redeemed by keaton

Happy Wednesday peeps. Before we begin, let me fulfill one of yesterday’s blog’s ending promises and go ahead and link right up-front to the new batch of pictures for July I added to Keaton’s gallery. Check those out and enjoy.

Now that that’s over with…

I spent some amount of time today trying to scheme a way to earn frequent flier miles when paying my mortgage. The idea of spending so much money on a regular, monthly basis sparked the thought: Why not earn free airline tickets at the same time? And, while I was at it, why not pay down my fear-they’re-gonna-live-forever college loans with a mileage card and earn free flights that way too? As those are really my only two large recurring payments, I figured I should do my best to get some bonus when paying them. I’m sad to say, however, that, after much research, I wound up empty-handed. Seems there’s just no real way to earn miles for paying your mortgage… or is there?

On most of the frequent flier forums online, getting miles for mortgage payments is referred to as the “holy grail” of points programs. Apparently, back in early 2002 – some folks did indeed locate that “holy grail,” by way of a Bank of America mile-earning debit card. Being a debit card, and not a credit card, the user had only to have a Bank of America account in which there was money to draw from. Points were earned whenever money went through the debit card. Turns out, some enterprising frequent-flier found out that most merchants who sold money orders accepted debit cards as a form of payment (credit cards are prohibited when purchasing money orders, for obvious fraud concerns, but since debit cards are backed by actual cash – they are allowed). This Bank of America miles-earning debit card user published his miles-for-mortgage exploit: Use the debit card to purchase Western Union money orders, then use those money orders to pay his monthly mortgage. Viola! Miles for mortgage! The scheme made such a splash, it even got picked up by the nations’ most respected financial rag, the Wall Street Journal. The attention, however, prompted Bank of America to quickly put the kybosh on the scheme by denying points for money order purchases. Spoilsports.

So, I was right all along… there’s no way. Bummer.

During my research though, I ran across some detailed discussion of something I’d already heard of before, but only in passing: “mileage runs.” Frequent-flier mile junkies will scout out and recommend the cheapest multi-hop “runs” for miles, breaking the end result down to a cost-per-mile number. Often, these runs can be long, even overnight, trips through four, five, maybe six destinations before returning to home base – but with a price so cheap that the miles earned on the long journey are worth the trouble. Mileage runners often talk about achieving “gold” status simply with a few bargain-basement runs.

If I were single, I think I’d do this. Might be a fun way to spend a couple days: flying to several US cities, eating in different airports, listening to music – all without the burden of a single piece of luggage. And anyway, I like traveling, especially when I’m alone. It makes me feel “important,” or something. Some of these guys even plan mileage run “meet-ups” in airport lounges or bars during plane changes. For some reason, that calls to the entrepreneurial wanderlust in me. Yeah… mileage running.

Sorry I don’t have more. Goodnight!

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