My First Non-Travel Mileage Redemption

My guiding principle with miles and points are that they should only be used for travel.

United would love nothing more than if you blew 51K miles on a $280 last generation iPad instead of using them on $1,000+ of airfare. And AMEX would also love to see you burn 58K points on a kindle rather then transferring them to BA for some 19 free flights or to Singapore to fly in your own private suite on an A380.











United award mall.












AMEX award mall.

But in addition to being an avid foodie and having a hopeless case of wanderlust with a taste for first class cabins, I’m also an incurable die-hard Cleveland (my luck, tell me about it) sports fan.

As a 10 year old I was so committed that I sent in hundreds of handwritten postcards to win tickets to the ’95 World Series and got to attend 2 of the home games.ย  Earlier in the year we had stayed at the Westin Harbour Castle Toronto where the Indians stay when playing the Blue Jays and got nearly (Albert Belle and Eddie Murray were the meanies) the entire team’s autographs.ย  Plus when a guy called out to hold the elevator for him turned out to be Manny Ramirez we got free box seats as well ๐Ÿ˜€

And so I bid 25,000 United miles (or 25% of the miles required a round-trip business class ticket to 2 European cities) on 4 field-box tickets to see the Indians take on the Yankees next week and I won!
What’s cool about that? It’s this little freebie that can’t be measured in cents per miles calculations:
“Stealing Second Experience โ€“ during an inning, one (1) fan runs out and steals second base, is featured on the scoreboard, and gets to keep the base as memento.”

Is life awesome or what ๐Ÿ˜€

With 300,000 miles recently earned just from opening and meeting the spend thresholds on a United Explorer Consumer and Business (107K earned after I spent $1K on each and got offer matched), Sapphire Preferred (43K earned after spending $3K), Ink Bold (75K earned after spending $5K on gift cards), and Ink Plus (75K earned after spending $5K on gift cards). I’m happy to part with less than 10% of that haul for a once in a lifetime experience and getting to add a memento from it to my memorabilia collection.

You can view other cool United auctions here.ย  Starwood also has auctions which offer neat experiences that you can here.

United has put up another “stealing second” auction for the Indians versus the Red Sox in 2 weeks. The current bid is 13,000 miles. Any other die-hard Ctown sports fans around?

Have you ever burned miles or points on non-travel items? What was your favorite redemption?

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34 Responses to “My First Non-Travel Mileage Redemption”

  1. jj1000 Says:

    That is SICK!!!

    Hope you don’t get caught stealing ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. rots5 Says:

    super cool!!


  3. levi Says:

    hey Dan,
    how did you get 75k miles on ink bold if its only 50k sign up? does it accumulate to 75k miles when you spend the 5k cash?
    thanks and enjoy the game

  4. Mi Says:

    How did you receive 75 k foe the ink card?

  5. ss Says:

    side question: i have amex points from a blue sky card. how can i transfer those to get the BA flights u were talkin about?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Timely question. 220k MR for trip for 2 to a NCAA Final Four in San Antonio. Plane tickets, hotel, seats for both semis and finals in a luxury box, limo day between games for sightseeing.

  7. joe Says:

    Shudn’t it be 112K between the two United cards?
    (55K each plus $1000 spent on each…)

  8. BrooklynCPA Says:

    @ Levi & Mi: 50K signup bonus. He did the 5K spend at Staples or Office Depot where you get 5 points per dollar using the Ink bold and Plus.

  9. BrooklynCPA Says:

    Unfortunately, the same deal at Yankee stadium would be cost 10 times what it cost in Hick towns such as cleveland!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Steveo Says:

    @levi, @mi spending $5k in staples/office max on GCs gives you 5x……5k x 5x= 25k, thus getting 75k signup….: – )

  11. DanFan Says:

    “United Explorer Consumer and Business (107K earned after I spent $1K on each and got offer matched)”
    I’m following this for a while now. What does this mean? How many did you get? And to which card did you match it to?

  12. ih Says:

    Chase UR also has them alot – did it for a NYG experience.

    Will probably do it for a NY ranger experience sometime.

