Million Mile Madness: My life as a point grabber


576,000 points earned. 424,000 left to go.

Background: Million Mile Madness is the fun and foolish quest to earn a million points in one month. Throughout March, I’m doing everything I can to earn as many points as I can while keeping within my ethical boundaries. I don’t expect that a million points will have been credited to my account by March 31st: points often take quite a while to get credited. Instead, I’ll track all of the points that I expect, and I’ll declare victory if the expected total is over a million. To keep things challenging, I will try to keep my net costs below $1,000.

All points earned and expenses incurred are tracked via this Google Docs spreadsheet.

See all Million Mile Madness posts (in reverse order), by clicking here.

Weekend brownout

This weekend, beginning Friday morning, BoardingArea is planning to move to new servers.  Friday and Saturday, this blog will be readable, but comments will be disabled and I won’t be able to publish new posts.  The blog should be back to full working order by Sunday. In the meantime, if anything exciting comes up I’ll let you know via Twitter and Facebook (so make sure to follow and/or “like” me!)

Quick credit card update

So far, all of my new American Express and Chase cards have arrived (including my Freedom card which was a downgrade from my Sapphire Preferred), but I’m still waiting for Citibank, US Bank, and Barclaycard.

My time is spent…

What have I gotten myself into?!!  I’m going through each day with nothing on my mind except how to earn points, lots of points.  Aside from worrying about it, here are some specific things that I’ve been doing:

  • I “liked” Club Carlson and Virgin Elevate on Facebook: 1500 points.
  • I bought almost $1200 worth of Free after Rebate stuff from Staples: Almost 6000 points.
  • I bought $4000 worth of Home Improvement cards at Office Depot: 20,000 points.
  • I used those Home Improvement cards to buy $1800 worth of Sears and Lowes gift cards via the Ultimate Rewards Mall: Over 8500 points.
  • I bought $500 worth of Kohl’s gift cards via the Ultimate Rewards Mall: Over 5000 points.
  • I found a fantastic deal and bought over $2000 worth of stuff from Staples, which I then sent to Fulfillment by Amazon to sell.  From this deal I hope to earn cash (to fund other point earning activities this month) and over 11,000 points.
  • I’ve spent some time browsing online looking for resalable items from Sears, Kohl’s, Lowes, and elsewhere.  I’ve found a number of good options so now I need to pull the trigger as soon as some of those gift cards arrive.  And, I plan to buy more and more gift cards!


Reader suggestions

I’ve done all of the above point earning activities and more, but it’s not enough! I need to earn points more quickly to get to a million this month!  Do you have ideas?  Suggestions?  Comment below!

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SeanC: Yes, recent experiments have shown that you get points when buying physical gift cards at Sears. In fact, my points show up as pending already.


UR Sears T&C says following.
-Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents as of 11/1/12.
Do you think you will get points for your gift card purchase from Sears using Home Improvement card?


What is the highest points rate for through ultimate mall? I only see 3x.


karen: Through the Ultimate Rewards Mall you can only get 3X right now (it recently dropped from 5X). There is a short term special via the AAdvantage shopping portal for 6X.


@FM- yes, to take max advantage of TD, Fido, BD, etc you would have to lay out some big bucks and let it sit there awhile. But if you had 200k to park in a 2 yr CD at BD you could snag 200k AA in one fell swoop!


@Dina – You earn 5,000 CC points with the first shipment and 7,500 for the second shipment. The second shipment is sold at their regular rate of $12-$15 per bottle plus shipping. That’s still 0.8c per point and you get some wine, but be sure to cancel before the second shipment.


Just curious, on your chart where you have “Fullfillment by Amazon” are you putting what you expect to make from Amazon in the column titled “Expected Other Cash Back”?
If so, 2 questions. 1) are you figuring in amazon fees into that? and
2) you are assuming it sells?


If you like wine you can buy 6 bottles for $42 and get 12500 club carlson. There are similar deals for aadvantage that I know of for fewer points


did you use your chase cc for part of the expenses on the lowes gc’s, or did you pay for it straight with the home improvement gc’s?


Is there an easy way to find the FAR’s at


Valerie: thanks, I’ll try that tomorrow!
Piecerate: Yes,nyou have it exactly right. 15X if all goes well plus 10% off at Lowes. I’ll probably lose some money on the deal, but 15X is worth it.


I’m trying to figure out your Lowe’s play. Let’s say you buy the Home Improvement card with Ink (5X) and then buy Lowe’s cards through the UR mall (5X). Can you then use the Lowe’s cards to go back through the UR mall (5X) to buy merchandise? Assuming you can, you’re at 15x. Maybe you stack another coupon to bring Lowe’s down another 10%. But you have to add back on sales tax. Am I warm? Are the margins good enough to buy at Lowe’s and then do Amazon fulfillment?


This might be targeted:
EARN 1,000 BONUS POINTS when you link your ThankYou® Rewards and accounts. Refer to the link on how to do and its T&C.


FM — I bought the e-gift card from Kohls. Next time I’ll do physical. Frankly, though, I didn’t see any great stuff worth buying. I’m not in the reselling game.


Cameron Wilde: Thanks for the turbotax suggestion! Unfortunately my taxes are pretty complicated this year so I’m going to an accountant. Hopefully he’ll take Kohls gift cards for payment 😉

As to plink, any ideas how to scale it up?

Cameron Wilde

Unfortunately, I just found out about Plink and haven’t looked into scalability.

Cameron Wilde

There is also

This is a new website that lets you get points for fulfilling offers on your credit card you already use. You can then redeem them for points:
Redeem points for airline miles for any of the following airlines/points programs: American Airlines Advantage, Frontier Early Returns, US Airways Dividend Miles, and Best Buy Reward Zone.