes due in an attempt to get some sort of “retention offer,” where the credit card company incentivizes them to keep and spend on the card for another year. A couple of years ago, Greg got $895 and 75,000 points on one such call. Part of what makes them so irritating is that you usually have to get past a frontline rep who tries to tell you how marvelous your life is with this card and what a disaster it would be to let it go. Matt at Miles Earn and Burn found a great bypass to this ritual when an Amex chat rep gave him a direct phone number to Amex retention that allows you to enter your card number beforehand, so when the retention rep answers, your card info is pre-loaded. Pretty nifty!

Capital One Shopping doing another round of clawbacks

Capital One Shopping in action

This week’s edition of clawback corner is brought to us by Capital One Shopping, the glitchy, eccentric portal that everyone hates to love (but that can provide exceptional value if everything works properly). (GCC) has often appeared on Capital One Shopping (one time as high as 24% back), allowing folks to buy Visa/MC and 3rd party giftcards while earning significant rewards, something that can be difficult to find elsewhere. Back in March we had a scare when thousands of dollars of GCC-influenced rewards suddenly disappeared from C1 Shopping in an apparent clawback. After numerous appeals and sweaty palms, this was eventually reversed and everything was fine. Except that C1 Shopping’s claws are out again, going after folks’ hard-earned manufactured spending rewards. Will this one be reversed as well? We’ll see. In the meantime, let the quarterly fire drill commence!

The 23,000,000-mile man

a sign on the side of a road

Folks interested in travel and/or points and miles have probably heard of Tom Stuker. United Airlines’ most frequent flyer was offered a chance to buy a lifetime pass on UA flights in 1990 for $290,000. He took the chance that United would remain solvent long enough to maximize his golden ticket and has now flown over 23,000,000 miles with the airline (probably more since I wrote that last sentence). His most prolific year ever was in 2019 when he flew 378 flights and almost 1.5 million air miles. The cash cost of that year’s flights would have been ~$2.4 million. He’s frequently profiled in news media, including the Washington Post article linked above. Evidently, the Post got a few things wrong and Live and Let Fly corrected them soon afterwards (the Post has since corrected their article). Regardless, it’s a fascinating story that continues to grow each passing year.

JetBlue finally decides to break up with American Airlines

a man and woman holding a broken heart
JetBlue and American Airlines last week

JetBlue has had a complicated few years with the authorities. The company has been in the midst of two tussles with the federal government over its attempts to expand via an acquisition of Spirit Airlines and its “Northeast Alliance” with American Airlines. The feds don’t like either one and in the spring a judge ordered American and JetBlue to hit the skids. Since then, each airline has been trying to appeal that ruling in order to keep their partnership going…until this week. JetBlue announced that it will end its alliance with AA in an effort to save the Spirit merger (analysts are skeptical that it will help much, if at all). Evidently unaware that it takes two to tango, American has said that it will continue to fight the ruling in court. Thrifty Traveler did a great job breaking down the drama, and the fallout, earlier this week. Who needs Vanderpump Rules?

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The very worst part about retention calls is when it is your wife’s card and you ask her to make the call.


love the reference of VPR!!


I remember back in the 90s when i did a short stint selling cars and the dealership I worked for had Tom in to teach the Stuker method to selling vehicles.