Gaming Frequent Flyer Miles From Your Credit Card

Making a luxury purchase like a new car, a Nokia bling-phone, a face lift, a funeral, a blackmarket baby? Why not charge it to your airline-branded credit card and get yourself some free miles to boot?

The Washington Post has a look up at the Frequent Flyer mile wheeler and dealers who are totally gaming the system. Like Ann Scharpf of Maryland, who will buy $5000 worth of groceries for her and every single person she knows, then pay it all back in the same month for a free trip to St. Petersburg.

Of course, even the Washington Post can’t ignore the absurdity of people going through so much bother to get Frequent Flyer miles at a time when it’s almost impossible to turn them in. What they don’t say is that it’s largely because of people like this that it’s almost impossible to redeem them. Not that we’re criticizing — hey, they’re working the system, and we admire them for that. Just keep that in mind next-time you get frustrated that you have to spend four hours trying to redeem a free flight to Papua New Guinea from that Porsche you convinced Nick Denton to reimburse you for.

Shop Till You Fly [Washington Post]

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  1. Paul D says:

    My old man offered to put my tuition on his credit card just for the miles.

    That’s about $12,000 a year.

  2. RandomHookup says:

    Much like the wannabes who charge all their friends’ stuff on their Amex in hopes of getting the infamous “Amex Black.”

  3. MrBartokomous says:

    I purchased something on an Amex Black once… unfortunately, it was an online purchase for my boss, so there were no gasps in the non-existent crowd.

  4. Ben Popken says:

    Clickable writes:

    “BTW, I never would have thought about the ethical implications of it. We wanted to buy a new car for cash and inquired about using our credit card as the payment method (intending to pay our bill in full immediately, of course, so we wouldn’t incur finance fees), because we would also earn points on the card. Apparently car dealers won’t accept credit cards for full payment because the processing fees are too high, but I didn’t think, and still don’t, that there’s anything unethical or questionable about wanting to do that. The issuing bank offer “reward points” for every dollar you charge, and the credit card companies exhort us constantly to use the card for anything and everything, so why shouldn’t we take them up on it?”

  5. It’s really not that hard to get an a black AmEx. . .if you can afford the (I believe current) $2000 yearly fee, I’d be surprised if you didn’t have $100,000 worth of personal expenses to charge.