Friday, June 12, 2009

your mileage may vary

One of these days I hope to get back to Seattle to visit my friend Bean. For that reason, I've been trying to hang on to some frequent flyer miles that are in danger of expiring. I'll admit that I could have gone to the Emerald City by now if I hadn't been using all my vacation time for family trips. In 2007, we went on a 3,000 mile college search road trip. Last year's vacation was planned to coincide with freshman move-in. Earlier this year, my son and I went on Spring break together.

To keep from losing my accumulated miles, I need to have some sort of activity on my account every eighteen months. The last time I had this problem, I donated a few of the miles to charity. At that time, the American Airlines representative suggested I sign up for their dining rewards program to earn miles at participating restaurants. You would think that I would have no problem spending $25 at one of the eateries on the list. However, my year-to-date total is still zero.

I specifically looked for a restaurant in Florida where my son and I could eat, I could earn a few miles and more importantly have some activity that would save the 26,000 miles I am on the verge of losing. The decision was easy. We went to Cheeburger Cheeburger.

On Wednesday night I called the number for the rewards program to ask why my Cheeburger purchase hadn't shown up on my statement. In fact, my pork salad at La Costa should have earned me some activity too. The nice lady on the other end of the line explained that the credit card I had used had been taken off my rewards account. As it turns out, my wife had inadvertently assigned our joint credit card to another cause.

When we lived in Burbank, my wife was co-chair of the scrip program at St. Finbar School. She and another mom would sell gift cards from local grocery stores and other retailers. The school made a 3 to 5% profit on card sales. All Saints Church has a similar program with Food City and Kroger.

A few months ago my wife responded to a request from eScrip. She could donate a portion of certain credit card purchases. As a result, St. Finbar got 57¢ from my bill at Cheeburger Cheeburger. eScrip and the dining rewards program are operated by the same company. Any given credit card number can only participate in one program at a time. My wife logged in to her eScrip account and swapped our joint account number for some other cards in her purse. Meanwhile, I logged on to AAdvantage Dining and re-added the joint account number.

I'll start looking for restaurants we can patronize on our summer vacation in New England. Locally, I was glad to see that Pimento's Café has joined the program. I think I can talk our vegetarian friend into meeting us there for salad the next time we get together.

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Blogger That Chick Over There said...

Personally, I love my Suntrust rewards.

And? You'll always be Knoxville's Top Blogger to me! We <3 you Frank!


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