  13. lotofsimcha Says:

    I have used amex points a few times on Knicks and Rangers tickets. The same tickets to the sold out events I purchased were significantly more expensive on the secondary market. I calculated that I was getting 5-6 cents per mile of value at the time.

  14. Jane Says:

    Do you ever go to israel with miles or it does not pay

  15. David G Says:

    If you ever want to go to Fenway and sit in good seats (my treat) and eat from the glatt kosher vending machines (and stay at my house if you want)- let me know. Would be an honor.

  16. Shalom Says:

    How can you possibly have 4 million points? You signed up for 80 50k bonus united cards?

  17. Chris Says:

    Being a huge live music fan, I love On Tour With SPG via the Moments site. I’ve gotten premium tickets for Coldplay & Madonna that where $300+. I hope they continue to offer hard to get tickets because recently they had Rihanna & Lady Gaga – both of whose tours had low ticket sales- but I understand all tickets they post can’t be for sold out shows. I noticed Beyone in Europe so fingers crossed they add dates for the USA.

  18. ih Says:

    If I signed up for United card 3 years ago & received 50,000 points & closed the card a few months later so it is over 2 years since I had the card – would I get the bonus again.

    T&C’s say no.

    Practically, what happens.

  19. Dovid Says:

    @Chris:You are on the wrong website. Read the other posting closer and you will see what I mean.

  20. Sara Says:

    Someone please tell me what’s BA?

  21. Paul Says:

    I wouldn’t trade 2.5 UA miles to watch a baseball game, let alone 25K. Talk about self inflicted torture!

  22. Dovid Says:

    @Sara:British Airways

  23. Dovid Says:

    @Dan: I hope you post a video. Great publicity.

    Announcer: It looks like Dan of dansdeals in on the field and he is stealing second. So in addition to dans deals and steals he stole second.

  24. David Says:


    Seems like he’s on the right site. He even posted a comment relevant to this post.

  25. Chris Says:

    @ Dovid I’m not sure I’m following. I’m talking about using SPG points for tickets.

  26. hey Says:

    do the orioles have anything like that?

  27. hey Says:

    @ih yes, but just make a new FF account

  28. smay Says:

    Spent 100K UR points for two tickets to a Jets game with my daughter. We ate and drank in their “green room” and met several celebraties. Most important of all we got to go on the field before the game to watch the team warm up and then went to midfield to do the coin toss!! A life time experience that cannot be quantified in terms of ‘cost per point’!!

  29. fan Says:

    that is cool. post pics/videos

  30. RyanfromMA Says:

    Hey Dan, I’m from Ohio and the Cleveland area now working in Boston. It seriously is so painful being a cleveland sports fan. I hear ur pain bro

  31. Dan Says:

    If you spend the $5K at office stores (which sell all kinds of generic and store gift cards) then you’ll get 75K.


    The business one can generally only be matched to 50K, though some have had success for 55K o that as well.

    Hick town.
    Definition: A place where people smile and greet you as you pass by, where housing is affordable for everyone and home ownership is not a pipe dream, where streets are clean and everyone has a nice backyard to play in, where traffic doesn’t drive you mad and drivers are courteous, where crime is unheard of and you can walk the street at night without being scared, where people don’t know how to parallel park because everyone has a 2 car garage and every store has a large parking lot, where kids get a good affordable education without the temptations of a big city, etc.

    Doesn’t hurt that CLE metro also has a United hub and 3 sports teams (they may stink but they’re still fun to watch and tickets are affordable for everyone, 3 hall of fames, a necklace of beautiful hiking trails with a national park, and the greatest roller coaster park in the world.

    Yeah, I’ll take my hick town over NYC any day ๐Ÿ˜€

    You can match the United personal to 55K+$50 cash back and the business to 50K+$50 cash back by sending an SM.

    In business or one-way coach it can make sense.

    @David G:
    Gotta go check the Indians schedule ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have received about that amount of Continental+United consumer and business cards.


  32. Aryeh Leib Says:

    Question: How do you open all of these cards and avoid paying the yearly fee?

  33. Deal Guy Says:

    Sorry. Mother nature.

  34. Tim Says:

    Definitely if I cant choose travel related, Id go with electronics ๐Ÿ™‚


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