Why signing up for promotions you don’t think you’ll use is a good idea

SeamPhoto courtesy of Oli Matthews

I’m not into extreme couponing. I find that I don’t need 27 cans of tomato sauce or 40 boxes of cereal. I live in a relatively small place, and I barely can rationalize a Costco membership, much less having a second refrigerator.

But don’t get me wrong, I love deals. I was quite taken by Jet‘s ability to get Amazon Prime-level service without paying for Amazon Prime. I love using Costco’s rental car portal to save hundreds of dollars, pretty much every time I rent anything.

And, as I’m sure you know, I love love love frequent flyer miles.

Every once in a while you can find these excellent frequent flyer mile deals, like the time I mailed 94 index cards to get about $500 worth of hotel stays. That was pretty cool.

But you know what’s even cooler? Getting miles and points for things you didn’t even know you did.

What’s this 1,000 miles for?

I use AwardWallet to track my mileage balances, but since I don’t use credit cards for everyday spend, (yes, foregoing zillions of miles, all for the silly pursuit of this thing called “financial health“) I usually know when and what is likely to post.

So when I received 1,000 mystery miles from Alaska, I was puzzled.

That’s odd.

I logged into my account and saw the following entry

No idea.

I had no idea what “Dash For Miles” was. I couldn’t remember anything with that name before. What was it, and how did I earn it?

A quick search pulled up the deal.

Ahh.

The funny thing is that I have no recollection of signing up for this. I’m sure I did, but I have totally forgotten it.

But nevertheless, when I had made my Jet purchases, I had gone through the Alaska shopping portal. (You earn 1 Alaska mile per dollar with Jet, and it cost me nothing to do so.)

So apparently, I had signed up for this promotion, totally forgotten about it, and then inadvertently adhered to its terms, netting me 1,000 miles. Nice.

Do this a lot

To me, if there’s any conclusion here, it’s to sign up for everything, whether you or not you think you might take advantage of it.

  • I’m signed up for a rental car promotion with National, even though I have no plans to rent with National.
  • I’m signed up for IHG’s fall promotion, even though I have no plans to spend any money at IHG hotels.
  • I click on the promotions I get for SPG’s properties without even reading the details, since I haven’t stayed at an SPG property in I can’t remember how long.

Now, my domain of choice here is travel, but deals are everywhere. Mail in those rebates. Save those 20% off coupons. Sign on to those weird class action suits you get in the mail. Follow through. Be diligent and tenacious.

You want to take care and read the terms and conditions, of course, as by signing up for promotions you may be signing up for more than you wish to be signing up for. And certainly never give any payment information to anyone, even if they claim it’s just a free trial. (If it was truly free, you wouldn’t need to give payment info, would you?)

If you get in the habit, you may have miles, points, and even money, coming to you soon. From who knows where.

Mike Pumphrey

Mike Pumphrey

I'm the founder and author of Unlikely Radical, a site to help people succeed with money, achieve their goals, and live intentionally.

I offer a free phone consultation to anyone who is interested in changing their financial narrative. Are you ready? Click here for details.
Mike Pumphrey
Posted on September 21, 2017